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What keeps you going as a nurse?

by NurseEnvision NurseEnvision (New) New

Share your thoughts about the things that motivates you everyday as a nurse!

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

First and foremost, I love having a marketable skill and being paid for it.

Nursing is amusing. Some days it's a veritable freak show. The people you meet are so varied! People can really open up to their nurses, it's almost like being a priest in the confessional.

I love the process of building trust with the patients. Then, the peek into their worlds is fascinating.


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

1. Payday

2-10. Lack of knowledge in how to do anything else.

NightNerd, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg/tele. Has 7 years experience.

Sometimes, the need of a steady paycheck is kinda it. BUT, most of the time I love the idea that I can quantify the way I'm helping someone, whether it's an improved lab value or pain score, seeing them demonstrate a new knowledge or skill to improve their autonomy, or simply knowing that my listening and encouragement made them feel better. I'm mostly in it for the feelings, lol. Also, I definitely have the most interesting job in my social circle, which is pretty neat.


Specializes in home health, hospice, SNF, geriatrics. Has 7 years experience.

Caring for my patients. When they need help I'm there for them. And when I get them what they need, get them comfortable, meet their needs, I feel like I did my job. And not just patients but their family members too. I love caring for people always have always will.

Being a patient advocate.

Luckyyou, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 10 years experience.

OT and bonus pay.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

1st - making a good living.

2nd - occasionally being able to make a difference for people going through the toughest of times.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

Sometimes, the need of a steady paycheck is kinda it. BUT, most of the time I love the idea that I can quantify the way I'm helping someone... I'm mostly in it for the feelings, lol. Also, I definitely have the most interesting job...


Getting a paycheck is great, but I could have done any number of jobs just to get a paycheck.

It's the feeling of being a contributing member of society and elevating my own sense of consciousness and worth. It's helping others help themselves. It's like Linus Van Pelt said: "Love is like jam- you can't spread even a little without getting some on yourself".

Nursing is a difficult job with the array of knowledge, actions, and personalities one has to deal with. That difficulty is what attracts me. Just about anyone with a moderate amount of intelligence can become a nurse. But not just anyone can be a good nurse. It takes motivation, drive, and interest.

Nursing constantly presents challenges. And meeting those challenges is what keeps me going as a nurse.

Thanks for asking, NurseEnvision!

1) Best money I can make for only two years of education.

2) Caring for my family.

3) Helping an underserved group of people.

4) I'm great at it and learn quickly.

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

I forget which theorist (semester's over, my brain checked out) said nurses do for the patient what they CANNOT do for themselves. After I read that it made a huge difference for my practice. I'm only 18 months in but it has got me through some tough nights.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

Of course the paycheck, and knowing that if the worst happened and I became unemployed I wouldn't have any problem finding a job somewhere else. It's nice to have a highly marketable skill.

Outside of the obvious benefit of employment I really like taking care of my residents. I do feel like I make a positive impact in their lives. It also just feels good knowing that the families of my residents feel confident that their loved ones are well cared for and happy.

Missie Hannie

Specializes in NICU.

Echoing what everyone else has said, having a marketable skill and a nice paycheck is pretty great!

I work in a NICU, and seeing my sweet tiny babies grow bigger and stronger warms my heart. There are a lot of crazy times as well, but knowing that I'm helping these families during a scary time in their lives keeps me going :)


Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

Obviously the paycheck and the job security.

That aside - kids are the most awesome, annoying, hilarious, brutally honest, unintentionally jerkish people to work with (which my inner sarcastic twisted soul very much appreciates) and I absolutely love being able to take care of them as well as help their families during a tough time in their lives.

NurseHeart&Soul, MSN

Specializes in ED, Critical care, & Education.

Being present for a patient and their family during some of life's most vulnerable moments.

Identifying the subtle clues of intimate partner violence and sharing resources with a person who would never in a million years ask for them.

Holding the hand of a person taking their last breaths, because I won't let them die alone.

Catching a baby during an emergent delivery...something amazing about being part of a birth.

Sitting with a family who has just lost a loved one...and being present for their every need.

Being called an angel by a patient or family member....that carries me through for awhile.

Sharing my mistakes with newer nurses and colleagues hoping I will prevent them from making similar mistakes.

Learning that something I taught a co-worker made a difference in the care they delivered.

At the end of the day...knowing that I did my best with the resources I had and treated people with the respect they deserved...

FurBabyMom, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

Ummm...I think I'm the odd ball here. Most days I love my job itself. I get to do some of the coolest things, and have some great coworkers. Not that things are perfect at work, they sure as heck aren't.

Right now, the reasons I'm not leaving my current employer:

1. Grad school - my tuition reimbursement is a sweet deal. So I'm "stuck".

2. How awesome the doing part of my job is.

3. Being able to help care for patients and their families on what is nearly always the worst days of their life/lives.

4. My relationships with my coworkers.


Specializes in Hospice, LTC. Has 1 years experience.

I work as a Hospice nurse,and while certain aspects of the job are terrible, the feeling that I get when I know I'm helping a family or a patient through a hard time is what keeps me going. I was on call on Thanksgiving and had to leave my family gathering to respond to a "he's not waking up..." call, which I always dread. It was one of my favorite patients, and though I would much rather have been eating with my family instead of waiting on a funeral home, the patient's spouse cried and said how she was so glad I was on call that day because she needed me there. I was mentioned in the obituary, and I know without a doubt that I made someone's worst day a little more bearable. That's what keeps me going.

So many things!! I love sarcasm so my co-workers I feel like are "my people" because they have better sarcasm than I, I hate to sit down and love for my work day to be fast so nursing keeps me engaged. I like being a nonjudgmental ear for people and I think I can relate to a lot of people so I use that in my nursing practice. I don't share personal stories with patients but just a sympathetic undertone to conversations. I love that we can do so much with one degree to. Nursing has definite downs but all fields do! Gotta roll with the punches like anything in life.

Money. I'm burnt out.