For me, being a nurse is about caring for others. We see people at their worst. Nurses take directions from doctors to literally nurse people back to health, or at least a more manageable state of living. I became a nurse after being a patient. I enjoy helping people get back to health.
Some people think the worst part of the job is when people don’t get better. That is a rough part of the job, but it isn’t the worst thing. I found being with people as they accept their fate and succumb and die is not the worst part. It is pretty bad. A close second to that is when a patient dies unexpectedly. I don’t like it when everyone gets it wrong and someone who should be getting better dies without warning. I really hate that, but it is not the hardest part of the job.
Making a mistake is also one of the worst things ever when you are a nurse. I have never felt so low or worthless as when I made a mistake. There are a lot of fail-safes in nursing. The good news is that it gets harder to make a mistake with every new policy or system.
On a fully staffed day, a mistake would be almost hard to make. It happens that sometimes a nurse is rushed, being pulled in too many directions, and doesn’t double check something. Wrong dose, wrong patient, wrong medication, wrong route, and/or wrong time. Every nurse makes a mistake. How you handle that mistake is what makes you a great nurse, or a shitty one.
In my opinion, the hardest part of the job is taking care of someone you really don’t like. I like to think I can sympathize with anyone. That just isn’t true. When you like someone, it is easy to empathize with them. I find that empathy is hard to muster when the person you are taking care of is just hard to care about. Most people are easy to like, regardless of how they feel about me. If I like someone, I want to take care of them. They don’t have to like me. Liking me is not required. I need to like them, or something about them, in order to want to take care of them. Taking care of someone when you don’t want to is really difficult. For me, it is the hardest part of the job.
I have found some good ways to deal with this. Sometimes just talking to the patient helps. I might have to dig deep to find a small connection and that is usually all I need to like someone. Dissecting what it is I don’t like helps me to figure out if it is me or them. If it is me, I see it as a chance to grow as a person. Challenge accepted! This patient presents me with a chance to become a even better nurse.
Liking the the unlikable is a skill not everyone wants to have. I work with people, so I want to like everyone I take of. If it is them, I go back to the beginning. Sometimes I find a nurse that does like that person and talk to them about it. Usually they have found some connection and I can build off of that. If all else fails, I try to keep in mind that the job is one of the most important things in the world. Hopefully once this person feels better they will be easier to like. I keep caring for them, even if I don’t want to, in the hopes that they will feel better. People are usually nicer when they know the person nursing them cares about how they feel. Once again, challenge accepted!
What is the hardest part of your job?