Nursing brings out my best

Hemera | Thinkstock + Scrubs

Reflection lately has made me realize something: My patients, students and coworkers see an Amy who is different to her friends and family.

Actually, I think that may be the norm for every working person.

The thing is, my job takes my talents and amplifies them. Really, it is amazing how some stress mixed in with a lot of critical thinking can transform a  person over time. (Nursing students, you’re in for a life-changing transformation!)

For example, I am usually somewhat scatter-brained and unorganized at home. It takes my OCD husband to get things as orderly in my living space as I am normally in my work space. At work I like my patients to be squeaky clean, my charting up to date and precise, and my nursing actions to be spot-on. And I’m really hard on myself when I can’t get my nursing “perfect.” At home, I let things slide.

Then there are my relationships: I  like to stay uber-professional at work, especially around my coworkers whom I don’t know very well (read Doctors). That includes holding my tongue, calling people by their titles, and using SBAR to keep communication about patients short and to the point.

At home and with my friends I am silly, loud, outspoken, and say things that are off-the-cuff. I like to have fun, joke around, be sarcastic–but you will rarely see that when I am working. (Yet, when I do let my hair down at work, watch out!)

So while I am spontaneous, fun and put little planning into my day-to-day life, work sees me as a calm, critical thinker who doesn’t get my feathers ruffled. I try to stay positive at work but keep my personal life private, and I think that has earned me a lot of respect.

And nursing has spilled over into my daily life as well–I am more thoughtful when serious matters arise, I am better with boundaries concerning the people in my life, and I know how to be thankful for the good times at home because I have seen the worse-case scenario at work.

Nursing has really amplified the positive qualities in my personality–and though it has also brought up many things I need to work on, I feel like the profession has rounded me out as a person. All that discipline, hard work, and critical thinking has changed me, and for the better.

What do you think–how has nursing changed you?

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