Is it possible to describe any career in 6 words? If it is, what about nursing?
I think I’m up to the task, so here are the 6 real words that define my nursing career:
1. Work. Look, many of us went into nursing because it was our “passion” and our “dream.” Shortly after hitting nursing school, we find that nursing is a work-us-to-the-bone profession. It’s spiritual, emotional, psychological, intellectual, PHYSICAL work. Yeah, it is a good work, but it is a lot of work.
2. Hard. Let’s combine “hard” and “work” here and you get my point. But really, nursing is hard in a way that is indescribable to lay people, doctors, management, the media. And it is difficult in different ways for us all. While I struggle with my NOC hours and some of the ethical stuff I see at work, other nurses struggle with critical thinking, nursing pay, customer service, you name it.
3. Vocation. What I mean is, you are either called to nursing or you are crazy. I personally don’t believe anyone can survive this field if they want nothing more than a paycheck.
4. Beautiful. I see the very best in people all around me, on a daily basis. I see miracles in medicine, I see peace in death, joy in childbirth. Nursing gives me a window into the amazingly beautiful.
5. Heartbreaking. I see the worst, too.
6. Challenging. For me, nursing has been the biggest challenge of my life. I am challenged to care for people with excellence when I am sleepy at 3AM. I am challenged to make life and death decisions before I have even had my coffee. I am challenged to live up to the standard trulyÂ great nurses (think Florence, Clara and Dorothea) have laid before me when sometimes I just want to sit at the nurses station, snack and gossip. I am challenged to value the lives that have been placed in my hands when sometimes even I forget that nursing is not just a job.
What are your 6 words about nursing?