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10 Reasons I Don't Always Love My Job

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by SICUshortCait SICUshortCait (New Member) New Member

SICUshortCait works as a RN.

9,733 Visitors; 18 Posts

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My friends and I often get asked why we want to talk about work when we're not there. My answer is usually because I'm a nurse. Now, traditionally I'm supposed to say it's because I love my job, and often times that's true; but what about the other times? There's an interesting culture among nurses that we have to love our jobs all of the time. It's the precursor to every story, every venting session and the default answer whenever someone asks "how do you like it?". The immediate response has to be "I love my job, (insert rest of sentence), but I still love it". I Know that even putting these words to paper will cause an outcry that maybe I should choose another career. Is that really fair though? For once I am going to be honest and tell you why I love being a nurse, but not all the time.

10. "If you didn't document it, it didn't happen".

This is a cardinal rule of nursing hammered in our heads since school. This means that no matter how busy the night gets, no matter how many units need to be hung, doctors we call, or hands we hold there will be times when I'm only as good as my flowsheet.

9. "Treat your patients the way you'd want to treat your mom"

I would love to. Truly. There are times I have left and cried to my friends because I felt like I wasn't able to live up to this. I remember a particular night having a patient use the bedpan because I just didn't have 4 people to help me get him up in the middle of the night. My mother would have wanted to cry and I know that and it killed me. Or, when I have patients who are in their 90s and want nothing more than a glass of water, not thickened to the point of being jello, but real water if that were my mother I'd let her have it. When it's your mother however I can't.

8. There are times when your family member passes that I am so relieved.

Times when I am sad that when I come into to work to take care of them that they're still there. Not because I don't wish they would get better, but because I know they won't and I want them to find peace. I don't wish to come into work and poke needles into their arms and turn them every which way unless I truly believe it will help them.

7. On that same note, Science has not beat mortality, nor has longevity of life bettered its quality.

There are patients we cannot save. There are days where you will sit on my unit with your family, I will step out of the room, take one look at your face and my heart will break. I may offer you water and tissues but I cannot mend your heart. I may have spent 12, 24, or 36 hours in your family member's room. They may have become my grandma, my mom, my friend for the week and I know there's nothing we can do. I may have just done compressions moved as fast as I could to hang blood I may have silently prayed that this time I'd find their pulse, but I lost.

6. So that I can stop the tears while I write this, Do you like poop? I don't.

Not when it's coming from where it comes out of you and me, not when it's diverted into a bag, and especially not when it's vomited (yes that happens). If you want me to tell you I love cleaning it, I just can't. What I can tell you is that I love that I can tell you that it's okay everybody does it, that I can try to make you feel dignified when you want to feel mortified, that I can cheer for your bowel movement like you scored a goal. I love that I can get you to the point where we're both laughing about it and you feel better.

5. How simultaneously long and short 12 hours can be.

There are times that I would love to hear every story from the time you were a child until now. Truly, if there were a a certification in patient chatting I would sign up yesterday. I love getting to know you and what you've done in your life. Unfortunately, there are times I have to cut you off mid story to run to my other patient, to answer my zone phone..Oh zone phones that'll be number 4..., or to help another nurse. The worst part for me is that you may be thinking your stories aren't important or that you're not my priority. The truth is that nothing could be further from the truth. I think about you from the moment I get there until long after I'm home, and probably after you're home too.

4. Zone phones.

We have a love hate relationship. Before I was a nurse I was a unit secretary and let me tell you I get zone phones, but man are they annoying. Half the time when they ring I'm in a contact room or doing a sterile procedure or mid conversation with a patient. What I do love is when I sneak one to a patient's ear because while they can barely remember where they are they want to call their wife or husband and hear their kids. I could listen to that all day.

