my 20 second failure

disclaimer – this is going to be quite the rant. can’t say you weren’t warned.

i love my job.

i honestly do. as a nurse i am assigned to a new patient assignment on a daily basis. there are never two of the exact same patients…. different diagnoses, different diseases, different complications,  different family history, the list goes on. sometimes i’ll take care of 8 different people within 8 hours – it’s a constant cycle. some people are lucky and well enough to go home, while others aren’t as fortunate.

i’m used to juggling 100 different things at the same time. i have to deal with doctors, physical therapists, phlebotomists, orderlies, the family that has a billion questions, [again, the list goes on] all while keeping my head on straight. oh and i’m supposed to be able to fuel my body and make it to the bathroom in my down time.

sometimes i leave work feeling very accomplished and proud of the work that i’d just done:

[happy to have helped my fresh post-operative kidney transplant patient get out of bed for the first time, or sharing in the enjoyment of my burn patient finally leaving for rehab after spending the last 8 months of their life in the hospital.]

other times, i leave defeated. defeated because even after all the blood, sweat and tears from my patient (and sometimes myself), the hard work, and the dedication to get better – it just doesn’t happen. these are the patients that really get to me; the ones that tug at my heart strings. the families that show up before my shift starts at 7 and are there until after my shift ends at 7:30. the families that pull you away for a second to talk to you in the hall to ask for “your professional opinion” about everything that’s going on. these are the patients that i will always remember.

 as an official member of the rat race with 8 or 9 or 10 or even 12 hour work days, i think we can all say that one rotten interaction with a coworker, a manager or even a remote stranger can turn the day upside down. as a nurse, part of those bad days are due to a disrespectful doctor or an overbearing and rude family.

“oh you’re just the nurse, when is the doctor going to show up??”

“i’m ready for my mom to go back to the nursing home where they actually care for her.”

“do you even know what you’re doing? i didn’t think someone could be so incompetent.”

needless to say…. words like that can turn your day from, “really awesome” to “really terrible” in less than 20 seconds.

we lost my grandfather in the beginning of july to stage IV bladder cancer – the tables had shifted dramatically. losing a loved one – or even seeing them vulnerable in the hospital bed – is never easy.

the man himself, gordy. ❤

go tell your grandparents and your parents and your siblings and friends and everyone else you care about how much they mean to you. try to bite your tongue when you feel like you’re going to snap. 

and be nice to your nurse. as the old saying goes…..

“if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”


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