Love being a nurse - Hate being a nurse.

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in A and E, Medicine, Surgery.

When I add up all the pro's and cons of the nursing world the pro's always outstrip the cons for me but I thought I would share some of my loves and hates of the jobs in the hope that people will add theirs.

I love just being a nurse and after 25 years nursing still get a sense of pride when someone asks me what I do and I answer "I am a nurse". To this day when I put my uniform on I feel a deep sense of pride and believe that what we as nurses do is unique.

I love being able to make a difference - knowing what to do when someone critically ill comes through the door. All that training and experience means that when someone is frightened, sick and in need of care, reassurance and fast effective treatment then we know exactly what to do. I sometimes look at the sea of frightened faces that surrounds you in an emergency situation and know that we as nurses make a difference.

I love being the person that reassures, comforts and takes care of the patient. I love it when a very simple act like giving an elderly patient a drink or a blanket results in them holding my hand and thanking me. For me nothing in the world beats that feeling of knowing that the patient felt safer or more comfortable.

I love that there is so much diversity in our profession and so much opportunity to find a niche. The nursing world needs so many different types and personalities to fill the variety or roles that there really is a place for everyone.

I love knowing that what we do and just as importantly how we do it can markedly impact on a patients experience. I love mentoring and training student and newly qualified nurses and seeing them grow and rise up the ranks. I take a huge amount of pride in their accomplishments and love it when they outrank me!


I hate that on so many levels what we do is not valued. In comparison to other emergency services our pay is low and currently once again our pensions are under threat. One of my closest friends is a police officer and in addition to pay they receive a number of job benefits like free travel and subsidised housing - Im not saying they shouldnt have them but some equality would be nice.

I hate that because we are a caring profession our patient loyalty is misused. How many times have we stayed late knowing it is unsafe to leave. Many colleagues routinely add an extra hour to their shifts because they don't feel they can safely leave until the work is done.

I hate that there are never enough resources and much of my shift is spent searching for working basic equipment like a thermometer and yet there seems to be money available to buy super specialised equipment that collects dust on a shelf.

I hate that for a caring profession we don't seem to care about each other. I hear nurses being grilled when they have had to phone in sick and a sense of loyalty results in nurses pushing themselves to come back when not fully recovered as we are all too aware of the consequences of leaving the shift short. I have seen so many good, capable nurses physically or emotionally burned out by the profession and wonder when we will learn that you can only work nurses so hard for so long before something gives.

I hate impossible targets set by people that have no real idea about the true working of a nursing environment. I hate that on occasions these targets seem more important than the people that really matter our patients. I hate that there are never enough beds and there is a constant pressure to get patients fixed quickly and back home freeing up a bed. I hate it when patients become a percentage target rather than individuals.

I am sure I have many many more but these are a few of my love and hates for starters. For me there is no greater profession than nursing and no better reward than seeing a sick patient get well but its fair to say our profession is not without its challenges. I would love to hear other peoples...................

First I have to say this was really nice to read. Second I want to say --where do you work? and I wanna work with you!!! :-) I hate the paper work and charting.....and charting ......and charting! lol and so much of it duplicate. I hate doing admissions. It seems every where I have worked they take forever and you write the same stuff on 7 different peices of paper! I just want to say hello, get VS, do an assessment and write a note. All these care plans in hospitals.....ummmm waste of a tree and ink! I just want to take care of the patients. Some documentation is totally necessary but not all of it!

I hate working short and hearing from management--well I think you all are doing just fine.....the work is getting done. I think we will leave the staffing like this. ummmmmmmm like not getting the work done is an option?!?!?LOL

I hate being required to work night shifts. I just, can't do it physically--I have insomnia as it is!

I hate the way nurses talk about others nurses in other departments. Like its a competition and like being a nurse in one area makes you more of a nurse then another. ICU, ED, the floors, OR, Psych, peds, LTC......we are ALL nurses and all of those people need taking care of. And even on the same units the wars between shifts-- the arguments about which shifts do more and so on.....its all so crazy. We all work hard. We need to work together and respect each other.

What do I love? I love doing the little things like you said and having them mean so much. I can think of two times that have stuck with me.

One I was working a med/resp unit and had an 18 or 19 year old boy on the unit--he was there from the long term vent unit because he had an acute case of Pneumonia. He had been in a coma since a serious MVA about a month prior. It was his second day on our unit and and my first shift caring for him. Due to damage to the area of his brain that regulated his temp and sweating he would break out in these sweats now and then. I decided his head must itch from all that dried sweat and so got one of those shower cap things with the no rinse shampoo in it. Put on music that a kid that age would like and got to cleaning him. His mom walked in and started to cry. When I asked what was wrong with her she told me this was the first time anyone had washed his hair since the accident, and that I was playing his favorite music. It was such a little thing to me--my job and it brought this woman to tears. I was touched and still remember that day.

The other time I was proud of what I do was a day I was working in a detox center. We had a woman that had completed and was to be picked up. A man arrived to pick her up on her discharge and one of the other nurses came and told me he smelled of ETOH. I was in charge so she wanted me to handle it.She was not comfortable discharging her to this man.

