Nurses have a very highly specialized role in today’s society – they are at the front line of healthcare and are often the main people that we turn to during the most difficult times of our lives. Nurses are there not only to support other healthcare staff, but to care for and look after patients when they are sick or injured, and offer moral and emotional support to the families and friends of those in their care.
There’s no denying that most nurses don’t get enough credit for all the hard work that they put in on a day to day basis. Many nurses work long hours, aren’t paid a great deal, and many miss out on spending precious time with their own families and friends because they’re spending that time at work putting their patients first instead.
And, nurses often face a set of unique problems at work that nobody else will understand. Nursing is certainly a unique career path unlike no other, where no two days are the same and you never know what the next hour of your shift is going to throw at you. For many nurses, the ability to think on their feet, quickly adapt to situations, and not only stay calm but also stay strong for both themselves and the people around them in high-pressure, tough situations is absolutely essential. But all of this is what makes nurses just so wonderful and essential in today’s society.
Aside from the unique problems, there are plenty of other things that only nurses really understand.
#1. Life is Fragile:
Working as a successful nurse means getting comfortable with the fact that life is fragile. It’s inevitable that everybody dies at some point, yet most people only get close to this fact a few times during their life. On the other hand, nurses are people who deal with terminal illnesses, critical life-and-death situations, and death itself on a daily basis and know all too well just how fragile our life really is.
Nurses get to hear all about the stories of people who seemed fine one day only to be gone the next; they witness patients who were going about their day as normal only for a tragic accident to happen, and are usually the first in line when it comes to comforting the families and friends left behind. Nurses may never really be unaffected by death, but their job means that they can appreciate life a whole lot more than most.
#2. Gratitude is Powerful:
One of the best feelings that any nurse will ever get is the one that they feel when a former patient or a relative or friend of a patient comes back to the ward, just to see them and say thank you for everything that they have done. Most nurses go about their job never expecting to be thanked for it, but knowing that somebody noticed their empathy, care and patience can be a rewarding feeling that is second to none. And, for most people who are critically ill or injured, the amount of love, care and patience that they need cannot be provided by friends and family alone so they often need to rely on the nurses who care for them.
The best nurses in the industry are the ones who genuinely care about everybody; they go above and beyond to provide the best possible standard of care even for patients who can be difficult. When a patient comes back after recovering just to say thank you, it makes the nurse’s job even more rewarding. It’s a very powerful gesture of gratitude that nurses understand and appreciate very well.
#3. Listening is Important:
All too often these days, people listen to respond, rather than to simply hear what the other person is saying and be there for them in any way that they can. And for nurses, a very important aspect of being able to do their job successfully is the ability to lend a listening ear to their patients. They must have a lot of empathy and patience in order to provide the best standard of care – being a nurse isn’t always about getting the practical stuff done; sometimes all a patient needs is somebody to sit with them for a while and listen to their fears or worries, and often, it’s the nurses that do this.
Although nurses may not be therapists, they need to be able to listen as if they were. Sometimes, the nurse might be the only other person in the room when a loved one passes away and it’s not just important that they are there to listen to their patients, but also to families and friends.
#4. Nudity is No Big Deal:
For most nurses, seeing nudity and getting closer than most people would with strangers’ private parts is all part of the job, but it’s not one of the many nursing problems that these incredible health professionals face on a daily basis. In fact, nurses learn to see the human body from a clinical perspective and they really don’t notice any of the things that you might be insecure about; they know that everybody is beautiful in their own way and treat every single patient with the respect that they deserve.
After all, there are only so many times that you can give sponge baths, put catheters in and change dressings in intimate areas before you become immune to nakedness – for nurses, it’s just another part of the job and seeing a part of you that you don’t normally get out in public isn’t going to change the way they feel about you.
#5. Comfortable Footwear is Important:
When you’re a nurse, the idea of choosing footwear to look good is no longer a big deal. In fact, most nurses no longer care what’s on their feet as long as it’s comfortable and supportive – after all, most nurses are on their feet for over ten hours per day, and the last thing that they need is pain and discomfort of their own. When a patient’s life is hanging in the balance or the nurse needs to be running between wards to tend to various patients, the last thing he or she needs is to be distracted by footwear that pinches or rubs.
