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Nurses bettering lives

Posted

Hello,

I am new here so forgive any shortcomings. I am in pre-nursing right now. I decided to become a nurse when I decided I needed to give my family a better life, but nursing was attractive to me because it is an important job. It's not a production rat-race for my employer's bottom-line. Being a nurse, you are not just a tool to make other people rich. As a nurse I would be bettering lives and doing something meaningful. I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else because there is nothing else I would want to do.

The main reason for my post however is that I was explaining this reasoning to someone (someone I would rather not put a name or title to,) and that person told me "Nurses don't do **** to better peoples lives. No one gives a **** about nurses. Doctors are the ones who better peoples' lives."

I know this is not true at all, but does anyone have any specific stories/examples of how you or a nurse has bettered your own or someone else's lives? It's disheartening to hear someone belittle your aspirations in such a way.

Edited by Silverdragon102
changed to all **

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

Why not make a project to do a little shadowing of nurses to see exactly what they do and see if this job is for you?

I compare nursing to parenthood a lot. There is a difference in "being a parent" as a state of being and "childcare" which is the daily grind we actually do. Now the daily grind does have meaning, but sometimes we need to go looking for meaning in it.

The best reward for me is when our sick or injured patients come back to visit us. They usually look so good compared to how we saw them. Often the only clue as to who they are is their family members.

Healthcare has become a lot more "corporate" in attitude and practice over the last 20 years I have worked in this field.

I work for an urgent care center in an area where there's not many hospital options so we have a very high volume of a variety of problems and traumas that come in. The things that make me realize I chose the right career are being the eyes many scared children look to during procedures that are painful, holding the hands of patients being given the awful news of a bad prognosis, when a patient tells me that they are alive due to my advice. There are many more reasons and there are many very tiring days when I question my ability to keep up but for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I can't imagine doing anything else and the truth of the situation where I am, on average I spend more time and effort on each patient than any doctor I know, we're usually the ones informing the Dr that things are turning to the worse for patients.

I am going to start CNA courses this January. I am working in a box factory right now and I thought it would be a good idea to do CNA and gain experience and knowledge in healthcare while I work through school rather than work in the factory and have clinicals as my sole healthcare experience. I would love to shadow a nurse. It is just difficult to find the time working graves and doing class. I will at some point, but knowing myself, I am very confident that this is the path I want to walk. I want to eventually get a DNP as well.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Honestly, I don't better people's lives. I enable them to live a little longer so they can go to a nursing home or LTACH, which is always a nasty shock to them because the ones who didn't come from nursing homes in the first place lived at home before. Or they die while in my care, though I would argue that most of the time that is drastically bettering their circumstances when they are finally able to die. This is specialty-dependent, though. In pediatrics, burns, trauma, cardiac surgery, places like that.... you may actually better people's lives. I just don't see that side of nursing.

To be fair, the doctors I work with don't better people's lives either. Mostly, the patients I work with can't be fixed, but their families aren't willing to let go.

Red Kryptonite

Specializes in hospice. Has 3 years experience.

OP, I don't know who it was who said that to you, but even if they're really important to you, don't waste any of your time trying to prove anything to them. Someone who would say that to you doesn't care about what's true, and they certainly don't care about being supportive to you. Frankly I'd write them off for good on this topic and never discuss it with them again. Well, maybe once more, so I could tell them to remember what they said when they're hospitalized and have to call the NURSE for their pain meds or help to the bathroom. Maybe she can't improve their life long term, but she sure as hell can during the time they're in her care.

Also, this person sounds very naive with regard to doctors. My experiences with them have been very hit or miss as to whether they actually give a sheet about anyone or anything.

Are you palliative or hospice?

Thank you Red Kryptonite for this insight. It is my significant other, but she will come around in time. Nay-sayers fuel my passion to do just the opposite of what they are naying haha.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

It's not a production rat-race for my employer's bottom-line. Being a nurse, you are not just a tool to make other people rich.
As a nurse in a hospital system, you are a tool in a healthcare machine that generates monetary riches for others. Do not be fooled. You need the correct personality and mindset to enrich the facility's bottom line. Patient care is secondary.

Even if pt care is secondary in the big machine, we still make a difference for many people. AN is full of threads about how nurses made great saves by dint of their knowledge, observation, and intuitiveness. Most of us have at least one, and many of us a lot more than one, of those stories to tell. They don't happen every day but the happen all the time.

And you know one of the little things I used to do when I worked bedside that never failed to make someone feel a little better? I'd see somebody having slid down in bed a bit so the back of his head was on the pillow, but there was nothing between there and the shoulders. So there was a lot of strain in the neck. Just simply noticing that and pulling the pillow down snugly against the neck and shoulders relieved the tension and strain he didn't even know was there until it was gone, and the deep breath of relief always followed. That made a difference to that one. :)

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Thank you Red Kryptonite for this insight. It is my significant other, but she will come around in time. Nay-sayers fuel my passion to do just the opposite of what they are naying haha.

Just be cautious come time for nursing school, as support is really important. Nursing school (and beyond!) is extremely stressful, so having a naysayer that close to you can really wear on you.

Doctors look at people as a series of symptoms to fix. Nurses look at the whole person. We are the ones who administer treatments, provide the hands on care, question the orders and let the doctor know when they don't make sense, TELL the doctor what orders are needed... Not to mention the subspecialties. I work with moms and babies, and I spend more time with my patients than the providers do. I am the one teaching a mom how to breastfeed her child and reassuring her that mark on his buttocks is normal and will go away over time, or teaching her how to hold her child or change his diaper or comfort her when he has a health problem and she's terrified and feels like it's her fault. I am reassuring her that the various feelings she is having are normal or that the swelling in her feet will go down or how to stand up to all of the well-meaning, super invasive visitors that are bound to arrive when they get home. No doctor, who has 15 minutes with you, can do that.

Now, to be fair, nurses ARE part of what makes a hospital money, what makes shareholders money, and executes the procedures they deem vital in order to cost cut or ensure insurance reimbursement. It's not all hand-holding and hugs and wiping away someone's tears. Sometimes it's telling someone to fill a prescription they probably can't afford, watching an IV drug user walk out that door to go use again, or sending someone home who has no help and is scared to go home alone.

That said, I love what I do, and I find it very rewarding. I love leaving people better than I found them- that is one of my philosophies. I can't say I have a 100% perfect track record, but I do my best. :)

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

It's not a production rat-race for my employer's bottom-line. Being a nurse, you are not just a tool to make other people rich.

After 7+ years of nursing (5 in the hospital) I wouldn't go this far. The employer's bottom line most definitely exists in all aspects of healthcare and those that benefit financially are not those at the bedside.

In my years of nursing, I feel that the patient whose life I probably bettered the most is the one who I successfully petitioned the state to take custody of when it was clear that she was not safe in her mother's care. There will never be any "thank yous" from her family in this case but she is safe now.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Are you palliative or hospice?

If you mean me, I work ICU. Hospice and palliative definitely better people's lives - I will add those to my list of nursing specialties where you really make a difference.

As a nurse in a hospital system, you are a tool in a healthcare machine that generates monetary riches for others. Do not be fooled. You need the correct personality and mindset to enrich the facility's bottom line. Patient care is secondary.

I don't mind that as long as it is for something significant. Like making card board boxes for your boss and treating it like its the most important thing in the world is what I was originally getting at. I know you are making the hospital money but its like a win/win situation for the people you are helping and your employer... right?