Wow. Time flies when you’re taking care of other people.
It’s my ‘nurseversary’. Four years ago this month, I finished nursing school. Seems like a lifetime away, yet at times feels like it was just yesterday. I suppose it depends on how challenging my patients were that day.
One thing remains the same: I have zero regrets.
I absolutely, positively love being a nurse. This isn’t some roses-and-rainbow post about how nursing is always glamorous and fabulous and dreamy. It’s hard work, physically and emotionally. Those of us who chose this profession chose to work in a field where the traditional 9-to-fivers rarely tread. We work when others don’t. We do things that others won’t. We may have days when we wonder why, but we always come back.
Things I love? My shift is never the same. Different day, different dynamic, different patient, different issue. I love the teamwork. I love the teaching of patients and their families. I love the relative autonomy. I love using my brain and critically thinking about issues that my patients face every single day. I love collaborating with physicians and ancillary staff. I love my Dansko clogs. I love all of my coworkers, and I have been pretty damn lucky to work with some of the best. I love nursing students. I always vowed I would never forget what it’s like to be new. I love their enthusiasm and love of learning. All nurses should take a lesson from nursing students. Those are two qualities you never outgrow.
Things I hate? I hate not being able to be in four places at once. I hate having to wait for things, including medication. I hate not having great coffee available every time I work. I hate how loud it can be at shift change. I hate not having functioning equipment at all times. I hate tracheostomies. I hate dentures. Yeah. It’s true. I have this ridiculous phobia about all things denture-related.
I’ll gladly trade my patient’s denture care for your code brown. Any. Day. Of. The. Week.
As I said earlier, it’s not always wonderful, and while there can be shifts that will make you wonder why you chose this profession, I’m happy and grateful that the shifts that go relatively smoothly far outweigh the bad ones. Even the nights I come home feeling physically and mentally exhausted, if I feel as if I’ve made any sort of difference, even if it’s as simple as keeping a patient clean and turned, then I feel victorious.
So, today I’m waxing nostalgic about the time four years ago when this very journey began. So much to learn, so much to continue to learn. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We work hard. We make a difference. We do the best we can every single shift.
When people say, “I can’t imagine being a nurse”, I think to myself,
“I can’t imagine being anything else.”