3 years of Nursing…What Have I Discovered?

Can’t believe its been almost 3 years of Nursing!
These are 10 things I’ve discovered about being a Nurse:

  1. I am a very patient person that also juggles tasks very, very well.
    If you asked my mother, she would say that I’m NOT patient. However, I beg to differ, especially in the hospital world. If you’re an LPN, you’ll typically get 5 patients under your care. That means you’re waking up 5 people each morning, taking 5 sets of vitals, giving medicine to 5 different people. Sometimes you’re helping all five get to the bathroom; and you have to complete these tasks in 2hours. Thats 24 minutes per person, but actually much less, because I got forget to mention that you need to pull those meds out, and document everything. And of course nothing runs perfect…
  2. People are very needy, but I think we all knew that
    When i worked in Medicine, I couldn’t believe what people rang the bell for…perhaps I’ll just leave it at that…
  3. Psychiatry is not as scary or ‘crazy’ as we all make it out to be
    I was working in General Medicine when I decided to apply to Psychiatry; my coworkers shared with me all sorts of feelings they had about that decision; comments like; “oh..you want to work in Psych? Y’know the nurses that work there are a little coo-coo themselves…” Or “Why would you want to work there? We can hardly function when we get ONE patient here that needs to be on psych? Now you’re gonna be giving yourself 4-5 psych patients ALL THE TIME?” And: “You’re crazy, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
    To tell you the truth, I am less stressed working in Psychiatry than I was working in General Medicine. It has been a very positive experience for me; and a much healthier workplace. I loved Medicine, I loved the science of it, the courage and strength my medicine patients had; and I really loved my dementia geriatric patients. The problem with medicine, was that I didn’t have time to do my best work, I didn’t have time to take care all of my patients in even the most basic way possible.
    In psych, most of my patients can take care of their own physical needs; and the unit is set up to the most ultimate safety for them, unlike Medicine where having a Psych patient can be VERY dangerous. I feel safer in Psych than I did in Medicine, I wear an alarm on my lanyard that I can press if I need help, there are no rails in patients rooms, or long call bells and cords, there are no alcohol sanitizers outside of every room, and they don’t have access to sharp items, or items that can be used as a weapon against me.
    Don’t be afraid of Psychiatry, be afraid of Medicine 😉
  4. I’m really not making that much money
    People think nurses make loads of money and have the most amazing benefits. Maybe Registered Nurses, but not Licensed Practical Nurses. I plan on becoming an RN one of these days, so that I can make more money for the same work I’m doing right now. (cue eye-roll)
  5. Medicine, Science and Technology are really, really amazing
    There are so many amazing things that are coming out every month in the hospital world, its fascinating! Never stop learning, my nurse friends.
  6. There are a lot of unfair things we witness everyday
    We see terrible things everyday, things that are not fair, but are the way of a broken world. We see people at their worst. People who have struggled their whole life and just cannot catch a break. People who are sick year after year after year…Take a minute or two to talk with your patients, you can learn a lot about perseverance, strength, and humility.
  7. Healthcare wastes a LOT of money
    Oh yes we most certainly do. Healthcare hires people who have never set foot on a hospital unit to try and help our unit be more efficient. I’ve got a better idea, why don’t we ask for ideas from our front line nurses? New and old nurses. They work there everyday, they’ve got to know some things.
    Also, drugs. Doc orders 0.5mg of… lets say…Dilaudid. Our pharmacy only carries 1mg. So now, we have to cut it in half, and do we save the other half for the next dose for the same patient? Nope. We throw it out. Bye Money.
  8. Working as a team is a must, and can save lives
    Be helpful to others, and they will return the favour. Even, the oldest most hardened nurses will start offering help and advice. Simply, doing rounds and checking on each others patients can help save a life, especially in busy areas such as Medicine and Surgery. Helping Nurse Becky’s patient to the bathroom can prevent a deadly fall. Answering Nurse Ashley’s call bell can prevent permanent damage from a stroke. Responding to a IV Pumps alarms can flag an error the other nurse didn’t catch.
    You’re a team, help each other. You’re a nurse, take care of people whether they’re ‘your’ patient or not.
  9. I’m a pretty good teacher
    I didn’t know that I liked teaching until I had nursing students following me around. I remembered how it felt when I was new, and so I tried to teach them in ways that I understood, answering questions before they even asked them. I’ve been told by coworkers and students alike, that they aren’t afraid to ask me questions, and that I teach them in a way that makes them feel smart, and important.
  10. I really like to problem solve
    Thankfully, Nursing is all about problem solving. And I love problem solving. Why is my elderly patient with dementia suddenly not eating food, but can drink and swallow her tea just fine? Her vitals are stable, except her temp is on the cusp of a fever. She looks tired, but she’s elderly…. did anyone look in her throat? Did anyone sit with her and watch her swallow that tea?
    I love being a nurse, I love problem solving; and I love taking care of people.

What are your nursing anxieties? As a new nurse, or a nursing student, what are worries or pressing questions you have? Why did you become a nurse?



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