The True Character of a Real Nurse


What is it that draws you to this unique and exciting career path? Why do some individuals decide to be a healer, while others are turned toward an entirely different choice? So many other professions are higher paying, less demanding, less stressful in every way. It is our

character which defines us as a healing professional. The desire to help others is in the very core of our being. What moves us to open our heart and be so vulnerable as to meet another human being in the midst of their pain and suffering? It is the character of a nurse which can endure the fire of the furnace in the moment alongside another and sustain this emotional depth. This character trait is within us not just in the moment, but throughout our lifetime.

What if it is not what we do, but how we do what we do that really matters? Often I have found that those in this healing profession not only endure the pain of patients and family members, but also carry the weight of close family members' struggles. Our journey is often laden with commitments to care for loved ones who are needing physical, emotions and spiritual uplifting, even when we are not "working our normal jobs". Some may call this codependency. Others may know it as the destiny they were meant to life out.

Nurses fill many roles, both formally and informally. Our nurturing character enables us to stay in the moment with those we cross paths. It was never meant for us to travel the wide road; the easy route. We were all given the opportunity as we stood at the entrance of our formal educational foyer to take another course. We took the road less travelled in order to arrive at this point in time, knowing the true character of a real nurse is to care, most deeply, from our very soul. Thank you for being on this journey with me.


1 Post

Specializes in general nursing.

nurses atimes show indifference to people they've seen too many cases often times are not bothered by new ones


15 Posts

Specializes in Psych (my husband says I fit right in!).

I really enjoyed what you said:

" What if it is not what we do, but how we do what we do that really matters?"

My goodness! If that's not the truth, I don't know what is! It IS how we do that really matters! Anyone can go into a patient's room and take vital signs......but it takes a special character (be it a nurse, or a PCT, or a hospital aide) to go beyond the mechanical motions of Temp., Pulse, BP, and Respirations. To actually SEE the PERSON in the bed, to SEE the family members/friends in the room, struggling with the situation, to not only see, but to reach out, and in some way, even if it's by a smile, nod, or asking if there's anything you can get for them, ~~~ANYTHING!~~~ other than the basics, THAT'S what counts, that's what matters, that's where the true heart of the matter is. SEEING the patients, BEING in the room while you're there, and letting them know you see them and are with them, that they are not alone! Thank you for sharing! It was great!:heartbeat


78 Posts

a true nurse is a person having compassion to care for a patient or for those who need quality care. it is sad to know that some are only called nurse by profession.the essential of being a nurse seems to fade away --- and that is to heal and provide quality care

Specializes in Geriatrics.

You told that so perfectly, I always knew I had to be a Nurse. All my other jobs were just fill in's until I could achieve that White Cap. Thank You for detailing my mind and heart so well.

:redpinkhe Very Well Put! Everyday I am blessed with being reminded that my purpose was to be a Nurse, it is who I am in every aspect of my life, and finally it makes sense to care so deeply for others and always needed to go the distance to help each person I can have the best possible today they can have (I never understood why I was so different from others) I am a Real Nurse and it wasn't by choice but destiny.


12 Posts

When someone asks me .When did you decide to become a nurse? I always say.. I always was a nurse from the as long as I can remember. When any of my siblings or nieghborhood kids got hurt,I'd rush them to the bathroom,clean the scrape and place a bandaid or whatever was needed. I guess I learned it from my mom who was not a trained nurse but a mom with common sense and love. Common sense and love I believe is a valuable and inexhaustible resource for anyone.When you find that combination along with a good dose of education and then add our common experiences ...You have a team. The best character that I have ever seen is a nurse who can be part of team..with everyone..the same team and the best team includes the patient.

It is their powerlessness that I identify with. I have a desire to serve and protect.A desire to learn and yes a desire that burns so fervently inside that at times I must take the time to let others love me . Our strength ironically can become our weakness. I view health as a gift from above and it is an honor to alleviate suffering. It is unparralled. Linda

i like it... as what they say... you have to have the x-factor to become a real nurse... more than the technicalities... you have to know why you`re there... :nurse:


28 Posts

I chose nursing as a career because I was given limited choices between being a secretary, a stewardess, a nun, a teacher, or a nurse. I hated typing, I was too tall to be a stewardess (airline attendant nowadays), enjoyed having a sex life, and the thought of teaching children at my young, wild age was too boring. Nurses could get a job anywhere at anytime and earn enough to support themselves and remain single. So I chose nursing.

Two plus decades later, I am changing my career to something that is not nursing. So many changes. Uniforms have gone from starched white dresses, support hose, and carefully pinned caps to fluorescent leopard prints and running shoes or Crocs. I receive less respect for what I do than do the greeters in a fast food restaurant. My bladder is shot, I have major varicose vein issues, and chronic back pain. I have decided that I will no longer sacrifice my time and my health to fatten the wallets of those who run the systems. No longer will I subject myself to the rigors of mandatory/obligatory overtime, searching for edible food in vending machines, or risking my life driving to work in storms. Meh. Enough.

The young nurses on the floor seem to be as casual in their nursing as the uniforms they wear. They don't bother to measure for TEDs or select the proper BP cuff; whatever is available is what they use. It is disheartening and scary for me to have to participate as a patient in the new and changing healthcare system. Some of the nurses can barely speak English. Recently, I visited the ER for nonstop vomiting due to headache. I just wanted some medication to stop the vomiting and check my BP. Simple. I knew what was wrong with me. But the doctor refused to listen to me, an old battle axe nurse, and proceeded to exam me with his bare hands. I then developed a staph infection on/in my face. A necrotic, inflamed flesh eating ugly time of infection. I recognized this early and was given abx treatment. No one admitted that poor handwashing by a doctor could have possibly occurred in their ER. Every time I look in the mirror now, I have deep facial scars that remind me that the healing is no longer in healthcare and it is time to change course.


11 Posts

Specializes in still studying.


you see..

i am just starting my life as a healer..

and i would like to thank you for your beautiful article..

i appreciate it so much..

thanks again and again..



113 Posts

Crystal2Dish...As a RN with 19 years under my white shoes I agree with you that the "profession of Nursing" has evolved to a point of no return. I am amazed to see nurses with 15 letters following their names...and yet no respect to claim. I resigned my last position nearly 4 months ago when I was informed by a Hospice E.D./ S.W that I needed to "draw a line in the sand" because I was appalled when I found my hospice patient lying on her bed with saturated linens,in intractable pain and begging for a drink of water, in an Assisted Living facility that accepted Hospice patients. I argued on behalf of the patient and family that if an assisted living accepted Hospice patients then they also should provide minimal and humane care...the bottom line the $5,000 a month room did not include direct care of any sort including the offering of a sip of water to a dying client. The Assisted Living recieved their money and Hospice services were provided but we could not give this patient care 24/7 and the family was "assured their loved one would have physical,spiritual and humane care by the Hospice E.D. and Assisted Living. I was the case manager..I taught the med techs how to give the prescribed comfort meds but would visit to find that because these meds were PRN(med techs cannot assess for pain) the patient rarely recieved them..and when I wrote for pain medications around the clock I was informed by the Assisted living Coordinator "Hospice gave pain meds to hasten death"...I went to the ED and informed him that I was "drawing my line in the sand"...and I resigned after I had sat bedside on my own time after hours to provide comfort for my patient and her family. I am now sitting here considering my options..will I return to nursing or will I be another causualty in the for profit healthcare system that neglects the humane for the dollar.