May 7, 2013

In Honor of Nurses Week...a repost

Random person:Do you really like being a nurse?

Nurse: Um, yeah, why?


Nurse: Yes.

 RP: How can you enjoy a job that demands that you work hours outside the typical 8-5 M-F, and you have to work weekends, holidays and nights? Plus, you don't have a set schedule. That would drive me crazy not always working the same days every week.

 Nurse: That's one of the great things about nursing, the flexibility. You can work around doctors appointments, school functions and other things you need off work for. You can work just weekends to be home with the kids, or you can work evenings or nights if you aren't a morning person.

RP: Another thing. Nursing is frequently cited as one of the most respected professions, but most of the time, all people hear about are how horrible their nursing care was. How their IV bag ran dry, or they waited forever for pain meds, or that their nurse seemed rushed. Oh, and the patients who think their nurse was a horrible ogre for not giving them the medication they wanted, even though it was the doctor, not the nurse, who decided against that med. Or the family who doesn't think you're doing enough for their family member, even though you've gone above and beyond to care for that patient. That's got to be disheartening. The saying "don't shoot the messenger" comes to mind. Sometimes you hear about how great a nurse was, but not as often. Plus the butt-reaming you get on occasion from a doctor, for reasons justified or unjustified, must suck. I've seen you come home in tears after a particularly horrible shift.

 Nurse: There are times when no matter what I do, I can't seem to make a patient or their family happy, and times when I've had my ass chewed by a doctor. That is very frustrating. But, most of the time, patients are pleasant to deal with and the doctors are easy to get along with. After one night of verbal abuse by a patient, I've had the doc decide she needed to go in and talk to the patient about treating the nursing staff with respect and that the decisions made for her care came from her, not me. Occasionally, I've been told I'm a good nurse, that I made a good call, that I really helped a mom enjoy her birth experience, or that I've given them great advice when caring for their baby.

RP: You also frequently talk about shifts that are so busy that you don't get eat, drink much or even pee for 12 hours! Some nurses even get bladder infections from shifts like that! Or on the rare occasion you get to sit down to eat, a family member of one of your patients sees you eating and is instantly pissed because you are sitting and eating and not taking care of their family member. You can't win. You've gone into work feeling like crap, just because if you didn't they'd be way too short staffed. I also remember hearing about a nurse working with a broken bone, or in active labor until the end of her shift, because she felt she had to. How many other professions will do that?! It's high stress, and hard manual labor turning patients, running down the hall for an emergency delivery. Plus the sadness of death, whether it's an elderly man or a stillborn baby. How do you deal with all of that? How is it worth it?

 Nurse: Nursing is very emotional. I had to understand my own beliefs so I could deal with the bad things that happen. Especially working OB. The good is really good, but the bad is really bad. We cry alongside patients and their families while still doing our job. There is a grieving process with death, not only for the family, but for the caregivers as well. I do what I can to provide resources for them and to help them start the process of grieving. I guess what makes nursing rewarding are all of the little things.

When you do something for a patient, whether by getting their pain under control, by helping them achieve the birth they want, and giving encouragement to go on, or by just listening to their concerns, that's what makes it worth it. It can be as simple as a successful IV start on a patient who is a "hard stick" and is deathly afraid of needles, or as big as reporting a suspected child abuser. It's when your bedridden patient smiles after a complete bedbath and back rub - that makes it worth it. When a new mom gets her newborn to latch on and breastfeed after hours of unsuccessful attempts. Or when you sit holding a dying woman's hand to let her know she's not alone. It's when I advocate successfully for a patient, and the patient never knows, that's why I'm a nurse. Those moments overshadow all the bad nights. Knowing that maybe, to at least one person, I've made their life a little easier, even if in the smallest measure - that's why I'm a nurse


Medical Equipment Female said...

I think it is important that we do recognize our nurses. Doctors sometimes get all of the credit and nurses get all of the blame. I thank all nurses for what they do!
Cheers~ Erin

Taylor Lunin said...

Hi Nurse Lochia,

My name is Taylor Lunin and I’m reaching out on behalf of professional speaker and author, Marcus Engel, and the I’m Here Movement; a nationwide effort to honor and inspire nurses to know the power of simple human presence as the cornerstone of caregiving.

Here’s a little about the I’m Here Movement and it’s beginnings…

As a college freshman, Marcus Engel was blinded and nearly killed after being struck by a drunk driver. The night of the crash, a 20 year old PCT in the E.R. named Jennifer held his hand and refused to leave his side. Her presence and words, “I’m here, Marcus…I’m here” provided more security and comfort than anything else could have done in those vulnerable moments.

Marcus Engel is now a professional speaker and author who provides insight and strategies for excellent patient care. His books, “I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care” and “The Other End of the Stethoscope” both share the story of Jennifer…and yet? Jennifer has also been the missing piece of the puzzle for two decades.

Marcus has been sharing the story of I’m Here for years, but never knew Jennifer’s last name, her position in the E.R., no way to contact her…nothing.

Then, in January 2013, something special happened that kicked off the I’m Here Movement. To learn more, please visit:

and be sure to watch the Marcus meets Jenny vid. It’s incredible…I promise!

To help spread the I’m Here Movement, Marcus and I are reaching out to nurse bloggers. We would love to send you a complimentary copy of “I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care” and some of the I’m Here Movement wristbands. No obligation, no cost, no strings. If you like the site and the book, we would love it if you’d consider sharing the info with your followers. Thanks for your time!

Taylor and Marcus

P.S. To receive your complimentary copy of “I’m Here: Compassionate Communication in Patient Care”, just reply with your preferred mailing address. And, if you’d like to learn more about Marcus and his work, please visit:

Unknown said...

Hi Lochia,

I loved this post. Everything about this post. I've been a CNA for two year and am a heart monitor technician on a cardiac telemetry floor.

Everything that you just described is why I want so badly to be a nurse. I'm going back to school to get my RN. Many people say that it's extremely hard to do, and I've even had career services at my school say the program is almost too competitive and that I need a backup plan, but I know that without a doubt this is what I want to do the rest of my life.

I feel bad about asking this next part because I love reading your blog but since I am working towards becoming a nurse I have a request to make.....

As you know, college is expensive, and the nursing program is rough. I'm trying to work my way through college but I really need more funds. My school is holding a scholarship program though.

If I make a youtube video with the most views about why I chose Ivy Tech then I get a $3000 scholarship which would help me immensely.

I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing this on your blog? I can use all the help I can get. The link for the video is

It's only 44 seconds long, I just really need the help so I can become an RN.

Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Please help a fellow future nurse to finish nursing school. I am in danger of being able to finish after 16 months, with only two months left to go. Please help me to finish my dream to become a nurse, and pursue a career I love. That you for any help and support you have to offer.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this! I'm a nursing student and sometimes I wonder what I'm getting myself into. This was really helpful.

Jenny B said...

Thank you for posting this! It was very insightful and encouraging.

Unknown said...

Wow, this is an awesome post. I am currently a nursing student, and there are moments where I really have to wonder if I'd be a good nurse, or even if I want to be a nurse. It is a hard job and you really have to have the passion for it to be successful. Your post brings up good points too about how a nurse goes through so many obstacles in their career, but a single moment of successful and effective nursing can outweigh all of the troubles that come along with being a nurse.

Anonymous said...

I like your nursing blog. Here is a video review by Jenny, a nursing student. What do you think about the book?

jaiserve said...

True, we need to recognise them and give due respect. Thank you for the blog.

Anonymous said...

I love being a nurse! It's something I really take pride in and others do as well!

dojuma said...

nice blog

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