Whats it like to be a NurseMost people who are ill or injured are grateful to be treated with expertise, skill, gentleness, good humor and tact. We are all at our most vulnerable when we need such aid and being able to offer those elements which help to ease pain and keep someone comfortable is rewarding.  Something as simple as ensuring an elderly patient’s mouth is kept clean and moist can make a difference to them.

The rewards can vary from the pleasure of seeing someone get better and become active again, from knowing you have tried your best to help someone, the pleasure of using professional skills and the sense of working with other experts to the best of your, and their, ability. This is a challenging but very worthwhile career.

What Daily Challenges Might There Be?

Difficulties emerge in every type of work.  When you are dealing with people, especially those who might be frightened, are in pain, resent having to need help because they are fiercely independent, or are angry about what has happened to them, the challenges can be stressful for those caring for them.  Sometimes it might be a truculent patient for whom nothing is done right.

Sometimes it might be coping with your own emotional response to the disease a patient is suffering from and, sometimes, the apparent unfairness of it.  It can be the horrific injuries which happen as a result of road accidents which leave the medical staff wondering how someone can survive such damage. In this case knowing you can make things easier for the patient and set them on the road to recovery is a bonus.  Knowing how to help the body heal itself is a wonderful skill. Accepting that the patient’s body does the work is also humbling.

When you work with people there are always those you find easy to like and those you would rather avoid.  Some patients will be cooperative and some will think they are being clever by ignoring advice and instruction and doing something contrary, generally because they do not understand why they have been given the instruction they have. Some will not be obstructive but will be no help either.  Patients will be a variable as the ordinary people they are. Observing how a patient copes with their problems can fill the nurse with admiration – or not.

Learning how to deal with your responses to others is part of a professional approach to the work. Protecting your inner self needs to be considered and talking to colleagues might help as you find out how they process their daily work responses. A sense of humor helps.

Colleagues can be a variable as much as patients in how they work or cooperate.  It’s possible to find someone very difficult to be with but be full of admiration for what they do professionally as a medical person Perhaps Dr. Gregory House is an example here, if a little extreme. Experienced professionals all have their own way of coping and it’s important to ensure you care for your own well being.  Without that you cannot look after someone else. A well developed, but balanced, sense of humor helps most difficulties.

Nursing is a profession valued by the public even if they haven’t thought about it until they need nursing.  It is a worthwhile and satisfying job. Nursing will always provide challenges, surprises, satisfaction, admiration and companionship.  It offers plenty of novel experiences within a routine setting.  What might start off as an ordinary case might develop in unexpected directions. Working with the patient and other professionals offers something few other jobs do. If this is the direction you would like your career to move in take a look at our comprehensive listing of nursing schools online.