Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be - A Nurse

I have a love hate relationship with my job. I am a registered nurse working the emergency department of a very busy teaching hospital. I rarely get breaks, I'm run off my feet most days and that is how I like it, makes the shift go by quicker. I thrive in chaos (as you will be able to tell from my personal life), and am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. But every once in a while I get to the point where I don't think I can go in another day - and keep my sanity.

I have just gotten off my fourth night shift in a row, and thank God I am off now for 5 days. My last two shifts were probably some of the worst shifts I have ever worked. We were short staffed (as per usual) and the place was a zoo. I don't think I have ever seen so many traumas in such a short time span, and unfortunately our success rate wasn't high. Right now, I feel drained, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Myself and my team failed, not at a game but with peoples lives, this has to be one of the worst feelings I have ever felt. I got into this profession to help people, and these last few days I feel like I entered the wrong profession.

I think one of the worst parts of my job is being underappreciated. People are extremely hard to please, and very unwilling to see beyond their own circumstance. I will get belittled and scolded by a patient and their family for not answering their request for water sooner, but the reason I didn't was because I was preforming CPR on a young mother as her husband and children watched on, saying prayers for her life. Talk about being unfair. And these days the words "thank you" come very rarely.

BUT, there are some pretty amazing things about being a nurse. I love meeting new people, seeing new things. And there is always that saving a life thing, yeah that feels pretty good! But really what it is, is that one person that you meet, that you can help, that touches a part of your soul. I have people that I have nursed and I will never forget them. I like being able to provide comfort to someone in a seemingly helpless situation, and seeing a positive outcome. It doesn't always take much to comfort somebody, a kind word, a friendly smile, a hug, or it could just be listening to someone and really hearing them. And when I hear the words thank you, and see that that they truly do mean it, it makes all the crappy parts of my job worth it. I think people need to start looking beyond themselves and start having a little more understanding and compassion for the people that they are sharing this world with.

So yes I have had a rough couple shifts, but just sitting down to write this makes me realize how much I really love being a nurse. I know that I have entered the profession suited for me. I will take these few days to recharge and look forward to my next chaotic, hectic day in the ER.

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