Why we do it...

  1. Ok, we (I) spend a lot of time venting about our jobs, our hospitals, co-workers and patients. I personally think that it's healthy to "get it all out" (though obviously there are some here that would adamantly disagree with me). There have been many days that I have asked myself why an otherwise sane person would keep going in to a job where they're expected to do the impossible on a daily basis, take crap from patients and family memebers and subject themselves to a lawsuit every time they walk through the door. Here's why I do what I do...

    I work in a LTACH. Some people think we're nothing more than a glorified nursing home, but truth is we get the sickest of the sick. A lot of times our patients are only there because there is nearly no hope of survival, but the family refuses to change their category status. We have an occassional cat 3 or 4, but mostly our patients are cat 1's. We deal with families that are irate that their 90 year old mom who is s/p cabg, on a ventilator and a cardizem drip didn't get up with physical therapy today. Our patients often stay for months before moving on (one way or the other). I once had a supplemental nurse that I was orienting ask me "Why do you stay here? How can you do this?" I pointed to a lol on our ICU unit who was, at the time, all but completely comatose, on a vent and was seriously at death's door. I told her I stay here because if you hang around long enough you might just get to see that lady walking in the hallway. I stay because you never know and I have to see how it ends.

    I fluff pillows, I get coffee, I beg the kitchen to fix something out of the ordinary in the hopes that my patient might eat more than 10% of their meal just this one time. I have gone on my lunch break to get crazy stuff like buttermilk for a patient that was craving it or air freshener for a new ostomy patient. I have dragged patients in thier bed and on a vent so that they can see the sun and feel the wind on their face for the first time in months. I have been at the bedside the moment a family has realized that their family memeber wasn't going to make it and I have provided them with whatever support they needed as they sat by the bed and watched their loved on fade away. I have held the hand of a patient as they take their first steps. I have held the hand of a patient that has just been told they will never take another step.

    I do it because someone has to. I do it because I am capable of doing things for people that they never wanted to have to ask someone to do and I can help them retain at least some of their dignity. I do it because, even on my worst days, I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I do it because I love it.

    Why do you do it?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   nursemary9
    I do it, & have been doing it for over 40 yrs. for only one reason.
    It's really so simple.

    I LOVE IT, too.
    I love caring for my patients.
    I love talking to them.

    I love everything about it.

    And what's so amazing to me is that at age 18 I decided on this career path & had never even stepped a foot in a hospital. i had never been around anyone who was really sick!!
  4. by   fmrnicumom
    Great post. I hope many others will post why they do it too.

    Thank you!

    Tiffany
  5. by   Virgo_RN
    I do it because I love a challenge. I love the mental challenge of understanding from the lab results and diagnostic tests, and the doctors' progress notes, and watching pathophysiology unfold. I love seeing treatments work and understanding why they are or are not working. I love having to think things through and make clinical judgments, and finding out when my clinical judgment was right on target. I love when the patient and/or their family members feel better because of something I said or did for them. Me. I made a difference. That feels good.
  6. by   NursePaula
    I do it for selfish reasons i think....

    *What other job would I do that I actually am amazed on a regular basis that I get paid for what I do.
    *Everyday I learn something...I have seen people approached death with a grace that I only hope to have.
    *I have had the privilege of caring for a 9 month whose mother loved him enough to let him die.
    *Everyday I sing on the way to work....

    And ditto on all the things that I have already read on this thread.

    I NEVER thought of doing anything else.

    The biggest compliment that a patient or family can give me: "You sure look like you love being a nurse."

    I am a mother, grandmother, wife and nurse...it is much of who I am.

    Paula
  7. by   Toquay
    I think most every nurse is a nurse for the exact reasons the op stated. I think the frustration comes in when we don't feel we can adequately provide that extra time and TLC needed by the truly sick. The frustration is that healthcare no matter what anyone says is a business with a pricetag that comes at the expense of providing care the way we all know it should be. The sad thing is that things will not change until upper management can find a way to bill for holding a dying patients hand or holding a loved one in their time of grief. The most valuable things in life have no price.

    Toq
  8. by   Medic/Nurse
    What a lovely well thought out post. Thank you for sharing.

    Bless you for what you do.

    :angel2:
  9. by   traumaRUs
    RegisteredNut - what a blessing you must be to your patients. Thank you for being a nurse. You humble me.
  10. by   Kyrshamarks
    Let me climb in to my nomex siut and be the first to say it. I do it for the money. Yes I got ino it for the money and security and still do it for the money and security 20 years later. What other job out there can I work 24-36 hours a week and make more than what alot of people make in 40-60 hours a week?
  11. by   Logos
    " *I have had the privilege of caring for a 9 month whose mother loved him enough to let him die."

    "I have dragged patients in their bed and on a vent so that they can see the sun and feel the wind on their face for the first time in months. I have been at the bedside the moment a family has realized that their family memeber wasn't going to make it"

    Oh Good Lord the last thread I read pissed me off and now these are making me cry-
    I think I need to go eat some Christmas chocolate and get away from you all for awhile! These are all lovely reasons to do nursing. I'm not sure why I will do it. Right now I see so many things that make me not want to do nursing, it is good to read the "why" reasons.
  12. by   richardjboro1
    I'll have to agree with a previous poster, I want to do it for the flexibility, travel, time off, money, but helping folks does come in there somewhere lower on the list. It's nice that some folks feel a "calling" or whatever. I just see an opportunity for respect, decent pay and eventual freedom to go where I like and always find a job.

    Richard
  13. by   VivaRN
    Beautiful post. Thank you so much for being who you are with your patients.

    I do it because it is a way to be of service that comes naturally to me.
  14. by   jnette
    Quote from Logos
    " *I have had the privilege of caring for a 9 month whose mother loved him enough to let him die."

    "I have dragged patients in their bed and on a vent so that they can see the sun and feel the wind on their face for the first time in months. I have been at the bedside the moment a family has realized that their family memeber wasn't going to make it"

    Oh Good Lord the last thread I read pissed me off and now these are making me cry-
    I think I need to go eat some Christmas chocolate and get away from you all for awhile! These are all lovely reasons to do nursing. I'm not sure why I will do it. Right now I see so many things that make me not want to do nursing, it is good to read the "why" reasons.
    And there are many more, Logos... the rewards are great. You get them from your patients.. not from your employer.

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