My boyfriend is an engineer which means he knows about as much about the medical profession as I do convolutional codes. Over dinner the conversation often starts with, “how was your day?” Most of you can probably relate here. The non-medical partner talks about the meeting that never ended or the inundation with emails. When the conversation is then turned to the nurse, an unfiltered play by play is given of the previous shift or memory. It is a raw recollection that is sometimes neither welcomed nor stomached entirely. Sometimes it borders on too much information, but it is all in a day’s work for a nurse. The following are just a few topics the friends and loved ones of nurses endure over dinner with a nurse.
What is part of our daily routine may sound frightful, even panic inducing to the non-medical person. My boyfriend is not a fan of needles, so even the mere mention of drawing blood has his color change from a rosy hue to a pale, greenish one. I have learned through the years to never mention any procedure that involves inserting any needle in any vein in his presence.
It is usually right in the middle of a bite that the nurse will recall the funniest moment in their career involving waste. As we describe in detail the patient walking down the hall leaving a poop trail in their wake, our dinner guests are setting their forks down in disgust. Nurses learn to stomach any conversation over a meal. Humor us.
No matter what area of nursing one works, there will always be the crazy patient or crazy family member to recall. From the old lady on oxygen in room 105 that insists on smoking a cigarette to the father of a patient who insists on bringing his beer cooler to the bedside, nurses accumulate some truly funny stories along the way.
The Tough Shift
The unfortunate side of knowing a nurse is the day he/she comes home after losing a patient. Even when it is expected, there is still a mourning period every nurse feels after losing a patient. It is hard keeping emotions at bay after a super emotional shift. This is when knowing a nurse requires compassion and understanding.
At the end of the dinner, there may be a few laughs, uneasy glances, or a hug-whichever is appropriate. Ultimately, our partners, parents, siblings, and friends endure these conversations to humor us, perhaps laugh with us, but ultimately support us in our every effort. This one’s for all the supporters of nurses. Thank you for allowing us to vent and for keeping us sane ?
Lori is a travel nurse that has made her way to Sweden. She is also a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher. Follow her adventures working and traveling through Europe in her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.