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'I love my patients!'.


Specializes in Medical - Surgical. Has 9 years experience.

I've read a couple of threads where people have said they love their patients and I'm wondering what they mean by it, because I don't feel that, not even close. It's not that I'm a cold hearted pearson, but isn't 'love' too strong a word? I work in a general surg floor and patients generally stay from 1 week to a 2 months depending on their dx & sx. At the end of the day, I hardly remember their names or how they look like. I certainly do not love them or even like them (that does not mean that I dislike them - it just means that I don't have feelings towards them other than caring for them...does it make sense?). I hardly know them beyond their medical hx.

When I was doing my clinical in maternity and peds - I certainly felt at points that I loved the experience and the babies but not specific babies - just generally loved having someone that small to cuddle and take care of.

I'm wondering whether it's a personal feeling of some nurses or if people expect nurses to love their jobs or their patients. At the end of the day, it's a job not a calling. It took me a long time to love my friends yet I'm expected to love strangers that come in and out of my life in the blink of an eye?

And here is the shocker - I DON'T love nursing. I've always wanted to be a nurse but I don't love it. It's a job to me. I certainly have compassion and can emphasize with patient's stories. However, what's to love about 12 hr shifts, being on your feet all day, etc. etc. What other job expects the worker to love the job, love the client, not care about the money, etc? Yea, take your time while I brew myself some coffee....

Anyway...just wondering what your thoughts are.

Do you really love nursing and love your patients? And what do you mean exactly when you utter (write) that phrase?

Is it like writing 'LOL' even though you're not even smiling? :D

Yeah I love my patients and my job. It is just who I am and who I have been since I can remember. I am able to make attachments quickly. And my residents (when I worked in LTC) and my patients (now in acute) give so much to me. I can't explain it, but maybe I'm just weird. :)

It is a tough job, but I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile. I've had a lot of different jobs in my 47 years, but this one is my favorite.

I don't believe you have to love your patients or nursing to do a great job at it. You just have to be someone that cares about doing a good job.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I can say that I generally thoroughly enjoy my patients. I may not "love" them on an individual basis but I love the type of patients that I care for and I do love my job. I work on a complex continuing care/physical rehab unit, and I take care of mostly seniors. I look forward to going to work and getting to know my patients is rewarding. Sometimes I am sorry when they go but I am glad they are able to return home.

Kidding with my patients and having fun with my coworkers makes the day go better. My favorite right now is a slightly confused fella that calls me "Doris". He is genuinely surprised every time I tell him I am not Doris. Also having grown up in the town where I work makes a difference. One of my patients today has a neice that I am casual friends with and this lady has known my Mom for years. Usually patients are delighted to recognize one or more of their nurses. I give as a nurse but some of the patient give back. I see spitely 90 year olds bounce back from broken hips with an attitide that would shame a much younger person it really puts things in perspective.

mustlovepoodles, RN

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

There have been jobs where I *did* love my patients, like the NICU where our babies would stay from 2-3 weeks to a year. I couldn't help falling in love with some of them. And there have been some jobs where I did not love my patients. I'm working as a school nurse now, in a little elementary school where all our families fall below the poverty line. There are some very needy families here and lots of social problems. But the kids are great. They are so polite and respectful. Sometimes they hug me and say "I love you nurse!" :p I really do love these kids.

I do not think you have to love nursing to be good at it. I certainly didn't love it at first. It was simply a way to support myself and be independent. Later I did begin to love my work, but that never extended to loving night shift, foot injuries, back injuries and sleep disorders. I have a love-hate relationship with nursing now. I love "being" a nurse, but I could never go back to the bedside. Too wearing. I don't need the headaches. I don't make nearly as much as a school nurse, but my day is delightful. Most days the worst thing that happens is someone vomits in the hall. I get to do diabetic teaching every day(I have 2 young diabetics.) I get to work with our special needs population. I get to soothe children who come to me afraid because they feel sick. And I give out a lot of ice packs.:clown: Ice fixes everything. And sometimes I have to advocate for children who are being abused.

If you're hating on your job, maybe it's time to find something you like better. That's the great thing about nursing--you can do a LOT of different things. You just have to dig around and find them.

I ove being a nurse. There are parts of it I hate but I come from a corporate background and my heart really is in what I do. I make a difference in my residents' lives even if some days I feel like I am shoveling sand against the tide.

Do I "love" my patients. No. But some of them love me, and I do feel a deep affection for some of them and compassion for all of them, even the ones who get on my last nerve. Okay, maybe not one of them.

Florence NightinFAIL

Specializes in Medical - Surgical. Has 9 years experience.

If you're hating on your job, maybe it's time to find something you like better. That's the great thing about nursing--you can do a LOT of different things. You just have to dig around and find them.

Thanks for your reply. But your quote is exactly what I'm talking about. Because I said that I don't 'love' nursing/patients does it mean that I automatically 'hate or dislike' it? Can't I be neutral?

RedhairedNurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Ortho.

I like my job, can't say that I love it, that's a little too strong of a word.

