Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether you like it or not, whisperings of love and dating (and also the coming of chocolate) are in the air. We know that when you’re a nurse, dating can be a bumpy, or sometimes nonexistent, road—especially if your schedule has anything to do with it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In honor of Valentine’s Day (and to satisfy our own curiosity), we touched base with the lovely Marina Dedivanovic, one of the stars of NY Med, to hear her take on nurses and dating. Read on to discover what Marina has to say. If you’re teetering on the edge of the dating pool, she may just inspire you to dip your toes in a little further.
Q: We’re all dying to know—are you in a relationship?
A: Yes, I am. His name is John, and we’ve been close friends for 10 years. We’ve been in a relationship for three years now (on and off), but we’re finally going strong. I’ve actually moved in with him! It’s definitely made a huge difference…less arguing.
Q: So what do you think—is the dating world especially difficult for nurses to break into?
A: I can only speak for myself and from my 10 years of experience as a nurse (who dates!) in a busy NYC ER, but I think this really is true. Being a nurse definitely takes a toll on you. You leave the ER after 12 hours feeling emotionally drained and exhausted. It’s like I have absolutely nothing left in me, and when I come home to my boyfriend, it shows. Moreover, if it was a bad day, any little thing said or done wrong, as well as a disagreement, can really set me off. A nurse’s fuse is really down to the bare minimum after a long day.
So yes—my job as a nurse has definitely taken a toll on my relationships, but I’ve learned throughout the years (and throughout different relationships) that as a nurse, you simply have to leave those 12 hours behind. You can’t take your workday home with you, because it will affect your personal relationships…and drastically.
Q: Do you think nurses encounter a lot of pressure from their significant others to pursue a less demanding career path?
A: My boyfriend loves that I’m a nurse. However, he also sees that my job can take a toll on me, so he will sometimes ask if I’d like to switch departments or work in a less stressful environment. And you know, after 10 years in the ER, it might be time….
Q: It takes a truly selfless person with a giving instinct to go into nursing. Would you say that many of your fellow nurses prioritize work over personal relationships for this reason?
A: I’ve noticed that there are plenty of nurses in my own ER who prioritize work over everything. And while it’s important to prioritize your career, I truly believe that if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t care for your patients. That’s why I try to maintain a well-rounded life—so that I know that the moment I clock in until the moment I clock out, my life is dedicated to my patients.
Q: What do you think about dating within the hospital?
A: My personal preference? Never date within the workplace. It rarely works out, especially if the two of you are in the same department. There are simply too many people involved in your personal business, and it’s such a high-stress environment.
As for nurses dating a resident or a doctor, who wants to have their partner dictating orders when caring for a patient? I simply can’t imagine myself doing this today. Of course, I will never say “never” because you can’t know what God will bring your way, but I love the fact that I am a nurse and my boyfriend is in the music industry. They are such different career paths and I think this keeps the relationship more exciting.
Q: But you have dated within the workplace, right?
A: In the 10 years that I’ve been nursing, I’ve only dated one (HOT) resident. The relationship lasted a few months, but ultimately didn’t work out because he left New York for a fellowship program in Chicago. Now that he’s returned to New York, we’re friends. Even so, that was the first and the last time.
Q: What about nurses dating patients…is that fairly taboo?
A: I actually know a lot of nurses who ended up marrying their patients! I think there is this idea that a nurse dating a patient is almost like an occupational hazard, but we’re all human.
Personally, I’ve had many patients hit on me throughout my career, and I find that it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Especially when I’m in complete work mode, because I can’t imagine breaking out of that mode while still in the ER. I just don’t find that it’s the right environment for flirting.
Either way, it is the responsibility of the nurse to establish appropriate boundaries with patients in their care.
Q: What’s a good way for busy, single nurses to meet other like-minded individuals outside of the hospital?
A: A lot of people use dating sites and apps. Just about all of the single nurses in the ER are on Tinder, Plenty of Fish or Match.com. I’ve never been on a dating site, and I’m not sure if I would be comfortable joining one, but to each her own—right?
Q: For those nurses who are already in a relationship, what’s your best advice for keeping it strong and healthy?
A: I can’t stress this enough: When you clock out, you are stepping out of your job and for an important reason—to return to normal life. Don’t ruin something good at home because of something stressful that took place at work. You simply never want to take your stress out on your loved ones. I was guilty of that in the past, but I’ve also learned from my mistakes. It’s hard, but you have to be a strong-minded person.
It’ll be worth it in the end.