He argued with me at first but eventually let me check his BAC --it was high. He was shocked and said he didn't feel drunk and had drank a 6 pack of beer. It was like 11am. I sat with him for over an hour and he ended up in tears telling me that he had watched his 5 year old son be hit by a car and killed and couldn't deal. It had been 9 years and he told me that he had been seeing a psychiatrist for 9 years since this happened and that I had helped him more in that 1 hour of talking to him then his psychiatrist had in 9 years. It brought tears to my eyes. I sat there after he left and just couldn't help but smile--with a tear in my eye--thinking. This is why I do what I do. This is it. Wow.

Being able to tell stories like that are why I love being a nurse. We do make a difference. It is an honorable profession.

Well ....there are my thoughts....looking forward to reading other posts. :-)

I am a nursing student so all of this was so inspirational to me...those are the things that keep me going and make it all worth it. I can't wait to experience some of these things. Though I am not yet a nurse, I do have something to share. I am a CNA home health aide. I have a client with late stage Alzheimer's. One day a couple months ago, he randomly became lucid all of the sudden for about 2 hours. None of his family was there or could come when I told them. I stayed with him the whole time as he questioned me..who I was. I explained. He asked what happened to him and where he was. I explained. He asked about his friends amd family.. And I explained. I basically got him up to date with his life. Then he started to cry...because he missed out on everything. And I just stayed with him and we talked when he asked me 'So you just know all about my life and take care of me everyday?' and I said yes. (with him about 70 hrs a week this semester) and he just hugged me and was crying and thanked me for being there. Thanked me for caring. It made everything worth it. It was an amazing moment. At that moment I knew then more than ever that nursing was the profession for me.

Interesting take. What I love in nursing: a sometimes nice flexibility that allows me to be home w/ my family. I also love to flirt w/ cute little old patients, clean them up, dress them up and get them all situated and comfortable, and listen to their stories. I like using my head and challenging myself on all levels in a job that only a true multi-tasking maniac like me could do ... I love seeing people get better, how the meds work, watching interns and docs collaborate and once in a while, letting me in on the discussion. . . I love goofing off w/ my favorite co-workers, some of whom are like family, being there for them when they're having a tough day. I like the days when everything goes right . . . and when I am supported ....the days I can find everything I need ...tests get done on time, I get it all done, checked off, passed on and leave with some energy left for the next day. Mostly I feel like I was born to be a nurse because I'm smart, quick, a fast learner, love anatomy, love people, and would be bored to death doing anything else or having to sit in a cubicle all day. I also love the drama at times, and seeing how my life and health are really things to be appreciated ... somehow everything on my day off is just FANTASTIC ... i enjoy life a lot more knowing how bad it will be once I go back into work. :)

What I hate: the inhumane demands made on nurses. The more you do the more they want ... you're expected to be somehow almost superhuman with no needs ... WHO can really be that person? No mistakes ever seem allowed ...paperwork that just chokes you and takes you AWAY from what you REALLY need to be doing ....getting someone a blanket, changing a dressing and not passing it onto the next shift, perhaps sitting down to talk to a lonely or frightened patient ... seriously -- whoever has created this situation ought to be flogged ... to see how it affects nurses on a daily basis. Hate the managers also who cannot bring themselves to respect their nurses, or co-workers who cannot bring themselves to respect their fellow colleagues and ESPECIALLY those new to the profession. It just boggles my mind to see people, particularly women, treat each other this way. There is no forgiveness patience understanding.

And family members ..there is a special place for some of you need to put away the notebooks, stop thinking about suing the hospital, and just be there for your loved one. Enjoy them and make it a happy time for them ...not a hostile time by riding their nurses all day for insignificant things ... You need to put away your sense of entitlement and just appreciate that you are being taken care of in this day and age of short resources.

It's definitely love/hate for me.

Specializes in PACU, OR.

Lovely post. Puts it all pretty well into perspective.

I think the "hate" part of it is largely determined by your employer. If the company you work for genuinely respects its nursing staff and refers nursing-related decisions to them, you have a greater sense of self-worth and consequently higher morale.

When I say "respect", I'm not referring to the blahdy blahdy fish paste that is churned out by HR departments for their recruiting posters, and the silly little gifts and trite statements on International Nurses' Day, but recognizing that nurses have intelligent contributions to make which can benefit not only the patient, but the company as a whole.

Far too often I see a thinly-veiled contempt amongst management and associated non-nursing admin staff towards the nursing complement. Our opinions are either not asked for or are disregarded. The patient is not viewed as a person to be cared for and protected, but as a generator of profit. Doctors are courted and flattered, offered all kinds of inducements to entice them to bring their patients to your hospital, without ensuring that there are sufficient staff to cope with the extra patient load, or even the additional equipment they asked for... And who bears the brunt of their ire when that equipment's not there, or their instructions haven't been carried out because the harried nurse is too busy trying to stretch herself in too many directions at once?

Health care companies need to review their values. Once the patient is put at the centre of the equation, he becomes everyone's patient, from the manager down, and not just our patient. Maybe then we'll see a greater appreciation of our duties, responsibilities and professionalism, and a genuine commitment to better patient care.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Geriatric, Hospice.

Health care companies need to review their values. Once the patient is put at the centre of the equation, he becomes everyone's patient, from the manager down, and not just our patient. Maybe then we'll see a greater appreciation of our duties, responsibilities and professionalism, and a genuine commitment to better patient care.

Trouble is, so many health care companies do not seem to have values other than monetary profit and meeting/making the numbers. It's a business, motivated by money, patients are seen, ultimately at the high levels, as a way to make money while avoiding liability and associated suits (which cost the company lots of money). $$$

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