Five Little Words

Bad days happen to us all. What counts is how we choose to identify, internalize and advance. And sometimes, just sometimes, we need a gentle nudge, a kind word, and a hug. Behold! A verbal hug. Nurses Announcements Archive Article

Five Little Words

Memo from the desk of Your Friendly Neighborhood Sociopath

For some reason, in my world, there seems to be waves of emotion that hits in a near cyclic manner. And I am most certainly not referring to hormones or my own off kilter dysfunction shabbily passed off as humanity, thank you very much. No, I am referring to days, even weeks, where it seems like everyone around me feels the need to have a good cry. From fellow nurses, to family members, to patients, heck, even managers, it would seem that no one is safe from the trickle of unbidden water works or even outright sobbing. It's a bizarre phenomenon and one that makes me feel about as awkward as a head-gear riddled middle-schooler, pressed against the wall in a lightly mildew scented, "mood-lit" gymnasium, resisting the urge to scratch inappropriately and anxiously waiting for the one and only James Bobby to ask me to dance to Journey.

Not...not that I would know what that would feel like or anything.


So odd how the ability to multitask can pay off at strange times. In the middle of a relatively busy surgery, up to my specimens, over the gurgling hiss of suction and the tonal whine of the cautery, from the back corner where a nursing student huddles watching the procedure I hear, 'sniffle' .

Now, normally a wayward runny nose does not cause any alarm, but when coupled with distinctly watery eyes and a noteworthy brow furrow, I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts there is a chin wibbling beneath the surgical mask. Abandoning my specimens, I slipped over to the observing nursing student and made the horrible mistake of asking, "Do you need to sit down? Are you alright?"

Hmmm. I'll admit, not my most observant or therapeutic communication garnished moment, but it was enough. The sniffles deteriorated to barely restrained crying and yes, as a matter of fact, she did need to sit down. Eventually, she and I stepped out of the room and had a little chitty chat in the locker room, complete with foghorn nose blowing and a few too many hugs for my comfort. However, what she needed from me in that moment was for me to be there and she reminded me that sometimes we just need someone to say five little magic words.

This rambling mess is dedicated to her and to any student nurse, new grad, veteran nurse, and nursing manager out there.

I am going to give you five words--just five little magic words because sometimes we just need an outside source to say them, mean them, believe them:

It's going to be okay

Really. I promise, from the bottom of my heart, eventually it will all be okay. It may not be perfect, or painless, or exactly the way you hoped/dreamed/prayed/demanded it would be, but it will be okay.

That moment of overwhelming frustration you experienced today? It will pass. That time when you couldn't help but roll your eyes because the world annoyed you? Yeah, we've all been there. When you spouted a cuss word conveniently in front of your boss? In hindsight....that's kinda funny and let's face it, we are all prone to slips.

And it is so easy to become our own saboteur.

When ensnared in that horrible moment of self-doubt, when all your thoughts form a razor-edged maelstrom of demeaning self-abuse, replaying, replaying, replaying the mistake, the moment you coulda-woulda-shoulda done something different, better, faster, stronger and UGH! How could I be so stupid?!


Stop now.

Why? Because you are human. Because you deserve better than to be attacked by the one person who should always be supportive: yourself. You need to embrace yourself as your own ally.

For pity's sake, there are enough people in this world trying to bully others--please do not bully yourself.

Be kind. Be gentle. Be forgiving. But be smart about it. Learn. Grow. Adapt. Excel.

You are wonderful. You are amazing, unique and truly special. Your supposed flaws are nothing more than quirks that make you more than fantastic, in fact they make you interesting; they add flavor to the gourmet dish of spectacular you. I am not just saying it--I believe it--I know it. Because I'm hardcore like that.

The equation is simple: You = awesome.

And not because you are a member of the nursing community.

