Ep147: 3 Ways Being a Nurse has Impacted my “Real” Life

I love being a nurse.

I CHOSE to be a nurse after several other careers.  Once I was in to nursing school I worked my butt off to become a good nurse.

Recently, I interviewed NurseNacole on my podcast and was reminded (thanks to her energy) why I love being a nurse.

To me . . . being a nurse is more than being able to put RN after my name.  It means wearing a mantle on my shoulders.  It means that I can be proud of what I do.  It means that I have the knowledge to save a life.  It means that I will sit with patients as they take their final breath.  It means that I will hug moms as they watch their child die. . .

I take what I do very seriously.

The funny thing is . . . being a nurse is a LIFESTYLE.

You never stop being a nurse.

In my previous job, when I left work, I was done.  Yeah . . . that doesn’t work in nursing.  Nursing has crept into every aspect of my life in some way or another.  Here are 3 ways nursing has crept into my life.

Sh** Is Going to Hit The Fan

The most important and positive way that nursing has affected my life is that I have learned that “stuff” happens.  Sometimes really bad stuff happens.

Usually . . . the worst possible thing happens.

During a 12 hour nursing shift it is impossible to explain how many things go wrong.  A nurse runs around putting out one fire after another.  Sometimes its the small stuff . . . other times . . . its the HUGE stuff.

You might go from giving CPR on one patient to watching a previously non responsive patient tell his wife he loves her within a matter of minutes.  You have to learn how to keep your emotions in check and be prepared for when it all falls apart.

This has helped me in life.  I love to set goals and plan for the future however, knowing that things can (and will) go wrong has helped me to appreciate when things are going well.

Prioritize and then Prioritize Again

No matter how much nursing schools try to prepare students on the importance of prioritization nothing can prepare students for the real world.

During the 12 hour shift you will feel like you are drowning and then someone hands you a 45 lb weight. (any Jim Gaffigan fans?).  In a short 12 hours you have to complete 47,354 tasks, while keeping the patients happy, and deal with a new admission.

Imagine going to work and knowing that your first priority is the life or death situation.  This is a lot to manage . . . it’s tough.

Learning how to prioritize takes over your entire life.  I have learned how to organize my life in a much better way.  I rank all my tasks at home from 1-10 if something isn’t a 9 or 10 . . . it’s not important.  This has helped me focus on what really matters in life (family) and let the less important things take a more realistic place in my life.

Cherish What Matters Most

People love to hear medical stories . . . I’m not sure why . . . they are either super gross or super sad.

In my time as a nurse I have seen some of the most heart wrenching things, I have seen some truly incredible things, and some just plain gross things.

The moments that have stuck with me and affected my life the most are those moments when I saw a mom say goodbye to her kids and took off her breathing machine for the last time, the 32 year father of a new born suffer brain death, the  post-partum mom haemorrhage out and leave the father to raise 4 children.

It’s impossible to come home from one of these shifts and not want to give your kids a HUGE hug and kiss.

Most people never have to see these things.  While I feel deeply for the families, I am glad that I have been able to experience these moments and that they have tethered me to what matters in life . . . my family.


Nursing is no joke!

It’s a TOUGH profession . . . but I love it.  It has changed my life for the better and made me a better person.

Have you had an experience in nursing that has changed your life?  Share it with me below.

Where are You in your nursing journey?

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With Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio RN, PhD and NURSING.com.

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