Being A Nurse – What I Like Best

Posted by on Jul 25, 2018 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

I was thinking the other day about what I would say if someone asked what I liked best about being a nurse. You would think that after thirty-plus years I would have a favorite thing. So I thought about it awhile and this is what I came up with.

It isn’t just that I can help people and make a difference in their lives.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. That is a big part of why I like nursing, but it isn’t my favorite. After all, I am a caregiver at heart and I do love helping people. There is something so satisfying about knowing that your care has made a difference to somebody. This knowing is a precious gift to the caregiver!

It also isn’t just because it is a great career.

I didn’t know when I started nursing just how great it was! I thought I might like it, but I had no idea that it would be something with which I could support myself. Not only could I support myself, but I could do it on such a schedule that I could pretty much do anything else I wanted to do in life. There are so many types of nursing that you really can pick your schedule. True, there are the 12 hour shifts, but when you are young that is an advantage in many ways. I loved not being at work five days a week. And, as a “PRN” nurse where I set my own schedule in exchange for not getting benefits/not getting guaranteed hours, I could be at any church or family function I wanted to be.  It worked for me. I have often told people that nursing was a job I absolutely loved doing and it made the rest of my non-work life possible.

My favorite part of being a nurse isn’t even that I value being a part of a team.

That is a fantastic thing. Teamwork is vital in nursing. I have worked in places where it was perfect, and in other places where it was more challenging. I can tell you that if the teamwork is present, it is a beautiful thing. It is so very rewarding to be part of a team that can care for people and save lives, all while supporting and working as a well-oiled machine. Those moments are golden.

So, after sharing several things that are wonderful, but NOT my favorite, let me share what is. It is something I have come to realize over the past few years more and more.

My favorite part of being a nurse is the patients.

People aren’t at their best when they come to the hospital. They are sick. They are scared. Their minds are often not clear. They depend on the nurse to make sure they are given the best care they can receive. That is a big responsibility, but also a huge privilege.

I love asking the older ones what they did before they retired. (I had an 89 year old patient tell me the other day, rather indignantly, that he HADN’T retired yet. His wife rolled her eyes.) It puts a different perspective on the person in the bed if you can relate to who they are outside of the hospital.

I also like to elicit stories from their past. I like to think that by asking for their stories, I am able to give them a gift. Someone is interested in them, their past, their lives, accomplishments, dreams. And, truth be told, they are able to give me a gift, the gift of experience, common sense, and perspective.

My patients have taught me how to live. Some have taught me how to die. They show me what is important to them and through this I gain an understanding of what things in my life are truly important, or should be. By serving others I become less focused on myself and more aware of, and grateful for, the people who have given so much of themselves to me.

So, on those days when I get frustrated with too heavy a patient load, the paperwork bureaucracy of medicine today, and the long hours (12 hours aren’t such a great thing anymore), I can remind myself what I love best about being a nurse and why I do it. It is for and because of the patients. The one thing in nursing that never changes.