Wednesday, September 7, 2016

So You Want to be a Nurse

Now that I've been a nurse for a little over a year now I feel very qualified to speak on the subject of being a nurse. ;) So you want to be a nurse? Here's what you should know beforehand.
  1. It's gross.... Don't ever underestimate the grossness of nursing. On that same note though, you work past it. You get better at handling the smells and the disgusting sights of "who knows what that is!" I wasn't always able to handle it and still some smells make me want to join my patient in puking but it does get better. 
  2. It's inappropriate... As a shelter homeschooled child I was shook out of my innocent world by the nursing profession. I've gotten a LOT more at ease with a lot of situations and don't blush nearly as hard as I used to (I'm a really bad blusher) but let's face it... it's still awkward. There's definitely nursing humor which is pretty much never appropriate so learning how to handle that has been an adventure. 
  3. It doesn't just take a caring personality... It takes determination and a lot of support from your family. However, please don't go into nursing unless you have a caring personality... I know nurses that aren't very caring and let's just say they shouldn't be nurses. 
  4. It's stressful... You come home drained and emotionally exhausted. In just one shift you can have one patient crying on your shoulder, one patient giving you a hug and then one patient hitting you... and then if you're really lucky one patient doing all of that.  You never know. 
  5. It's terrifying... Having a person's life in your hands is scary and that never gets old and really never should. 
  6. It's worth it.... It really is. As crazy as it is I love it. Every time a patient tells me thank you I forget about the other patient that just shouted at me five minutes before. 
So you want to be a nurse?

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  1. Great post, Lois, and congrats on having been a nurse for a year now! Seems like yesterday you mentioned you just finished and graduated :) I've only been at it for 6 months but I definitely agree with all of the points you mentioned: it's not easy, you're dealing with people at their most vulnerable/not at their best, ickiness is involved, etc. I would also add somewhere about having a sense of humour. Sometimes a good laugh can get you through the shift (I dunno what department/field you're working at, but I deal with a lot of behaviourals so a good laugh is definitely needed).

  2. Hello Lois, I enjoy reading your blog as I love reading and I am currently in nursing school! Can I ask you a question about nursing school? I am in my first semester of nursing school, and I already have my Bachelors degree. I was homeschooled as well, and I would consider myself more of a quiet person. My clinical instructor seems to interpret this as a lack of confidence. For example, if I ask her questions, she takes it as a lack of confidence. I feel perfectly confident, but she seems to harp on it and it is starting to get me discouraged. For the first time today, the thought of quitting crossed my mind because I felt maybe I don't have the boldness to be a nurse. Did you ever experience this? Any tips to appear more confident or any words of encouragement?

    1. Congratulations on being in nursing school! There will be many times during it that you will feel like quitting. Don't.
      Your current problem seems to me more like your instructors problem, not yours. I too was very quiet throughout nursing school and I'm still a quiet person but actually now practicing as a nurse I feel like I've bloomed and I'm more outgoing. I'm not saying that will happen for you too necessarily but I'm saying don't let your personality prevent you from fulfilling your dreams. My sister is a nurse and even quieter than I am and she is a great nurse and loved her job. Be confident in your abilities and don't let the negativity of people discourage you. I've often been mocked for my quietness and I've had to learn to push past that.
      If you have any other questions I'd love to help you. Nursing is a great profession and I'm sure you will make a great addition to it.

  3. Thanks Lois! I really appreciate your encouragement! If I have questions, I am sure you will be a great resource! May I ask, what kind of unit are you working on? Did you feel prepared for your job after finishing school?

    1. I work on a med-sure unit. I went to a highly rated nursing school and I think it prepared me as well as a nursing school can for the real world but there is just so much you can't experience in nursing school. I felt like I learned so much in the couple months I had in orientation and I'm still continuing to learn more every day. School will give you the facts and will try as best as it can to give you the experience but in reality it can't quite do it all.
      No workplace is going to expect you to totally know what you're doing when you first start out as a new nurse.


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