I randomly read this post written by an anonymous nurse in 2011 living in who knows where working in what environment I have no idea. I rarely agree with what people say, mainly because what most people say is utterly moronic or unrealistically optimistic, but I do think this nurse deserves some credit. Since so many of my posts are either, a) making fun of dumb people or b) complaining about a career path I chose, I thought it would only be fair to have a brief moment to consider the other side of the coin.
Her first point is a clear reflection of maturity: every profession has its sh*t to deal with so get over it. Coworkers will bully you, bosses will suck, hours will be too long and you will “hate your job.” If you don’t like it, find another job. Her second point involves the administration that nurses complain about so much (i.e., the horrible bosses who used to be floor nurses like you but now have turned into an enemy with crazy, unreachable expectations) — they work in a “broken system.” They can be as powerless as you. The hospital system is f*cked for real but instead of complaining, her advice is to DO SOMETHING about it! Action over reaction — solid advice.
Her last point is fair — nurses are considered a patient’s last line of defense. We are expected to advocate for them in a system that is working against them, to catch the mistakes that other departments may make, and to take care of the “whole patient” (emotional, physical, psychological, and family dynamics). Personally, I think this expectation is ridiculous and the academic setting needs to restructure it, steer nursing more toward “medical treatment” versus “angel of care” (maybe doctors would take us seriously then). But for now, the “angel of care” is a message that nursing school is preaching to baby RNs. This means once on the floor, nurses will be forced to walk in shoes that are way too big for them.
She also mentions patients are scared. That is a true statement. Fear can manifest in horrible ways: anger, addiction, rage, irrationality. A nurse will have to smile through those things and avoid euthanizing anyone in the process — it ain’t easy. She says you can’t take things personally, which is also true, but inevitably impossible. You can not be around illness, death, pain, and abuse without at some point succumbing to the human nature of your predicament — you care. The moment you care is the moment it becomes personal.
All in all, I tip my hat to her message and I am glad she finds pride in her work. However, I still stand by my belief — nursing sucks. What we preach in nursing school sucks. What we expect from nurses sucks (be your own damn advocate, this is a free country, Google exists, educate yourself). What the pay is versus what you have to deal with — not worth it! And I don’t care how scared you are, you have no right to throw feces or anything else at my head, or call me names, or yell at me, or tell me I work for you, or rip out tubes because you don’t want to be in the hospital. Your mama taught you better.