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The significant others of nursing


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Behind every student nurse, there has to be an intense support system.  You don’t ever just “go to nursing school” by yourself! HA! Even though they aren’t with you in class, they will face your challenges with you and have to deal with you after the day is done.
Your family and friends didn’t know what they were getting into when you entered the nursing program. But of the people in your support system, the one who will be in the most competition with your time, is your significant other.

Whether you’re single and looking for the right person to come along, or totally taken already, you’ve got to know that not just anyone can hold up the responsibilities (and deal with the complaining and panicking) of being the Significant Other. There are certain qualities that I think are a MUST for a significant other to have in order for them to survive your nursing school experience.

  1. The Care Factor – You most likely decided to become a nurse because you get a warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart when you help others. But if your boo doesn’t feel that, or worse, if they don’t understand that, then there is going to be a problem. Being a nursing student, and later a nurse, means long shifts of caring for other people. If they don’t understand why it’s important for you to be doing what you’re doing… it’s just not going to work out.
  2. Supportive and Proud – Nursing school is a lot of work, and YES, it’s great to be able to pat yourself on the back when you’ve gotten an A on a test or performed a new skill, but you can’t always rely on yourself for support. Your sweetie has to be there to cheer you on too, to remind you of how far you’ve come, and to keep cheering you on because they’re proud of your accomplishments.
  3. The Strong Stomach – Unless you enjoy grossing people out (which, I kind of hope you don’t), you’ve got to find someone who can handle all your stories. If they flinch at the mention of the word “needle” or turn green when you mention vomit, I hope you’ve got someone else who you can share these details with because they become part of your everyday life.
  4. 90% flexible –  There will be more then one occasion where you will have to cancel dinner plans to spend an evening with your text book, or have to skip movies to a study group instead. So maybe you can switch going out to dinner and a movie to staying in for dinner and some flash card review! Ok, so it’s not the most romantic, but at least it’s time spent together. Either way, plans change, and it’s got to be A-OK with them, most of the time….
  5. 10% inflexible – Yes, most of the time, they should be understanding… books come first. But they also need to recognize when you’re about to lose it, when you’ve studied so hard your eyes are spinning and you feel like your brain is about to explode. In times like these it’s best if your honey knows to tell you everything’s going to be ok, and that you need to stop working and take a break. They need to help you recognize when you’re overworked and how to get your mind off it, help you clear your head, recoup, and get back to work.

Being a significant other in nursing isn’t easy. Let them know what you’re getting into, and what they’re getting into, and if you can both survive the ups and downs of nursing school together, then you can probably survive just about anything!

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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