Is nursing too sad of a profession?


If you hadn’t figured it out by now, I love nursing. I love being able to help people every day. When I first decided that this is what I wanted to do in my life, I got a lot of different responses, but one of the most common was, “Are you sure? Isn’t it sad?”  This comment became more and more prominent in conversations once I started telling people that I wanted to be a pediatric nurse. “It’s just so sad seeing those kids so sick” was what I heard all the time from people who had no idea what being a peds nurse was about.

Yes, it is sad. It’s terribly sad. But I can’t think of it that way. If I went to work everyday thinking about how sad it is that these children are so sick, I wouldn’t be able to function. It helps me to look at my job and say, “these kids ARE really sick and it’s very sad, so today, I am going to try to make them a little better, and I’m going to try to make them a little happier.”  That’s what I love to do. I love to make those kids smile. They’re so resilient that despite being sick, you can brighten up their day. Especially challenging are the days when I have kids so miserable I just can’t get a smile out of them. That’s when it starts to get hard.

Even harder so, as I am learning, are the kids we really just can’t help. The one’s whose situation, illness, family dynamic, and medical team don’t agree. When ethics come into play. When you want to be able to do everything to save someone, but legally you can’t do anything, because you’ve been overruled. It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when you don’t agree with what’s going on, but you have to consider all sides, and do what you can do to make life as good as possible for that patient at that time. Keep them happy as long as you can, hold them just a little longer, and pray and hope that when you’re doing all that you can do, that it’s enough for that one patient.

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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5 Responses to Is nursing too sad of a profession?

  1. catlvr4395

    I hear the same thing every day as a hospice nurse. People think hospice nursing is too sad and/or too hard. I consider it an honor to be with patients and their families at the time of transition. I do my best to make my patient comfortable and help the families with their grief. If I can keep my patient comfortable and promote quality family time during the time they have left together, I’ve done my job.

    • Ani Burr

      So true. I think, as nurses, understanding that death is a part of life is a huge part of how we get through our every day lives. It’s a difficult time for families and we get to help preserve dignity and humanity while we help them transition through that part of their lives!

  2. nita

    I have worked with individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities for 22 years. Often when I tell people what I do they comment something like “I could never do that”. My daughter, who is also a nurse in the same field recently gave the best answer I’ve ever heard to that comment. Her husband and I were with her in pre-op for a minor procedure, the nurse tending to her said “I could never do that, you never make them any better”, my daughter replied “They make me better”. Well said!

    • Ani Burr

      That is a wonderful response from your daughter – I think I might have to use it! It’s so true, our patients help us see the world in different ways, and many times, they help us while we’re helping them!

  3. owllover

    I also do hospice care, and I find it to be very rewarding. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping my patients have a comfortable transition and in giving support to their families.

    I have a child who underwent open heart surgery as an infant. She became very ill afterward. Today, she is a bright, thriving 9 year old. Without pediatric nurses, she wouldn’t be where she is today.