So, nurses certainly know the importance of getting comfortable and properly fitting footwear – for most it’s a work necessity. But don’t be surprised if you know a nurse who loves grabbing the chance to wear their favorite work-inappropriate shoes each day off.
#6. The Joy of Watching a Patient Recover:
Each job has its own set of rewards and benefits and for most nurses, the best part of the job is getting to see patients that they were once worried about beginning to heal and get better. Many nurses strike up friendships with and maybe get a little bit attached to their patients, and while they may miss some patients when they leave, they’re always glad to see them get better and back to their day to day life.
For most nurses, knowing that they were able to play a key part in the healing process of a patient is what makes all the long days, night shifts, and skipped breaks absolutely worth it.
#7. Positive Thinking is Key:
For many nurses, the power of positive thinking is one of the first things that they learn on the job. Nurses have to face a barrage of negative and often sad situations every day; they may be working with young patients who are sick or injured, supporting and calming distraught or panicked family and friends, watching elderly people live out their last days, or being there in unexpected situations or just after a patient receives a serious diagnosis they weren’t expecting.
Nurses know that focusing on the negative isn’t going to get them anywhere in their work, and many nurses have often seen first-hand how patients who think positively can often overcome a situation that seemed impossible. During their career, most nurses will personally witness the amazing power of humans’ will to live, and the ability of the mind to heal the body.
#8. Bodily Fluids Can’t Be Avoided:
Along with getting used to nudity, bodily fluids are something that most nurses are going to have to get used to at some point – and eventually they just become an everyday, regular part of the job. Most people are definitely a little bit grossed out when it comes to coming into contact with other people’s bodily fluids – but nurses come into contact with saliva, pee, blood, vomit, poop, snot and other fluids to various degrees on pretty much a daily basis.
Nurses understand that there’s no avoiding bodily fluids – and while no nurse will probably say that they enjoy coming into contact with them, a little bit of something gross isn’t going to stop them getting their job done and providing their patient with the best care that they can just the same. They know that it’s just an important part of the job and being able to treat a patient who may be embarrassed about their bodily fluids with dignity in the moment is the most important thing.
#9. Insurance is Valuable:
Healthcare certainly doesn’t come cheap, and there’s nobody more qualified than a nurse to tell you that insurance is one of the most valuable things that you can invest in. Nurses have to see and treat many people who do not have health insurance on a daily basis, and often see first-hand the problems that this can cause.
That’s why a nurse will never advise you against getting medical insurance for yourself or your loved ones – they have personally witnessed the distress and anxiety that medical bills can cause if you’re not insured. If a nurse has told you that you should get health insurance, listen to them!
#10. It’s Important to See People for Who They Are:
For some people, it’s easier than you might imagine to fall into a pattern where they end up seeing people for their disease or injury – heart problems, cancer, broken bones, etc. Sometimes it’s difficult to get to know a person when they are going through a serious health condition or suffering with a serious injury because knowing who they are behind all that will be too painful for yourself.
However, nurses often need to dig a little deeper and get to know people for who they are, in order to get to the bottom of the problem. Looking past the ailment is essential to get to know the person for who they are, and this is just one of the many ways in which nurses are able to form strong and trusting connections with their patients.
#11. Health is Wealth:
With a huge majority of people coming into hospital for treatment for food related illnesses, nurses are some of the few people in this world today who truly understand the importance of looking after your health. Nurses see people from all backgrounds coming through the hospital doors and they know that regardless of your wealth or social status, you could still end up in a hospital bed if you’re not taking good care of your health.
That’s why many nurses and other healthcare professionals aren’t just about treating and curing patients – they also understand the importance of treating and advocating for preventative healthcare measures, and it’s not uncommon for nurses to be the first people to stress the importance of proper nutrition and exercise to their patients. Nurses know that putting the right foods into your body, getting enough exercise, staying hydrated and looking after your mental health is just as important as working hard and earning money.
Finally, nurses understand the importance of knowing when to let go. They are often on the scene when loved ones say goodbye for the last time and know that families would do anything to keep their loved one with them. But they also know all too well that sometimes, there’s nothing more that you can do and it’s important to respect when it is time.