I Love my daughter and I can't imagine comparing that 'Love' for my

daughter to that of my job.

If I didn't like my job, I think I'd be a pretty miserable person. I don't love

or dislike my patients. I take care of them and give them the upmost respect and compassion that I possibly can which is certainly not 'Love.'


Specializes in ICU. Has 1 years experience.

I throw around the word "love" a lot because it's my personality. I'm always saying I love my job, I love my nurses & docs, I love our patient demographic - do I always like them? - noooooo. I often complain about them to my husband. But overall, I'm a happy, cheerful person who enjoys going to work every day and "loves" all sorts of things. :D I also love sunsets, and will gladly volunteer that information. My love of sunsets is not equivalent at all to my love of my husband and parents and friends, but I'll use the same words and say it in the same tone...it's just the way I communicate. :/


Specializes in MED/SURG. Has 5 years experience.

I read nurses' comments about Loving your Patients. I can relate to that when I was a student nurse working in the hospital. What drove me away from nursing altogether is how nurses treat other nurses. Some nurses refer to other nurses as 'girls'.And sometimes I would hear them giving report as "the girls will do the dressing". I do not like someone calling me the GIRL after all the effort I put in getting my RN license. And I do not like the hours and the unexpected workload in nursing and the politics with it too. I had a poor experience as a student nurse myself, which led me to have a different image of what nursing was all about. In the beginning I used to hate getting up early in the morining. Going to the unit, only to find out that someone change my assignment from previous day for their convenience. I would find some experienced nurses bossing me around, and had no empathy for new graduates. As time passedby, I was trying to find myself like nursing, and no matter how much I would push myself to believe that I am a nurse and I like what I do, it would not work. Finally, I decided to have a career change. That did not work either, since I needed the money. The only option is left is to branch out from bedside to administrative position in nursing. Or if that does not work, is to be elementary school nurse. I do not know how to be school nurse. I wish I could fall in love with nursing, but since the day of my graduation in year 2004, I am searching to like something in nursing, so far NOTHING interest me. But I love to serve people in the community. I believe whether we are a nurse or not, we need to reach out to help people and put a smile on their face. That is what makes me to go on and not to give up. Thank you.

Edited by maryam.youhanna


Specializes in ER/Geriatrics. Has 24 years experience.

I do not love my patients on any level. I do on the other hand have a nurse/patient relationship that is appropriate in my mind. I am never over familiar with my patients or their caregivers, I am empathetic, supportive and treat all patients as I would treat my own family if they were ill.

I have the best job in the world and I get up everyday looking forward to going to work. I have lots of autonomy and expertise in the specific field of outpatient geriatric nursing with a sprinkling of ER nursing to keep up my clinical skills.

Through the years I have seen it as my responsibility to stay current in practice and procedure, to move on to other types of work when the time was right and take personal responsibility to ensure I am doing the best job everyday.

I have had the same work ethic my entire life...from babysitter as a teenager, to housekeeper, to server to nurse. Sadly I don't think work ethic, critical thinking or professionalism can be taught.

Bill E. Rubin

Specializes in Neuro, Cardiology, ICU, Med/Surg. Has 7 years experience.

Like SueSquatch, I come from a long career in the corporate world, so any disillusionment I've had has ocurred a long time ago. As such, my expectations may be different than some. I find my work meaningful (something I didn't often feel in the corporate world) though many days/nights it is... well... work and meaningful or not, I would rather be spending the time at home with my family. But as a means to make a living that I can actually support myself with, I like it. I like the hospital where I work and the way that nursing is represented near the top of management and as such, stupid management edicts that show a lack of respect for nurses generally don't happen. I also have pride in working at my institution and the care given here, its reputation internationally and unabashedly wear t-shirts sporting the logo of my hospital, etc (I'm such a geek).

I deal with a very challenging patient population on my floor with some serious psychosocial issues (those of you who work on general "house" medical units at large urban teaching hospitals know what I mean by that), many of my pts are hard to love. Yet due to my varied life experiences, I am able to connect with patients from a wide variety of backgrounds and most of the time my patients like and trust me.

I get along well with most of my colleagues on my unit, and really like some of them, though I wouldn't say I have any actual friends here. I have told patients (and meant it) that I would trust my life in the hands of any of my fellow nurses.

So, to the OP, I don't know... it all depends on your expectations. I like my job, as jobs that pay the bills go. I sometimes love it, and I am proud to do what I do and proud of where I do it. If I could only find a way to do it about once or twice a week and still make a full-time salary, then I would be truly in love with my job. :jester: If anyone can figure out how to do that, let me know.

Purple_Scrubs, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience.

Because I said that I don't 'love' nursing/patients does it mean that I automatically 'hate or dislike' it? Can't I be neutral?

