From The Hearts Of Nurses
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From The Hearts Of Nurses

An insight into the minds of the men and women who care for us at our worst.

From The Hearts Of Nurses

Working in healthcare has set me up to work with quite a number of interesting people. Naturally, I've found that being a hospital worker has it's own personal subsets of ups and downs. We spend time with our patients, and we tend to get attached when they're there for a long time. Depending on what unit you work, you know that sometimes your patients don't always get the happy endings, and instead, you wind up becoming a source of comfort in their last days. It's an arduous job that never ceases to have its own roller coaster of emotions. And so, I asked some of the people I work with to tell me about their personal loves and hates of the job. And some even told me stories that sent chills of familiar horror down my spine.

Nurse R, a med-surg nurse who floats from floor to floor, shared her thoughts:

"What I love about nursing? Getting to know people and provide a sense of comfort during a rough time/hospitalization. It’s great to not only expand my knowledge of disease and treatment but also provide care to those who are unable to do so for themselves. It’s awesome to get to know someone beyond the scope of their diagnosis.

What I dislike: staffing ratios. It’s a horrible feeling to not give patients the time they deserve because I’m being spread so thin. Those who are healthiest are the ones I barely see because I have 6 other people who are one step away from being critical. But I have learned that when I’m in a patient’s room, I try to give them my 100% attention because as soon as I step out of that room, I have a billion other tasks to complete. It’s a shame we as nurses spend more time documenting than providing care. Unfortunately, that’s how healthcare works, and if you didn’t document it you didn’t do it. But overall, I’m happy with my profession, because I get to help people in their time of need."

A common problem Nurses have as workers in any part of the healthcare industry have made similar comments. Staffing is a dire concern, especially when you weigh in the safety of the patient and the ability to spend enough time with them to diagnose the issues. She's not alone in the worry that perhaps something is missing, or someone isn't getting the right amount of attention. But in the world of healthcare, the sickest patients tend to get the spotlight, and sometimes, the only light, of their nurses.

Nurse RS, who also floats, had some similar views:

"Okay what do I love about my job: I love helping people feel better. I love bringing a smile to a patients face especially when they say it has been a bad day. I love when a patient is excited to see me again.

Things I don't like about my job: Charting, when you feel like you are overwhelmed and no one else will help you out, and demanding and rude patients.

What would I tell new nurses: You are never too good to come by a task a patient needs to be done. You will have fulfillment in your job as long as you aren't in it for the money. Don't be afraid to ask for help."

The advice for new nurses is solid. Having worked in this industry for over a year now, I often see new nurses running around too afraid to really ask for help because they want to know they can care for their patients. In doing so sometimes tends to put the patients at risk for issues later on down the road for trying just a little too hard to get on their own two feet. However, some new nurses find that they need a specialty to get their focus in order.

Nurse G, a mom-baby nurse, had good sentiments on working in a labor and delivery ward:

"I love helping families adjust to their new baby, especially when it's a first-time mom. I get to help them get comfortable taking care of a baby and to help them learn how to breastfeed if that's their choice. I also love doing assessments of moms and babies.

My advice for upcoming nurses is to start out in med-surg first. I get it's cool to get right into a specialty, but you don't learn your skills. I've seen many nurses who have only done mom-baby, and they have no clue how to start an IV or get blood work. They wouldn't be able to drop an NG tube if the mom gets an SBO."

Nurse G also brings up a valid point on another end. Some nurses come onto the job running headlong into a specialty without getting the direct focus they need to properly take care of all aspects a patient may need, which is where med-surg floors come into handy with their vast expanse of diagnoses and problems. Patients can range from renal to observation. It provides the greatest amount of experience and usually has nurses chock full of advice and ready to teach.

Nurse AG, another med-surg nurse, is a fledgling on her floor and already has amassed enough time to give sound advice, such as:

"Even though I'm still incredibly new to this gig and I'm still learning new things every single second, the biggest thing I've come to love about this job is knowing I'm making a difference in people's lives for the better. Knowing that little old me had some impact in this world and to its people feels pretty good to me I must say."

Nurse M joins her, although a bit more seasoned, in the opinion of having touched lives:

"I’ve been a nurse just about three years now and I have worked on two medical surgical floors and currently work in an intensive care unit. I have come to learn that nursing was nothing like what I expected. There are good days and there are bad days. But there’s always an opportunity to learn something new and that might be my favorite thing. Pride and ego should never play a role in nursing. And a nurse must absolutely forsake both in order to provide the best care for their patients. A nurse must always be willing to learn, seek help, and ask for another set of eyes.

What I probably love most about nursing is watching a patient improve and knowing that although the medications, steroids, antibiotics, and breathing treatments can be repetitive, it’s still my technique, timing, and diligence that help a patient continue on the path to recovery. And it’s also my sixth sense that can tell the care team when a change should take place.

The body is amazing! But it’s also been amazing to see how certain treatments almost never fail, and the fact that these treatments are sometimes initiated because of my intuition is still sobering to me. And it’s a pretty good feeling. I love working with elderly patients and educating them, especially ones who are open to learning. I have a special place in my heart for the elderly. And the pleasantly confused patients are precious.

But there are days when your patience and safety are threatened. Especially with the patients in active withdrawal from drugs, alcohol, or both at the same time. But you should always try and find the humor in everything... I once had a patient who was going through active withdrawal from heroin, cocaine, and alcohol... I found him on all fours in his bed pooping into a pile of Skittles. Whoever had brought him to the hospital decided it was a good idea to leave him with multiple bags of candy. I still have not craved Skittles since."

And lastly, there's nurse A, who now has a managerial position but still makes sure she remembers to not take a moment for granted and still finds ways to love her job:

"Things I love... meeting new people and caring for them in times of need, the ability to choose your own career path, constantly learning new things, and the growth you experience personally and professionally.

Things I dislike... days can be long at times, the unpredictability of some people’s behaviors- a horror story would probably be a patient I had a few months ago who took herself off her psych meds a few days prior and was threatening everyone’s life and kept ending up in locked restraints..not a group of people I deal with well. - Trachs. I really hate caring for trachs. And advice.. through all of the hard times, in school and at work, remember why you chose nursing and remember that although it doesn’t always feel like it, you are making a difference in someone’s life when they are at their worst."

It's often we forget that nurses are some of the people who see us through the worst times of our lives. They're the ones who care for us, sometimes in embarrassing situations and horrifying scenarios that we would never have dreamed we would end up in. They're the front line, and our advocates who explain things that we can't find the words to do ourselves. And as someone who works alongside them, I notice more often than not, it's the one profession we never give enough credit to. So the next time you wind up in a position that requires hospitalization, remember that your nurses are people just like you, and that they do this job from a place that requires strength and dignity.

Because in a time where we can't find our own, we fall onto their graces. Don't forget to celebrate your nurses during nursing week, May 6th to May 12th, 2018, and give a hug to those who give up their days to spend them at your side.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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