The Top 10 Things I Loved About Nursing

As a late-middle-aged RN who is newly retired from clinical nursing, I'd like to share a retrospective on a long and fruitful career that brought me a fair share of heartache, but also great joys. These are the things I loved about nursing. I hope that perhaps you'll see something of yourself in the paragraphs that follow and appreciate what your profession has given you. Nurses Rock Article

As a nurse who has left the clinical side of the profession, I've had a little time recently to ponder both the good and bad aspects of the vocation I chose long ago. And although it got to be too much for me in the end, there was far more positive than negative. Here are the things I used to love about nursing:

10 ) I very much enjoyed working in the most comfortable clothing on the planet.

What other field lets you work in what are basically pajamas with lots of pockets? And sneakers?

9 ) Variety!

There are so many kinds of nursing that it would take several lifetimes to try them all. Just in my own career, I've worked LTC, med/surg, ICU, mother-baby, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. I've been a CNA, charge nurse, floor nurse, care manager, and director of nursing, and now I'm a long-term care surveyor. What else can you do with a two-year degree that offers so many different opportunities?

8 ) The chance to meet many types of people and see so many different situations.

I've cared for politicians, doctors, local celebrities, priests, and hospital CEOs. I've also cared for people at the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum and found their stories just as compelling. I've seen lives begin, and I've seen many more of them end. I've known 100-year-olds who survived massive strokes and were still living full lives, and I've known 40-year-olds who gave up and died within weeks of receiving a cancer diagnosis.

7 ) A decent standard of living.

Although wages have flattened out quite a bit in the past ten years or so, nursing still pays better than a lot of professions that require more education. I do believe that the BSN will eventually be the entry point for nurses; however, for some of us who were either super ambitious or simply really lucky, it's been possible to go pretty much anywhere and do anything we wanted with our ADNs.

6 ) OK, I'll admit it: I really did enjoy taking care of people and making them feel better.

When I was young, I cared for my grandmother who had been a nurse during World War I, and I remember charting her medications and giving report to the doctor who came around to visit (yes, I'm old enough to recall when they made house calls). I carried those memories all the way through my nursing career, and nothing pleased me more than solving a patient's problem and being able to say, "Everything is all right. I fixed it."

5 ) Interesting co-workers.

Nurses come in all sizes, colors, nationalities, and philosophies of life, and I've learned something from each and every one I've encountered.....even if it was only the way I DIDN'T want to work or live.

4 ) Learning about so many fascinating diseases and conditions.

In school, I was the only one in my entire class who got to see a real, live case of necrotizing fasciitis as it progressed during my clinicals. And thanks to the curiosity ingrained in me during my days as a student, I've also become something of an expert on the chronic health issues which affect me, as well as several of the people I'm close to. I can't imagine dealing with these conditions without the knowledge base I have as a nurse.

3 ) Nursing has also given me some much-needed patience.

As a child and even well into adulthood, I had a quick temper and a tendency to go off like a hand grenade at almost any provocation; now, when confused, combative, potty-mouthed Martha asks me for the tenth time in five minutes where the (rhymes with duck) she's supposed to go, I'm not even tempted to tell her.

2 ) Nurses are still the most-trusted professionals in America.

Need I say more?

1 ) To paraphrase the old Peace Corps ad: Nursing is the toughest job you'll ever love.

And I did love it, even though I sometimes went home dragging my aching bones like an old tired dog and swearing I wasn't going back. If life events and illness hadn't intervened to make it necessary for me to change course, I'd probably have stayed at or near the bedside until retirement age. Still, as I look back on almost two decades in healthcare, I'm satisfied that I made the right decision to get out before I had nothing left to give.

But you see, it's like this: you spend a good piece of your life holding the lives of patients in your heart and hands...and when you leave, you discover that it was really the other way around all the time.

This article made me smile. Like I remembered the old times. You must be feeling great now as much as I do. I love everything about nursing. The work, the people around, the environment, and everything else. Thanks for making me feel happy.

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I continue to be amazed at the number and the quality of responses this post has received. I'm happy that you found it so positive and that it's helped you remember what you love about nursing. :)

Cant wait to finish my pre reqs courses and get accepted to nursing! Very nice post

Specializes in Varied.

This was a beautiful post!

Specializes in Dialysis.

As of late, I've been so burnt out due to horrible scheduling where I work. Thanks for reminding me why I love this career!

So inspiring thank u so

Much for sharing :)

Thank you so much for this post! I am 50 years old, and just starting my journey as a nurse. Actually, just finishing up prerequisites. I am changing careers mid life and I can't wait to be a nurse. What you wrote is not only inspiring, but now I am sure this is my path in life. Thank you!