3. I'm not perfect.

I hate this part. Don't you? The truth is we all make mistakes. Unfortunately my mistakes can have big consequences. Life and death consequences. Nurses need coffee to think just like any other person shuffling to work. We need sleep. We need to not have real life happening at home. Nurses like you know this is not how life works. Sometimes we're tired, we're stressed, we get one second of distraction like anyone else and mistakes are made. Some people make typos in a big presentation. Some people leave their boss on speakerphone when they meant to hit mute. Us? we can have med errors. People can get hurt. People we work our butts off to protect and care for. These mistakes haunt us forever. Trust me. I've made mistakes before, that luckily were harmless, and I still think about them everyday. So nurses be kind to each other when this happens.

2. I love my patients.

Is she getting confused? that sounds like a good thing... Give me a second. I love my patients so much that when they hurt my heart hurts. When they pass away I cry on the drive home. We call each other to say 'hey I heard" and talk to each other for hours. It's your family and when we are at work we will comfort you. We will cut locks of hair for you to remember them by and stay with you as long as we can, but when we leave we lost someone. I worry about them constantly. I come into work hoping their name is still in MAK but they've gone to the floor. I hope that they're extubated, I hope that their pain is relieved, I hope that if I ever see them again it's because they want show us how much better they are. I high five and hug them when they move an extremity they weren't able to move the last hour. I am PROUD of them.

1. I don't like that I don't always love my job.

I worked my butt off in nursing school. I fell in love with trauma nursing during clinical and I was hooked. I went to the Surgical/ Neuro Science ICU straight out of school and I couldn't get enough. I would stay late just because I didn't want to leave. I loved every second. I hate that I don't always feel like that anymore, but I think it's important to recognize that it's okay to feel that way. We work stressful jobs. We have hard days. What I know I do and always will love is that I have the opportunity to be your nurse. Every time I hold your hand when it hurts or you're scared or you're grieving I feel so lucky to be able to do my job. When you tell me you never thought you'd get this far I will choke out the words "I'm so happy you did" and I will feel so thankful to have been a part of that journey. Every family member hug I get, every patient smile, every handhold, every word of encouragement from my coworkers are the reasons I may not always love my job, but I'll keep coming back for more!

10-reasons-i-dont-always-love-my-job.pdf

Edited by Joe V

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opdahlamber has 3 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

17,363 Visitors; 37 Posts

Made me choke up. Completely all true and thank you for saying it.

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FutureNP2U has 1 years experience and works as a Nurse Assistant.

2,071 Visitors; 14 Posts

Wonderful article!!!!

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2,743 Visitors; 21 Posts

Brought tears to my eyes! Amazing article that perfectly articulates such a conflicting feeling ❤️

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NutmeggeRN has 25 years experience and works as a HS Nurse.

149 Likes; 1 Follower; 41,931 Visitors; 3,620 Posts

Wow. Thankyou.

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966 Visitors; 1 Post

Definitely saving this for future reference :) I loved reading it!! Thank you.

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986 Visitors; 11 Posts

Worth to read this article - A unique one :up:

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5,331 Visitors; 125 Posts

If I may add to point 8. I guess this is actually a blend of 7 and 8. I don't like when the family is power of attorney for their 85+ family relative and refuse to allow natural death and refuse hospice care because you know, "they're going to beat the cancer that has spread to both their kidneys, liver, and is now entering their brain". It saddens me that the patient sits alone for hours or days unattended because you, the family member, are too busy to visit them or spend the night in their room (of course the staff are in there but it's not the same). It saddens me and makes me not like my job when I have to break their ribs performing compressions and you still insist to "do everything you can!" (but of course, you're too busy to visit them).

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3,242 Visitors; 128 Posts

Love this article. It is too bad the public does not see how much our jobs affect us. We are to always be supportive and looking out for our patients. I agree somewhat with the previous post about Health Care Power of Attorneys. This is not talked about enough. I have stood by the bed of adult children arguing as we do compressions or having to make the decision to remove someone from a ventilator. I wish there was someway this could be discussed way before in an emotional moment people are faced with these decisions. Your heart always will hope for the best even when your mind knows the outcome. Such a tug!

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twetekitty has 45 years experience.

1,386 Visitors; 6 Posts

Absolutely agree with the feelings this article radiates. Have been in nursing now for 44 years (unreal right?) and these feelings come up everyday and night but I still go back. Every hug I receive and smile I get continues to make the difference.

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