You are easily shocked. Nurses hear some pretty messed up stuff. Our patients think we’re part lawyer, part priest, and often they confide to us some pretty confidential information when they’re in our care. FYI – we (are supposed to) chart everything! Nurses are definitely not easily shocked, and have mastered the poker face.
You like having a dependable schedule. Many of us make our schedules months in advance, but we don’t actually know what days will be approved (it is a request, after all) until the schedule is actually published. Try planning your life around that. Oh, you want to know if I can go to your wedding in 3 months? I have to wait to see if I got my request approved. Oh, you want to know if I can go to your kid’s birthday next weekend? Too late, I put my schedule request in weeks ago. You get the picture.
You aren’t a people person. Nurses take care of all sorts of people. You have to actually like talking to and being around people from all walks of life. Nursing is all about people. If we got irritated with everyone we disagreed with, we wouldn’t have a job! So we learn to love a lot of different kinds of people.
You have no empathy. It goes without saying that people end up in the hospital for all kinds of reasons. Maybe they’re smokers and they now have lung cancer. Maybe they have a premature baby because they couldn’t stay off of drugs. Maybe they disregarded any information any healthcare provider ever gave them and now they’re losing a foot to diabetes. It doesn’t really matter what they did to need our care, as a nurse you have to be empathetic and deliver the best care you possibly can.
You don’t like to educate. A majority of nursing is educating and re-educating. We educate our patients about absolutely everything… from how to adequately wash their hands, to the importance of vaccines, to wound care. Teaching begins the moment they walk into a hospital. We verbally teach, we go over written materials, and we even have patients watch videos. And then we evaluate what they learned and repeat.
You don’t like learning. Nursing as a profession is constantly evolving. If you don’t like to learn, you’re not cut out to be a nurse. Things change all.the.time. And sometimes they change back. Nurses don’t blindly do what they’re told, they have to understand why they’re doing every little thing they do. It’s called critical thinking!
You don’t like working weekends or holidays. ‘Cause someone has to work them! And you will have your turn, and no one cares that you want to watch your kids open presents on Christmas Day. For years, my daughter thought Christmas Day was the day after Christmas. But now that she’s counting down the days, that trick no longer flies. So now we just make everyone wake up really, really early…
You aren’t good with computers. Everything is electronic, or going that way. If you are a slow typer, you will need to work on that. If you don’t know the different between a mouse and a keyboard, nursing probably isn’t for you.
You get grossed out easily. The majority of us take care of people when they’re really really sick. So think vomit and diarrhea and wounds that ooze purulent fluid. Most nurses like that kind of stuff. They want to pop anything that isn’t flat and then swab it to see what color the drainage is. We’re that kind of gross.
You don’t like surprises. Above all else, you can’t mind surprises. Because every day we go to work, we have no idea what our day is going to be like, how sick our patient will be, or what kind of mood the physicians will be in. We never know until we get to work if we’re going to be floated to another unit. Nurses have to be flexible, and they kind of have to be prepared for anything.
Until my next delivery <3