I want you to remember something very important: RN does not a person make. RN should not define you. I beg of you, do not limit your potential to two little letters. There should always be more to your identity than your job, regardless of how much you love it; and if you take a moment to think about it, there always will be something more to you. Remember that, please.

Embrace it. Internalize it.

There is more to me than RN.

Remember it when others try to pull you down. Remember it when you feel like a cog in a machine. Remember it when you're pulled into the gaping maw of the work place Drama Monster. Remember it when, for one scary moment, you stop seeing something good in yourself.

There is more to me than RN.

So who are you?

Allow me to go first:

I am CheesePotato.

I hate thunderstorms with a passion but I love booming surround sound. I like to think I can sing and I have a bad habit of forgetting to put on pants before walking in front of the bay windows overlooking my back yard (and yes, I'm sure I've scarred a few neighbor children for life and no, I do not have Alzheimer's). I have the handwriting of a serial killer. I drool on my pillow when I sleep and wake up mad as hell regardless of time of day. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons when I was young and to this day still own a twelve-sided die. I am a terrible cook. Like seriously. I could burn a stick of butter left out on the counter top to defrost. I'm overbearing, petulant, and slightly deranged. I lose my car every time I go into a store. I can recite Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" from memory. I have this strange Rain Man like ability to memorize song lyrics but, off hand, I couldn't tell you a normal BUN lab level if my soul depended on it.

I am CheesePotato.

And, I just so happen to be a nurse.

CheesePotato: Noun. Constantly teaching. Forever learning. Overtired, dark humored, over caffeinated, occasionally sulking, chronically petulant. Delightfully unbalanced adrenaline junkie with a penchant for good wine. Always got your back.

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It IS going to be okay!!

Specializes in Hospice.

I can't tell you how much I needed this today - THANK YOU!!!!!

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR.

englitening article....i truly believe that a kind word of encouragement goes a long way....thank you for sharing this with us...aloha~

I really did need to hear this today. Short staffed once again, patient's making me crazy, bank called- I'm overdrawn. You are right though. It will be ok. My work day will end, I will fix this bank account issue, and I will get to see my husband and dog in 5 short hours. Thank you.

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

You've done it again, CheesePotato---this is a tour-de-force that goes straight to the heart.:redbeathe You are such a fantastic writer and I hope to see more of these wonderful glimpses into your world. I wanna be you when I grow up!


i had somebody tell me today that what they remembered most about me was that i often say, "it will get better." my kids roll their eyes sometimes ... but i have heard them both say the very s[color=#00ffff]ame[color=#40e0d0] th[color=#00ff00]i[color=#ffd700]ng to their kids.

only four words, but hey. i love your work.

Specializes in (Nursing Support) Psych and rehab.

This post was beyond beautiful :heartbeat, enlightening :idea: and inspiring, yet so simple. Sometimes it does not take much to get through to someone and uplift them. Thank you, thank you thank you! :yeah: You=awesome!!!!!!!!!!! :bow:

It's been a few days since I watched my first patient go bad on the Tele floor that I work on. (I've been a nurse for almost 6 mths). And since then I've been beating myself up wondering what could I have done differently, done better, done quicker. But this article makes me feel a whole lot better. I did what I could, I sent them to where more care could be given, I gave them the best chance I could give.

So everything WILL be ok. I will be a better cheerleader for myself. I'm awesome, remember?

Thank you.


Specializes in NICU, Infection Control.

I remember standing in my kitchen a few years ago, staring @ a bottle of Premarin, and coming to a decision that I was NOT going to die from menopause.

And I didn't!

Love, love, love this. :redbeathe

You have no idea how badly I needed to hear these words. I thank you so very much!

My mom was in hospital at Duke in NC for a week with DKA and profuse vomiting, and now refuses to check her glucose at home. I'm trying to get her straight while getting my books and whatnot together to start nursing school next month. (breathes) ... I just needed to hear this soooo badly because I feel like I'm doing my best and its just not good enough for anybody :\

Thank you again!