What is being a nurse really like?


Ryan McVay | Thinkstock

Some TV shows would have you believe that a nurse’s sole function is to be a hospital handmaiden. But nursing is so much more than dispensing meds and cleaning up Code Browns. So what’s it really like being a nurse?



What is being a nurse really like?

  • It’s like walking a tightrope with your hands in your pockets. You must do this, that and the other, without unbalancing the act.
  • Nurses get to see so many things, patients come in hurt, afraid and vulnerable, or angry, confrontational and manipulative, and everything in between.
  • We do the best that we can with the resources we have.
  • We listen, we cheer, we encourage, we set limits, we admonish and we educate.
  • We hear ways to use cuss words we never knew existed.
  • We get to listen to stories of people who have been married 60 years and how they met.
  • We learn about family feuds and dysfunction.
  • We listen to young children’s fears and teenagers’ anguish,
  • Sometimes they are wrapped up in anger and defiance, so we have to be detectives and counselors.
  • We pull people from the edge of death, and sometimes they live, and sometimes they just exist, in a bruised and battered body with no real knowledge of where they are.
  • We feel frustration and hope, anger and joy, and all the little points in between.
  • We do our job and beyond.
  • We care, and we believe, we give and we receive, we comfort and we pray, and we work as a team to heal.
  • We are the eyes and ears of not only the physicians, but the families who cannot be there.
  • We navigate the HIPAA laws…or try to, even through the angry phone calls.
  • We get to hold the hand of the dying as they transition beyond this life and we hold the babies, gently, tenderly and guide them into this one.
  • We get to do so many, many things, be intimate with one person at a time, we change them and they change us.
  • Acknowledged sometimes, scolded, hit, cursed and called names at other times.
  • It is hard, physically, emotionally, mentally.
  • It is tearing down and building up.
  • To be a nurse…it is life-changing. And I am blessed.

Written by Nurse Sherri ‘Peppi’ Launius-Pepitone

Scrubs Contributor
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