What Are You Thankful For?
A look at what a career in nursing can provide - reaching far beyond just another paycheck. An acknowledgement of all the many ways nursing has given me a sense gratitude and thankfulness.
With the fall season in full swing, themes of pumpkin flavored everything, brightly colored foliage and crisp mornings are all around us. While I will not deny my undying love for pumpkin spice lattes, another important thought also comes to mind during this season - gratitude. When reflecting recently on things I'm thankful for, my nursing career and all it has provided seemed to somehow bubble toward the top of the list.
Stability & Opportunity
Pursuing a career in nursing gave me a stable income, something I hadn't had previously. Over the years, my earned income has allowed me to provide for my family, travel to amazing places, buy a house and continue to pay the ever-growing list of bills that seem to accumulate with age. While I don't think any bedside nurse is swimming in an excess of cash, a nursing career can provide a steady stream of income and having that comfort is not something I take lightly. I'm grateful to have a solid way to provide for myself and loved ones.
The field of nursing is filled with opportunity. This is no longer your grandmother's idea of nursing (so to speak) - where working in a hospital or for a physician is the only possible setting for your hard earned skills. After over a decade at the bedside, I realized there was more this career had in store for me. I've been fortunate enough to utilize and expand my skill set from bedside care and use it in several new roles: case management, clinical educator, healthcare content writer, consulting and more. I'm incredibly thankful I chose a career that could stand the test of time while also allowing me to branch out creatively - and get paid to do it all while still helping others in some capacity.
Going into nursing at a young age, I feel I owe a lot of my character development to this career. You quickly realize what matters and what really just doesn't. Being a nurse has a funny way of putting life into perspective, no matter what age you come into the healthcare setting. Seeing life and death, suffering and joy - all in it's purest, most raw form, first hand, changes a person. If being a bedside nurse doesn't give you a greater understanding of life and true empathy, nothing will. And, for this experience, for being able to be a part of a patient's healthcare journey, I am filled with gratitude.
All Kinds of Kinds
As the years go by, the number of patients and families I've met seems to blur into an incomprehensible number. Yet so many individuals are still clear as day in my mind - their names & faces, their story, their pain, their successes. Being exposed to so many different cultures, personality types, and temperaments has given me a useful tool to carry with me outside of my life at work. Learning to work together despite our differences is a lesson I'll gladly take a refresher course on time and time again. Being a nurse can frequently mean practicing a delicate balancing act between providing comfort and setting boundaries, a valuable tactic that reaches far beyond just nursing.
I've been a type-A personality for as long as I can remember. Nursing has been a wonderful way for me to harness this; teaching me the value of being flexible yet allowing room for my love of organization. We all know time management is key to a good day on the floor - but the truth is sometimes the best-laid plans just don't matter in healthcare. I quickly learned that if I couldn't roll with it - I would be flattened and steamrolled by the nursing powers that be. I'm grateful to have a career where I was able to learn it is possible to loosen up and yet still be effective - as a nurse, wife, entrepreneur, friend, and much more.
What are you thankful for this season? What has your nursing career given you?
About Ashley Hay, BSN, RN
Freelance healthcare writer and owner of AHayWriting.com with over a decade of nursing experience in several areas of pediatric & adult oncology.
Ashley Hay, BSN, RN has '10' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Oncology'. Joined Aug '16; Posts: 82; Likes: 296.Oct 30, '17I am very thankful for my nursing career. In spite of the challenges--working nights, challenging pts, being forced to do more with less staff, etc...I am very grateful for my job/career.
I can afford to buy the things my family needs and wants, to a large degree, because of my income. This is no small feat for a single parent like me. Yes, I'm very thankful!
I was very thankful that my job allowed me to, today, purchase a backpack to replace the one that broke for my youngest child as well as buy the remaining components necessary for him to have his own computer for HW and gaming.
This past year, I've been able to travel on a vacation for the first time in my life, across the country!
I also purchased a house for me and my child.
As another co-worker and I have often said to one another: "This is life changing money."
I have a savings and a retirement account. I have health benefits that are affordable and allow me to insure my 2 college aged kids as well as myself and my minor aged child.
