::sigh:: as sure as god made little green apples, somebody will very soon come along to post something like, "well, i never! ask a heartfelt question and just look at all those heartless mean replies. i guess it's true!" and of course, there will soon follow a chorus of "nety! nety! woe is us, they were mean to me!"
op, dear, you ain't seen nothing yet if you think this is so terrible. but i must warn you that you can't come waltzing in here and fling around allegations like 1/7 nurses have substance abuse problems and your 50-year-old friend says your nursing school has a nasty aura and expect people to toss you rainbows and violets.
you are disappointed in nursing? your self-esteem has come a cropper? this is because... nursing isn't...what for you, exactly? uniformly sweetness and light? unfailingly warmly approving of the essence of you? because some nurses sometimes don't have the time of day for you, for whatever reasons? what? at the risk of doing more damage, i must say: it is not about you.
you must be a fairly young person, judging by the weight you put on someone's age being fifty (oh, to be fifty again! :d), and because you don't know that what hardens one is not nursing per se, but having the life experience and perspective that you will get with growing older.
but i''ll bite. in answer to your questions, no, i've been a cantankerous, but engaged, person who questions assumptions all my life. i am more compassionate with suffering now than i was in my starry-eyed twenties because i have had occasion to suffer a bit, so i am more truly com-passionate, with/sharing the same feelings, than before i lost loved family members of my own and had to work through my own medical crises. i know so much better what to say to a grieving family or a frightened patient, absolutely not to share my own experiences but to help them make sense of their own. the nurse in me has learned more of how to present a therapeutic presence in life than in school.
i am less apt to let my feelings show to you, though, were you to meet me, because i have also learned to keep them to myself at work. the fact that i am only marginally interested in yours should help teach you the value of keeping yours private as well. were we to work together, you would find me a busy colleague who nevertheless takes the time to answer your questions and has a sincere interest in your professional development, because you are part of our future. but that's as far as it goes. if it's not far enough for you, well, color me heartless.