Have you ever considered nursing as a career option? If you answered yes, guest contributor Casey's post may be for you. Thanks Casey for the wonderful insight into a nurse's life.
People ask me all the time ‘why did you decide to become a nurse?’ or ‘what made you pick nursing?’ and, even after contemplating this for 5 years I still can’t give you much of an answer. But what I can do is tell you exactly why I love being a nurse and what keeps me turning up to work after seeing some of the most heartbreaking and undignifying things in life.
1. You’re Always Learning
It’s a bit mundane but absolutely true. It doesn’t matter which section of the industry you’re in – from aged care to accident and emergency – you learn something new every shift. It could be a new practical skill (just the other day I inserted a catheter for the first time) or researching a new illness/medication or even how to fill out a new bit of paperwork; you’ll never go home with something new under your hat.
2. You Really do Make a Difference
It could be big or little, simple or complex but in some way each time you step up to work as a Nurse you make a difference in someone’s life. From helping someone to shower, or go to the toilet, to assisting a woman through labour, whether you think it or not, you’ve made a difference in that person's day.
3. You Get to do Some Pretty Awesome Things
There is a little part of me that jumps for joy every time I get to give somebody an injection, take a blood sample or assist in surgery and yes, it may sound a little sadistic but I promise you it isn't because these all cause distress/pain in others. Plain and simply it’s because it’s really, really cool! I mean, not everyone gets to do that, right? Most doctors don’t even do some of that stuff! And you get to do it all to help someone feel better; what could be cooler than that?
4. You See People at Their Worst
Once again I assure you that I’m not a sadist. No, seeing people at their worst both physically and mentally isn't nice at all but it’s a privilege not many can say they get to experience. A person at their worst usually means they’re at their most vulnerable and not just the patients themselves but their families as well. To be able to help in these situations and to offer some form of comfort, either physical or emotional is a privilege and a wonderful skill to develop.
5. You Work with Some of the Most Wonderful People
I've worked with some of the most compassionate, caring, empathetic, strong, funny, intelligent and friendly people and I've only been in the health care sector for 3 years! You have to be pretty special to be a nurse – be able to take the good with the bad, look death in the face, handle some nasty verbal abuse on occasion, and smell, see and touch some pretty gross stuff – so no wonder it attracts such fantastic, diverse, strong people to the job.
6. You Learn to Deal with Death
I’m probably making Nursing seem very macabre and fraught with sadness but death is a part of life and especially a part of illness and if you’re going to have to face it, what better time than when you have a whole team of co-workers to support you and in a circumstance where you can learn from it. The first time I saw someone die it was a man I’d been looking after for weeks and I thought he was sure to be going home soon, he seemed so much better – and then, after returning from the toilet he simply laid down and never got back up. I cried for about half an hour, but I realised that if I was going to be able to do my job I needed to learn to deal with death. So I went back in there and I talked to his wife and I helped prepare him for the morgue team. I still cry and it’s still upsetting, but by doing my job properly and efficiently I help people at one of the toughest times of their life.
7. There Are Lots of Hot Doctors around
From the macabre to the slightly trivial (yet no less wonderful part of Nursing), you are almost constantly surrounded by good looking doctors! What is it about medicine that attracts the tall, suave, intelligent and decidedly attractive males of our species? I for one do not mind at all. Sure, sometimes it’s a bit distracting but if you’re having a bad shift and you've still got hours to go, what’s better than being able to gaze at a good looking man? Or is that just me?
Sometimes it’s gross, sometimes it’s sad and sometimes you go home wondering why you’re doing this but at the end of the day I wouldn’t change it for the world – I’m learning, I’m witnessing human strength and love and doing some pretty cool things while I’m at it. Think you’ve got it in you? Why not see if Nursing is for you?