I don’t work in a hospital anymore, and I don’t put on scrubs every day. Yet I am still a nurse.
I work as a nurse writer, using my knowledge to help patients and nurses alike to deal with some of the more common and/or difficult aspects of the profession. Some of you may have read my work before about the things I have experienced on the floor.
Despite the problems I had and the career changes I made, there is still so much that I miss about nursing. For personal reasons, I can’t go back, but some days I wish I could.
I miss the patients the most. For me, there is nothing like walking into a room and seeing a smiling patient in the bed.
I loved the banter, the trust bond between us when I said I will be your nurse for the night. Of course, sometimes the patients were not smiling and not happy to see me, but they were still my patient.
They were dear to me on a level that is hard to explain to those that don’t care for others. I’m responsible for them, and that is an intimate and sacred trust. I miss that.
I also miss the critical thinking. I do get that in my job as a writer, but the stakes are not nearly as high.
I had a patient who had just started a new diabetic drug. He was diaphoretic, delirious, and acting out.
Yet his blood sugar and vital signs were all within normal limits. I had to decide whether to call for help from a rapid response or see if I could fix the problem myself.
I decided to give him some dextrose. If that didn’t work, then I would call for help.
He came right back, blinking at me like he hadn’t seen me for the past two hours that I was working with him. Although his blood sugar was in the 80s, that was far too low for him, and the dextrose put him back into a ballpark where he could function.
The doctors were told about it immediately, and he was taken off of the drug. His glucose did not go higher than 150, if I recall correctly.
Making decisions like that gave me a little rush. Just the fact that I can recall it now tells you how much that incident meant to me.
I miss this aspect of nursing because it is the type of problem solving that makes you feel like you know your stuff. I knew my stuff, and I helped this patient. That is something to miss.
So often nurses speak of how hard nursing is, and I am one of the voices that talk about the psychological impact of the profession. It can be difficult to be a nurse.
Not to sound corny, but many aspects of nursing are very rewarding. That is what I miss.
I miss those times when we all work together to save a patient. I miss the rumble of the crash cart, the practical jokes about left handed gloves, and patients who think they are funnier than they are.
There are a lot of problems with nursing, make no mistake, but there are so many things in nursing that are great. I miss those times when nursing was great for me, and I hope that you can find times when nursing is great for you.