Updated: Dec 15, 2023
Published Nov 28, 2023
What is it like to be a nurse? Many people would answer "that's a fun job", "a nurse gives people medicine" or "a nurse cares for people". Though none of those would be wrong, the true answer to that question will never be one singular thing. The type of nurse someone is, would help them to answer that question for themselves. For example, a school nurse may distribute students home medications to them and help with gym class injuries whereas a flight nurse would ride in an airplane and handle critically ill patients that need lifesaving care while on the way to a hospital. Though both of those job are vastly different, each one is a nurse.
If someone were to ask me "What is it like to be a nurse?”, my answers would vary as well. As an emergency room nurse, my experience can be traumatic, but rewarding at the same time. Some days I see very minimalist cases and simply build a rapport with my patients then assess, medicate if needed and discharge them. Other days I care for elderly patients who have been clearly neglected and have no family to come see them. Therefore, when they are cleared to go, I struggle to find ways to get them home or have to send them back to the nursing homes they came from in hopes that they will receive their follow up care. Other days I have upset patients who cuss and yell at me because the doctor has not come to see them despite all the comfort measures that I have tried to offer them in the meantime. Other days I have children who are deathly afraid of anyone with gloves on, and I struggle to care for them without having to duck kicks and punches. Other days I care for women suffering miscarriages who are extremely emotional and all I can do is be a shoulder to cry on or a room to grieve. Other days I care for people who we have to give a terminal illness diagnoses to and all I can do is watch pure sadness come over their faces. Other days I care for someone who comes in with the complaint of chest pain who ends up flat lining 15 seconds into triage, and despite excellent chest compressions and adequate medications, they don't always make it and all I can do is think about what we could have been done better.
With that being said, though there are plenty of shifts that end in me being overly happy and joyful because I felt as though I made a difference, there are other shifts that end in me not even remembering the drive home due to the pure sadness I felt. So, to end, though I don't mind being asked, "What is it like to be a nurse?”, my answers sadly won't always be sunshine and rainbows. Regardless, I do know that I make a difference and so does every other nurse regardless of their specialty. I am sure that I speak for every nurse when I say, "I love my job, but I don't always love what comes with it.
It's fantastic that you're pursuing nursing! We truly need dedicated individuals like you. Best of luck on your journey!
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