I had no preconceived notion of WHAT Nursing was when I went back to school at age 30. Twelve years later, this is what I've learned about Nursing:
Nursing is NOT a Fairy Tale...there very often is no "happily ever after." Yes, there are many times of great joy and accomplishment... but you're never given a guarantee.
Nursing is HARD... as Nurses we face countless situations and crises each and everyday. Many of these have no solutions, no happy endings, no logical explainations. We deal with people who are not at their finest hour; they're scared, angry, confused, disillusioned and looking for something/someone to lash out at for their misery.
Nursing requires FLEXIBILITY... we have to think fast, act even faster, be all things to all people all at the same time, react to changes in patient status quickly and expected to make the right decision.
Nursing demands that we think OUTSIDE the box...that means looking at our Profession as more than just assisting a delivering mother, suctioning a trach patient, titrating a drip in ICU, to include educating family/friends/physicians/each other. To expect that the "typical" patient very likely will become "Atypical"... and at the worst possible time... and to accept that this happens, because it is entirely out of our control.
Nursing is not about CONTROL...see above. You can't MAKE the COPD or PVD patient stop smoking, you can't MAKE the diabetic adhere to their diet, you can't MAKE the at risk mother-to-be follow doctors orders that can help ensure a safe, successful delivery, you can't MAKE the substance abuser abstain and you can't MAKE a new nurse not do all those things that new nurses do that make us all roll our eyes.
Nursing is NOT 9-5, Monday thru Friday, Holidays Off...it is on occasion not spending your days safely cloistered in your specialty "niche"... because sometimes...even though you don't know everything about other areas of Nursing... you CAN provide a certain amount of care... care that would otherwise be unavailable at possibly a crucial moment on that Unit you've been asked to go to.
Nursing requires COMPASSION; for our patient's (compliant or not), physicians, New Grads, families, ancillary personel, administrators, TPTB AND each other.
Nursing requires TEAMWORK...even when you don't want to be a part of the team.
Nursing is FRUSTRATING...and the best any of us can do sometimes, is to simply remember why we're where we are... and know in our hearts that today we did the best we could do for THAT particular day...and do this even when we don't feel like it, even when we sense something is unfair.
Nursing offers OPPORTUNITIES... to make change in a patient's status, to comfort a grieving family, to realize changes in policy/protocol/procedures because we believe in what we do and we know that our actions can lead to an improvement in our Profession. Nursing offers countless opportunities for ourselves....
Nursing is REWARDING... when miracles do occur...we're here to witness them in all their Glory.
Nursing requires an Open Mind and an Open Heart...
We need to support one another...regardless of what circumstances or situations brought us into the Profession called Nursing. We all come to this place with our own gifts and talents...and we need to ENCOURAGE each other so those gifts and talents may shine. We need to ACT in a Professional manner in dress and in conduct so that others around us will know and SEE the Professionals that we are.
I'm not suggesting ANYONE just lie down and take what they're handed at work without question... We need to promote what needs promoting and work hard to rid our workplace of what needs to be removed. But there are those times in our Profession, as in Life, when we need to say "OK... today isn't the day to challenge this or that...today is a day to be the best Nurse I can be and face the other challenges at a more appropriate time."
Choose your battles...time and place. Make those times of battle count and don't make EVERYDAY a battle. No one wants to work with someone like that. If you're argumentative on a regular basis, you're wearing out your co-workers... and your goal, however admirable and just, won't be heard.
I appreciate and respect the opportunity this site provides for everyone to voice their opinon... TO VENT THEIR FRUSTRATIONS and to share their joys and victories... their fears and sorrows. I hope those of you who read this post will respect and appreciate my taking this opportunity to share my own views, and to read between the lines of my message. And if I've ever offended anyone on this site, my apologies... sometimes I feel the need to vent too.
I love nursing... I admire and respect Nurses... and each and everyone of us deserves more recognition than any of us will ever get.
Jul 20, '02
Preach it sister! (standing ovation) Very well written, and respectfully noted. :kiss
We aren't in a beauty pageant or an award winning movie, we are in a occupation that means getting grimy, dirty, sweaty, and often times feeling completely unappreciated in the process. The only shooting and shining star in the realm of nursing is the benefit of seeing what we do for patients by treating them, and hopefully making them better able to live a more productive life when discharged from our care. Great job Lori! :kiss
Last edit by live4today on Jul 20, '02
Jul 20, '02
Lori........:kiss I'm glad you got to vent how you feel. Nursing is a tough job. I HATE the word "hate" too....but I HATE it being used in most aspects of life, but there it is.....up close and personal in our faces everyday.
Many nurses are frustrated.....and rightly so.......but I always prefer to view my nursing years as the "glass half full" instead of "half empty" even if...on occasion...they were "half empty" more than "half full". Does that make sense to you? I prefer to dwell on the positive things that nursing use to be, what nursing still IS...and what nursing will always be. It helped to butter many slices of bread that satisfied my tummy and my children's tummies so I can't knock it one bit. Finding a solution to the problems in nursing is the only way to go. Venting is good to get it out, but once it's out......what then? How do WE as NURSES turn those problems into problems being solved? :kiss
Last edit by live4today on Jul 20, '02