So I get a very nice comment from a new nurse-to-be and she asked if I had any advice for her. Oh baby...do I ever.
I will not day something trite and stupid like so many others will tell you. Like "get out now" and "were you crazy for taking nursing" I hate it when people say that crap. If they hated it so much..they should leave. And what kinda way is the to welcome anyone into the field?? Personally, I wanna retire someday and I would like there to be bright, down-to-earth decent people taking care of me and mine when I do.
And that is not to say I love my job with some starry-eyed passion. Frig no. Not every day...not most days even. But I don't hate it. I am somewhere in the middle. You just have to see it for what it is. You have to know you are not going to change the world...but you might make one person's life or death a bit easier. You might smile at just the right time...You might catch a problem that everyone else over-looked...You might just have enough sleep, caffeine and neurons firing to keep someone alive...and you might let someone die when and how they need to.
Let me just say that some days will SUCK. I mean really, really suck. You will walk off the floor and cry all the way home. I hate to tell you that, but you will. Be happy about those days, they mean you are human. Far to many days will go by when you feel like you suck for being "heartless" and letting death and pain be a part of your normal day. You can't take on the day if you cry with every person. You will not get through it.
You will feel like you know nothing. I feel like that some days after 15 years of this career. Asking questions is your best bet. I still do...every day. It might take you about a year in the ICU to feel like you are not gonna faint when you get report and head into your patient's room for the first time. There will be days when you work all day to keep someone alive only for them to die 10 mins before your shift ends.
However, it gets better. So, so much better. You will feel (semi) competent soon enough. You will meet amazing people. My co-workers are some of the best people I ever met. You will develop a very strange sense of humor. And you will be the lifeline for many people.
All of it will work together to be a part of who you are...a nurse. God, I wanna shed that sometimes. So many times I don't want to think like a nurse. I want to NOT look at the guy in the grocery store and admire his veins for an IV. I want to not hear a cough and start diagnosing it in my mind. I don't want to have my kid complain of a headache and I am thinking CAT scans and ICP drains. But I never will stop. It is who I am. Who you will be.
It is a great adventure, my friend. The trip may be bumpy and filled with bodily fluids, but it is worth it. ( though maybe I am just saying that because I don't have to work tonight. hehehehehe) I hope you love it, Elizabeth.