On my normally scheduled days, I work with children ages 5-17 in an acute care psych ward.
Every day I hear stories that could break your heart. When I first began working there, I had a pre-psychotic break! Talking in my sleep, texing in my sleep complete word-salad. This was when I was actually able to sleep because I took my work home with me.
The vast majority of my patients have been abused, usually to extreme levels, and oftentimes the abusive parents or CPS are involved. VERY recently I had an older teen that had begun being prostituted out by her mother at the age of 8. How could I even process that pain if I took it home? Admittedly, sometimes it's impossible. I hear stories that are beyond belief on a daily basis. I can't count how many times I have teared up while a child tells me their story.
My job has shaken any religious beliefs I had, regardless of how small they were. I advocate for my kids as much as humanly possible. I will debate with social workers and MD's if I know that child could be going back to an abusive situation and explain my rationale. The only reason I do this type of nursing is because I can SEE the difference I have made. When a kiddo draws me a picture to say thank you or says "you're the coolest nurse I've ever had," or just a simple "Thank You" as I walk them out the door, it makes all of my emotional turmoil, to some extent, worth it if I've made a positive difference in their life. I always make sure to give the kids that had a connection with me a big hug as they go out the door, because I don't know when will be the next time they will get a genuine hug.