Not to mention the awesome hugs I recvd from a pt the last shift I worked!Oct 30, '17Im so thankful you put this post up. I am so, tired of hearing the people complain about nursing salary, long hours, the hardship period. I am a nursing student, wife and mother. My goal was always to help people but was unsure what career i really wanted. I am older now and very excited to succeed in the program as well as life as an RN. I am so ready for the challenges because i feel that is how we figure who we really are and can become as we grow in this life. So, again thanks for an open, honest, enjoyable post to read and God bless you all on your happy journey as being a blessing to others and becoming and doing honerable and hardwork as RN.Oct 30, '17Quote from drthomasThanks for reading - glad you enjoyed it. This is not to say I haven't experienced my fair share of frustrations and struggles with nursing - but I find it helps to look at it from all angles and have gratitude for all it has given me, as well. Thanks for sharing & good luck!Im so thankful you put this post up. I am so, tired of hearing the people complain about nursing salary, long hours, the hardship period. I am a nursing student, wife and mother. My goal was always to help people but was unsure what career i really wanted. I am older now and very excited to succeed in the program as well as life as an RN. I am so ready for the challenges because i feel that is how we figure who we really are and can become as we grow in this life. So, again thanks for an open, honest, enjoyable post to read and God bless you all on your happy journey as being a blessing to others and becoming and doing honerable and hardwork as RN.Nov 1, '17I am thankful that all my bodily functions work without the addition of tubes, bags, catheters, etc.Nov 1, '17As a seasoned nurse, I have seem them come and go and I mean not only in our nursing profession but as a whole in the medical field. With that being said, I began my nursing when we still use autoclave and sharpened our needles plus our syringes were glass, followed by starched white nursing uniforms with nursing caps. Furthermore, I witness rules implemented come and go as well as management and great advancement in our field as well as non-effective procedures. However, one of the reasons that I'm most grateful is besides still standing in good health mentally and physically, is that this career that I'm so passionate about has giving me the opportunity to travel around the world, and care for those in need and shared my knowledge. Unquestionably, a nursing career has so much to offer for those who have that adventure and hunger for learning. For example, I received my nursing license in my native country of Madrid, Spain, and after years of offering a higher caliber of nursing in Spain, I decided to travel to Italy, France, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and finally USA, and brought my experiences of nursing to each of these countries, plus acquired a vast experience along the way from each country. What I'm trying to convey to all of you new and seasoned nurses, is that you don't have to settle for the status that you have acquired, if you want more out of nursing it's all up to you. With that said, I'm not saying that you shouldn't settle where you are at this time in your career if you're happy at this present time with your nursing, so be it. However, there are so many branches of nursing that we nurses can achieve if you decide to, not only in your native country but elsewhere, is there for the picking. Lastly, I'm so grateful for my motorcycle accident which in turn brought me into nursing, as well as the need for knowledge which allowed me to expand my horizons in so many levels, which I thought at times not being possible; but I achieved all of the possibilities that were laid before me, and became the international nurse which I am proud to say I have become. In conclusion, don't let anyone out there be the obstacle of your success, because we as nurses are the heart of the matter in any given language.Nov 3, '17I am thankful for my days off and the time spent off work with my friends Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker and Jim Beam who help me forget about work and preserve what is left of my sanity.Nov 3, '17I am thankful for the years I was a nurse. My career was cut short due to my mental health and body breaking down at the same time, but I've never regretted becoming an RN. I loved taking care of people. I loved learning new skills and being proficient at old ones. I miss the camaraderie with co-workers who had seen the same things I'd seen and lived to tell the tale...and boy, did we have tales to tell!
I miss the money I made during my career. Social Security Disability pays only about a quarter of what I earned as a nurse, and that doesn't go very far. But I *don't* miss the politics or the ridiculous "customer satisfaction" nonsense; neither do I miss being treated like a pack mule or discouraged from thinking critically. I was a good nurse, but I wasn't a particularly good employee. I knew how to take care of people; I didn't need to be told how to talk to them. I would have done very poorly had I been forced to use a "script".
Overall, however, my career was worth the trouble it took to get through school and the early years. That's why I always tell new nurses not to quit during their first year...everybody feels anxious and I'd be more worried about them if they weren't!
Yes, I'm satisfied with having been a nurse. I wish I still had something to offer other than reminiscences about the 'good old days'. But retired is good too. :-)Nov 5, '17Thank you SO much for writing this positive post! Nursing is hard and challenging but we are so blessed to be nurses even if things don't always go how we want them to.
I am thankful to be in such a humbling profession that pushes me to learn every day, build my character and continually become refined. I just started a new career as a CRNA and I am so thankful for all the opportunities this job has opened up.
Overall though my nursing career has given me the privilege to be with people in some of their hardest and darkest moments, the privilege of serving others. There's just nothing better.
Thankful for a great post just before the holidays!Last edit by Akay1717 on Nov 5, '17 : Reason: Forgot to answer a question
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