Break Room

“Lessons From a Year as ‘Just a Nurse'” – Did you read it?


iStock | michaeljung

iStock | michaeljung

Kateri Allard, an RN and blogger for The Huffington Post, recently wrote an article where she detailed lessons she’s learned over the past year from her fellow nurses.

The inspirational and sweet story outlines many lessons we know you’ll identify with, and we couldn’t wait to share it with you and hear your thoughts!

Some excerpts from the piece:

Don’t cry over spilled…

Poop. They say don’t cry over spilled milk, but I have worked in NICUs and PICUs and I can tell you that a drop, an ounce, a whole frozen milksicle of hard-earned maternal breast milk is certainly worth crying over. I’ve learned to grip that stuff like the world’s last Faberge egg, heart racing at the very thought of it slipping from my hands to the floor. The perfect details of someone’s handiwork shattering around my Dansko clogs, the whole world in that instant painfully and resentfully aware of the negligent mistake I have made.

I have learned that my day often, if not consistently, does not go as planned. It isn’t worth my tears, though, or even my disappointment. Learning to go with the flow has been a valuable lesson that has come closer and closer to home in the larger and busier units I have worked on. More so, watching the nurses who have burned out early vs. those with impressive staying power seems to be highly correlated with their ability to let things go without getting bent out of shape over it. So don’t cry over the poop, the sputum, the Dilaudid you just dropped on the floor…but never, ever, ever drop the breast milk!

What’s gonna work? Teamwork!

This is the chorus of a theme song on a children’s cartoon. Working in pediatrics, it seemed to always be playing in the background in all of the moments when I needed the reminder the most.

I have learned that I am never, ever alone. In a code, I have had team members already helping out before I have even found my voice to yell for their assistance. The moment before I have become tired from compressions, a resident or other nurse has tapped my shoulder and seamlessly taken over. When my patient has passed, and I have felt the sinking loneliness of failure, I have felt more supported and surrounded as each and every person has checked in, asking if I am okay. The charge nurse has sent me away for a deep breath and cold water on my face, and I have returned to a fellow nurse compiling my notes to ease the overwhelming task of documenting the precipitating events in time to accept my next patient.

Talk to Me

We nurses are desperate to be understood but fall short of fixing the problem, so pick your head up, stop whining about long shifts, sore feet, and stunted emotions that come from the work you have chosen to do. Instead, find a way to share the pride you have in what you do.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post and then, in the comments below, share your own lessons learned from your fellow nurses over the course of the past year (or your career overall)!

Scrubs Editor
The Scrubs Staff would love to hear your ideas for stories! Please submit your articles or story ideas to us here.

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