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What makes it worth it?

Lavode Lavode (New) New

Hello everyone!

I am new to this group. One of my nursing classes requires us to get out there and get to know the online nursing community, so I stumbled across this discussion group.

I have a question for you, if those of you out there either working as a practicing nurse or learning to be one, would be so kind as to answer.

I have been reading a mixture of ups and downs as well as those saying "don't even think about nursing as a career it isn't worth it" to "best career ever!" sides of the scale. My question is: if there was an event that clicked and made all the studying/effort/hard work/crazy hours/lack of sleep/ thankless (of thankful) tasks worth it for you, what was it? Was there something that caused you to say to yourself "this is why I became a nurse" ?

~PedsRN~, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

I have those moments all the time. The work is hard, can be unforgiving and underappreciated.... but there are always times where I think - WOW - that's why I became a nurse. I'll tell you an example from recently. I was floated to a different unit, the rehab unit, at my hospital. I hate the rehab, because I find it depressing.... so many horrible stories and accidents, and kids who's lives will be forever changed due to one tragic accident. I had a kiddo that night that I was told in report was non verbal. He was a TBI. I was told he occasionally attempted to talk, and could communicate in other ways, but he wasn't really "speaking" to the point of being understood.

He hadn't eaten his dinner that night, so it was late (after the very rigorous med pass that is the rehab unit before bed!) and I felt like he needed SOMETHING. No food or drink since late afternoon. So I went in and hung out with him a bit... chatted his ear off, and convinced him to eat some yogurt and drink a few cartons of juice (small victories!) . He could not feed himself. - Afterwards, he smiled and gave me a salute. I smiled back and said... "What's that mean? A salute?" And he took a deep breath, smiled, and said as clear as day... "Thank you."

Melted my heart right there. :)

I didn't help crack a chest, I didn't make any life saving decisions.... but I was there for a kid. It's those little moments that make me feel like... "Wow. This is why I do this."

melizerd, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

I did a rotation in a burn unit and it was amazing. I was there the day a patient who had been medically sedated for months opened his eyes and said "hi" we all cried.

Days suck, patients are rude, families are crazy, my feet hurt, people die.....but it is so worth it. It's worth it to see a patient smile, to know you made a difference today.

People need a place to vent and get things off their chest so I take all venting here with a grain of salt.

Mr. Murse

Specializes in critical care. Has 7 years experience.

I think people that hate nursing are ones who either didn't know what they were getting into or ended up in a terrible facility or two and judge the whole career on it. And there are those who just aren't cut out for nursing, who don't understand people and don't work well with them in this context. It's a dirty job. It's tiring. Sometimes you just feel like a drug dealer. Or a server. Or a maid. It doesn't usually pay as well as it's reputed to. You are dealing with people who are usually at some of the lowest points of their life and don't often get thanked and most people underestimate how much really goes into the job and see nursing as something we just settled on because we weren't smart enough or hard working enough to become doctors or something "more".

I love the job for a number of reasons. I like science. I like the human body. I like figuring out how things work. I'm endlessly fascinated by the hows and whys of disease and medicine. I'm an anthropologist by nature and love seeing people at their best and worst, and everything in between. I like figuring out how to deal with complicated patients. I like being busy and leaving after 13 hours of barely sitting down and feeling like I kept it all under control. I like being challenged. I like being one of the handful of people in society that can handle what we do and do it well. I like being at the hospital with other members of this strange and eclectic tribe.

Honestly, I didn't really think I would enjoy the job as much as I have. I decided on nursing for pragmatic reasons and have found out since that it is where I belong.

I work peds. I have had feedback from several of my patients' families. They come back and remember me, and they tell me thank you for having that talk with them. I often talk mom to mom, not just nurse to patient's family. One mom came up to me when her child was readmitted several months after the first visit and told me she was so glad I had the heart to heart talk with her about her son's gtube. She went ahead and had it placed after our talk and I was right, it was the best thing for him. Her son needed the tube but she was afraid, and the child had been living with an NG for over a year. She said I eased her fears. Another patient that we had for many months went home and their nurse also works at my hospital. I was told by that nurse that the mom still talks about me in a positive light and said I was the best nurse that ever took care of her child while he was there, and she could tell I really cared. :-)