By: Susan Kieffer
To be a nurse is difficult. This article is dedicated to outstanding nurses around the world working in the trenches; working tirelessly for the good of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones who are entrusted to your tender, loving and skillful care.
Many are asking, why is it so difficult to be a nurse? Is it the job itself, difficult colleagues and physicians or your patients? Here are the 22 questions that might make you realize that being a nurse is a daunting job.
- Make life-and-death decisions for 7 people based on a 5-minute shift report?
- Get berated by a physician for forgetting one thing when you have remembered 100 other things?
- Think about what you are going to have for lunch while cleaning an emesis basis or a bedpan?
- Have to know the etiology, classification, dosage, side effects, contraindications, and compatibility for 18,000 different medications?
- Need to know the significance of obscure lab results and whether the doctor should be awakened at 3am because of them?
- Have to obtain a physician’s order to give a patient a Tylenol but have the authority to float a Swan-Ganz catheter through a patient’s heart to measure central venous pressure and pulmonary artery pressure?
- Coordinate respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiology, dietary, social services, consulting specialists, and wound care nurses for 7 patients but somehow forget where you put your car keys?
- Spend 12 hours on your feet only to be told by your personal physician that you need to get more exercise?
- Own 20 sets of nursing scrubs and own zero sets without a stain on them?
- Have to learn a new corporate computer system when you are 55 years old, and you don’t even own a computer?
- Memorize the menus and phone numbers of every local restaurant that will deliver in the middle of the night?
- Being a nurse, find yourself choosing a personal physician based on how nice he or she is to nurses?
- Go to work when it’s still dark outside and leave work when it is again dark outside?
- Get floated to some random area of the hospital where you have received zero training and be expected to carry the load of a nurse who has worked the unit for 20 years?
- Consider a chair at the nurses’ station something worth fighting for?
- Learn about research findings because the administration taped them on the wall of the ladies’ room across from the toilet?
- Know your patients by their diagnoses and/or their room numbers rather than their names?
- Feel naked without a stethoscope and a pen hanging around your neck? Can nurses survive without things?
- Learn how to take a manual blood pressure in 15 seconds flat?
- Remember your worst nightmare was when you dreamt that the doctor called and you couldn’t find the patient’s chart?
- Feel guilty when you leave your patients for 30 minutes to have lunch?
- Learn to read physicians’ handwriting that resembles the graffiti on the dumpster behind the local Wal-Mart?