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Nursing as endurance test

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on-a-treadmillI’ve been wondering lately when I flipped from embracing nursing to simply enduring my profession. I’ve also thought long and hard about how by just enduring things, I am on the road to burn out. What’s the difference between the two, anyway?
I remember how I felt about nursing at my 1st clinical–I told my clinical instructor I was “passionate about nursing” before even knowing what nursing really was and what it demanded of me. (How silly she must have thought I was!) I endured nursing school–I can’t say that I loved all of it, but I had the hope that when I finally landed in my new job as as a real, live nurse, I would truly embrace the art and fall in love.

Now, at 21 months into my career, I feel a sense of sobriety about my job. There was never a honeymoon period–I went from the stress of nursing school to the stress of orientation as a GN. I fell in like, never in love!

Now, I endure the stress, the long hours, the interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles I encounter, the learning curve…I seem to just simply put up with the whole thing now days. Lately I feel like I don’t even like being a nurse!

The only thing about nursing I truly embrace and love are my patients. Without the daily fulfillment I find in keeping my moms and their babies safe and healthy, I just don’t think I could “do” this job.

I want to like–love–my job, so I’m wondering how to embrace all the other things? For instance, I know that refraining from judgment and gossiping about my coworkers helps me to embrace them more, but I could go out of my way to actually interact with them on a more personal level. I do tend to keep fellow docs and nurses at arms length–mostly for my own protection.

How does I embrace the stress and long hours? I was doing better when I went part time, but I am full time again and am realizing that part time work suits me better in all ways but financially!

And the learning curve–how do I deal with that? Well, I’m starting to believe I am going to have to continue school (I’m on a break) and yes, do some reading outside of work. My patients are increasingly more educated and have been asking questions about their healthcare that I need to be able to better answer–plus, things are always changing in healthcare, and I must keep up! Yet I also need to guard my free time, my family time.

So I am realizing I don’t have all the answers. I do know that I am unable to be the kind of nurse I want to be by just enduring. Embracing nursing is the only way I can survive and not burn out. Nursing is far from perfect, but surely there is a way to love nursing unconditionally–to embrace it fully despite its pitfalls. We shall see!

Amy Bozeman
Amy is many things: a blogger, a nurse, a wife, a mom, a childbirth educator. She started her journey towards a career in nursing when she got pregnant with her first child. After nursing school and studying "like she has never studied before" she entered the nursing profession eager to get her feet wet. The first years provided her with much exposure to sadness, joy and other complex human emotions. She feels that blogging is a wonderful outlet and a way for nurse bloggers to further build their community. Traditionally, midwives have handed down their skill set from midwife to apprentice midwife. She believes nurses have this same opportunity: to pass from nurse to new nurse the rich traditions of this profession.

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