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Everything I Know About Life, I Learned From Nursing

Nurses Article   (11,723 Views | 17 Replies | 682 Words)

VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 249,919 Profile Views; 9,734 Posts

I've learned that nursing is a great metaphor for life. It's both rewarding and frustrating, utterly fascinating at times and dull as tombs at others; it's funny, sad, beautiful, ugly, dramatic, unglamorous...and sometimes it outright stinks.

Everything I Know About Life, I Learned From Nursing

........A little effort can go a long, long way. Investing five or ten minutes in a needy patient at the very beginning of the shift sets the tone for the entire day, and pays dividends in decreased anxiety for them (and less call-light use for you). This principle also works for nightmare-plagued toddlers, frustrated spouses, and picky in-laws.

........Age has its advantages. Having been orphaned at thirty-one, I didn't know how much wisdom and life education I'd missed out on until I began working with the elderly. Through their stories of the past, I've discovered much about where I came from, who I want to be, and the legacy I want to leave my own children and grandchildren. I only wish I could bottle whatever these people are made of because our generation and those coming after us could certainly use a dose or two.

........No situation has ever been made better by panicking.

........If it weren't for drugs, alcohol, fatty foods, and human stupidity, we'd all have to go out and get REAL jobs.

........The longer you're a nurse, the more warped your sense of humor becomes. And a warped sense of humor can get you through almost anything...even the worst code brown in history.

........No matter how crazy your shift has been, there will always come a time when you get to hand over the keys and let someone else take care of the patients, put up with the families, fight with management over staffing, and deal with the paperwork when the 😂 in room 205 is found on the floor for the third time today. Remembering this is the only way I can maintain my sanity and still keep coming back, day after day, to do it all over again.

........Teamwork is a great idea in theory, but rarely practiced in everyday life........and that failure to "jell" as a team is not merely a nursing issue or a female issue. If anything, it's the American way---we're raised from the cradle to value individual achievement and make the attainment of personal goals our driving force. Group-think isn't natural to us---especially Baby Boomers---so I hope we can be forgiven for taking a little while to adjust.

........I finally understand what the expression "thinking outside the box" means. I don't care what the powers that be say---I'm not going to force a 90-year-old nursing home resident to eat his meat and vegetables before he can have his dessert, or put him in a nightgown when he wants to wear pajamas. I'm OK with bending rules, and I've taken my share of "verbal counseling" for doing so, but I'm simply not going to let anything so petty as facility policy trump my patients' rights to determine: a) what they may eat, drink, wear, sleep in, listen to, watch on TV, or read; b) how late they may stay up; c) whether or not they will take a shower on a given day; d) who may visit them; and e) which activities they want to be involved in (or whether they will participate at all).

.......People will generally live up---or down---to your expectations. This includes nursing assistants and MDs.

.......And yes, I've found that the Golden Rule is applicable to every possible situation, whether in nursing or in life: Treat everyone you encounter with the same respect you would want for yourself or your loved ones. Everyone who ever lived is, or was, someone's parent, someone's sibling, someone's child, someone's friend. What's more, we are all members of the human race---including the three-hundred-pound diabetic who smokes like a chimney and doesn't take her insulin and the homeless alcoholic who hasn't changed his socks in six weeks. We judge them only because we fear, deep inside, that "they" could just as easily be "us...but for the grace of God and perhaps a few strokes of plain good luck.

So many lessons...so many opportunities to grow in compassion and wisdom. Thank you, Nursing!

I'm a Registered Nurse and writer who, in better times, has enjoyed a busy and varied career which includes stints as a Med/Surg floor nurse, a director of nursing, a nurse consultant, and an assistant administrator. And when I'm not working as a nurse, I'm writing about nursing right here at allnurses.com and putting together the chapters for a future book about---what else?---nursing.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 249,919 Profile Views; 9,734 Posts

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nursgirl specializes in Critical Care, Operating Room.

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Thanks for sharing this... and I love the last 2 lines..so true!!

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25 Posts; 1,909 Profile Views

I agree with you 100% especially the golden rule. That is exactly how I feel about treating other people. Treat them just like you want to be treated. It is very simple, it's in the bible, Almost every human being responds to kindness and respect, but not everyone is going to like you , but that's life! I think nursing gives you a different outlook on everything, it helps you to grow, to deal with things that most people avoid, somethings not fun at all, you see the good, the bad and the ugly and the beautiful too.And you couldn't be more right about the warped sense of humor. It's perfectly normal for all of us to be talking about the biggest bm we've ever seen, while we're eating dinner.I was watching that 70's show the other day and one guy was trying to figure out what he wanted to do for a living and one of his friends said "hey why don't you become a professional butt wiper!"And they all starting laughing and I was thinking "hey, that's what I am! A Professional Butt Wiper with a License to boot!" It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it!!

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,734 Posts; 249,919 Profile Views

Yanno, that BM story reminds me of one of my own funny ones....

This was about 11 years ago, when I first worked LTC as a charge nurse. The CNA brought me a commode bucket which had a GINORMOUS poop in it. I mean this thing was an 8-pounder, and to make things even more interesting, it was in the shape of an exclamation point.

I couldn't help but ask the resident who had produced this anomaly how she'd accomplished the deed. She had a very dry sense of humor, and I should've expected something like this, but she blew me away with her deadpan answer. "I was going for a bow," she replied, "but didn't make it".:rotfl:

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,734 Posts; 249,919 Profile Views

Oh yeah, that's another thing I've learned about life from nursing........no one outside the field appreciates gross stuff the way we do, especially when it's discussed at the dinner table!:D

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diane227 has 32 years experience as a LPN, RN and specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg.

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Very thoughtful and quite a refreshing note at this time (I am coping with some exasperating problems at work). I will use this to help me get through the hard times.

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Longie specializes in Med-Surg, ICU.

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Re the BM: My coworkers and myself refer to ourselves as 'FMS'--"Fecal

Management Specialists":chuckle, and think we should get up a petition to have these initials placed after our name and degree on our badges!

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224 Posts; 5,851 Profile Views

Thanks for this post. At this particular time in my life, I feel exasperated with the profession and the small and huge stresses that come with each shift. Thanks for giving me another perspective in this frustrating/impossible/wonderful/disgusting/exhausting/meaningful profession.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,734 Posts; 249,919 Profile Views

Re the BM: My coworkers and myself refer to ourselves as 'FMS'--"Fecal

Management Specialists":chuckle, and think we should get up a petition to have these initials placed after our name and degree on our badges!

Now THAT'S funny!!:D

Seems like the title would be worth a few extra bucks an hour, too. Remember when garbage collectors got renamed "sanitation engineers"? All of a sudden they started getting more money AND more respect. Nurses could use a boost in both areas, don't you think?:wink2:

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I love the line "We judge them only because we fear, deep inside, that 'they' could just as easily be 'us'.........but for the grace of God and perhaps a few strokes of plain good luck."

I also loved how you said you're not going to make a 90-year-old eat his dinner before his dessert.

Great article! I needed it on a day like today when I'm feeling stressed to the max. It reminded me again why I want to become a nurse.

So thanks so much!!!!

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,734 Posts; 249,919 Profile Views

And thank YOU for coming to our profession, realizing that despite the venting and general griping we do here, most of us can't imagine doing anything else. Like the Peace Corps, nursing is "the toughest job you'll ever love".:up:

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That was the best nursing article that I have read in a long time...it reminds me of how we make such a positive impact while still keeping a smile on our face...Thank You!

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