Yes, I think most people in most professions are, to some degree, neutral about their jobs. I have not met many mechanics, accountants, or sales people who are madly in love with their job or their customers. It is not expected. Most will either simply tolerate or maybe enjoy their jobs, many fall somewhere in between that. For some reason that I do not totally understand, nurses are expected to be in love with the profession, with their patients, and be perfectly willing to do it for free. It seems socially unacceptable for someone to consider nursing their job, and not their "calling" or "mission" in life. I totally disagree with this mentality. Few of us would do this for free. I know for a fact that if I won the lottery I would not continue working full time!

However, as another school nurse, I have to say that I am very fond of my kiddos (OK, most of them :) ) and I do, as do most teachers and other school workers express this fondness as "love" for "their" students. It is hard not to love these funny, sweet, and challenging little people!

For some reason that I do not totally understand, nurses are expected to be in love with the profession, with their patients, and be perfectly willing to do it for free. It seems socially unacceptable for someone to consider nursing their job, and not their "calling" or "mission" in life. I totally disagree with this mentality. Few of us would do this for free. I know for a fact that if I won the lottery I would not continue working full time!

I love what I'm doing, but I would not do it for free. Well, unless I had a trust fund or something or that sort. ;) I would however continue nursing if I won the lottery, although it would be part time and it would be in a volunteer type position.

And even though I felt nursing was my calling, I don't feel that everyone does. Like I said before, you can still be a good nurse without the "love".

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

i passed over this thread without reading it several times because the idea that i must "love my patients" or i am somehow inadequate as a nurse infuriates me. i don't love my patients, and many times i don't even like them. nursing is a job, not a calling or a mission -- it pays the bills. it's an interesting, challenging, flexible job with plenty of opportunities to change jobs, shifts, or even specialties. but i don't "love" it.

is there any other profession where you're expected to have a calling, where you're expected to work your tail off for twelve hours straight and are graded not on how hard you work, how knowledgeable or how skillful but rather on how nice you are? far too many of the posters on this board seem to believe that nursing is a calling and if you're in it "just for the money" (read "just to pay the bills") you are somehow less than those who have a mission in life to be nurses. you can have the calling and not be able to critically think yourself out of a wet paper bag . . . or you can be in it "just for the money" and be an excellent care giver and professional. you can have the "calling" and not understand disease processes or medications or be able to perform the physical aspects of the job.

i don't think having a calling or loving their patients makes anybody a safer practitioner. i don't think hating the occaisional nasty, combative, manipulative or abusive patient or family member makes anybody a horrible person or even a bad nurse. it would be nice if we all loved everyone we were responsible for caring for and if we all loved our jobs. but that just isn't realistic. nor should you feel guilty because someone insists you are somehow "less" because you don't.


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

I really can't say that I "love" my patients either. This isn't to say that no patient has ever tugged at my heartstrings or that I don't feel genuine affection for some of them, especially in the areas of long-term care and/or home health.

When I worked at the acute care hospital and most patients stayed no more than 2 weeks, I really developed no particular attachment. When we took care of "boarder babies", some for 6 months or longer, who were never visited by their parents, I did get attached. Some eventually died, and I truly grieved. I can't forget the babies who were abandoned due to their illnesses and some who died for no apparent reason.

When I worked outpatient, I developed some affectionate relationships with folks, but it never was the same thing I would have felt for my own family members. Now that I work in people's homes and spend many hours with the same person, I am still cognizant of the fact that I am there to do a job, I have a separate life, and it appears I have automatically developed the proper amount of thin or thick skin- because sometimes home health patients use the close nature of the job to manipulate and guilt trip the nurses. I find that I am able to decline that just fine without feeling the slightest bit guilty.

I've known nurses who were the emotionally gushy type, and the stand-offish type. Even if we could alter these things about ourselves, why should we? There is no cookie-cutter nurse and my belief is that it's a very small fraction of nurses who are detached to the point that they should actually leave the field, and even then it wouldn't be because of their lack of emotion, it would be their failure to provide competent and safe care, or their detachment leading to negligence.

It's a really slippery slope when we try to get inside each other's heads to determine if we have the right stuff rather than what we do, which obviously includes communicating with the patient effectively.


Specializes in Cardiac/Tele/CVICU. Has 3 years experience.

I love being an RN.

I love my job.

I love [most of] my patients. :D

Some of you might want to check out the book "Moderated Love: A Theology of Professional Care" by Alastair V. Campbell. "Love" is a complex concept that can

be defined differently in different contexts yet still be considered "love."


Specializes in Corrections, Cardiac, Hospice. Has 18 years experience.

I think there are various degrees of love. I love my children. I love my dog. Who would I pull out of a burning house first? I can honestly say I feel like I was meant to be a nurse. I have been doing this for almost 12 years now and still love being a nurse. I do primary care, bedside nursing. Do I love the politics involved in being a nurse? NO. But when the day is over and I know without a shadow of a doubt I made someone's day just a little better because I was there, it is worth it. So do I love my patients? They bring me great joy, fill me with a sense of worth, teach me something every day, show me humility, share their life's stories and give me their trust during their most vulnerable time in their lives. Yes, I love my patients. I love my job and I love being a nurse. Would I do it for free? Ehhh, no. But would I do it if I won the lottery? Heck yes. But, not as often, lol.