I am sure there are many reasons you can think of nursing from a negative perspective, but today I want to focus on why being a nurse is so awesome. Maybe some reasons you have been taking for granted and didn’t even know it. Some of them will be obvious and some not so obvious. Either way, as nurses, we have a lot to be thankful for, and I am glad to be a nurse.
I think it is great to talk about some of the positive aspects of the profession, so you are reminded of some of the reasons you got into the profession, to begin with. It is funny, as I am writing this I keep coming up with more and more reasons nursing is awesome. Some that come to my mind are not having to do work at home, decent pay, high demand, flexible hours, making a difference, respected profession, and transferability of skills. So, let’s get started on the specifics of each.
Work stays at work – This is a big one and one I see nurses not realizing often enough. For the most part, if you work in the hospital or a clinic when you are done, you are done. I know there are some exceptions, but for the majority of nurses, you will not have to do work or think about it when you are off. You can be fully present with what you are doing in your off time. Other professions such as engineering, IT, accounting, project manager is constantly working on projects and have deadlines they have to meet. This can turn you into a workaholic until the project is done. I am happy with nursing I can go in and take care of my patients for twelve hours and then another nurse comes in to take over my assignment.
High demand – at least this is the case in my part of the country which is SC. I have never had to worry about finding a job. Some of it is luck and timing I will admit. I know other parts of the country are not quite as fortunate.
Decent pay – Nurses do get paid well in my opinion, but our education is also rigorous, and we have a lot of hoops (being licensed) to jump over that other professions may not require. We also are dealing with people’s lives, and that does carry a lot of responsibility and along with that comes more pay. At least it should. We have opportunities for overtime and many other professions do not have this opportunity, and it allows nurses to raise their income if they choose to do so. Just remember to keep your life in balance. It is not all about the money. Your work requirements should be healthy and sustainable.
Flexible hours – This can be looked at in different ways and depends on who is doing your schedule. Where I work we have a small team of ten nurses, and we do self-scheduling, and everybody works together to make the schedule fair for everyone. I would say it is about 95% effective. If you want a day off in the middle of the week, you can have it. You may have to compromise on some issues, but if you want a day or a weekend off, you can have it. You should also be able to choose if you want to work days or nights for the long-term. There might be occasional needs (and I do mean rarely) for working the opposite time of day to meet unit needs. If you are still working somewhere where they rotate you between days and nights, especially if it is frequent(less than a month) and you do not prefer this type of schedule then I would find somewhere with some stability. This will play havoc on your health, and you will not be able to sustain this for long. I promise I can show you the studies to support this. I am sure you know this already. Choose to prioritize your health while you still have that option.
Making a difference – I realize you may feel like you do not make a difference at times, and I can relate to this. Sometimes it feels like you are just getting patients in and out, or running them through the system. Maybe you have been involved in caring for a patient and discharged them only to see them come back in a week later for the same problem. So, did we really help them on some occasions? I think the answer is yes! Look at it this way. When it comes to health, patients have two roads they can choose from. They can choose self-care or healthcare. Depending on the level of engagement from the patient in their health will determine how much and when they will depend on us for their health. Everyone comes to this point sometime in their lives; it is just a matter of when. As nurses, we need to be there to help people when they need our services no matter what might be the reason behind it, even If the patient is unable or unwilling to take control of their health. Realize they will be back for our services again and sometimes in a lot less time than you can imagine.
Respected – in my opinion, nurses are respected for the most part by other professionals and patients. I do run across disrespect from time to time. My thoughts are these other professionals, and patients do not respect anyone for the most part. It is not just you. It is similar to when you have someone tailgating you on the highway, and you start to take it personally. My advice is don’t, if you watch this person when they eventually go around you. You will notice they do this to everyone they are behind. Disrespect is very often not about you but about the other person's internal thought process and how others treated them. The best thing you can do is pray for them and be glad you are not like that. Also, do not feed into them or provoke them. Just respond professionally and let it go.
Transferability of skills – honestly this is pretty awesome. You can go almost anywhere, and you know how to assess and take care of a patient. Not many other professions can say this. You would have to learn where things are located and learn the software, but you can take care of a patient anywhere. At least in a place that speaks English. Other countries you might need to learn the basics of their language and culture to be an effective nurse.
Job stability - I have been in the field for twelve years now and have never felt like I would lose my job or that I would not be able to find one. I know this is not the case for nurses in other parts of the country or if you are just coming out of nursing school. For the most part, I think our job stability is very good, and you have the flexibility to work in a lot of different areas. Our field is also growing. Think about it, depending on where you live they are always building new hospitals to take care of the growing population of people with chronic illness.
Strong foundation – our profession has a strong foundation, and I am thankful for this. Nursing’s foundations are built on caring and the best interest of the patient. I like focusing on the best interest of the patient when I am thinking about positive healthcare change. If you think about the best interest of the patient you will always win and be on the right track. There is a strong nursing code of ethics, and if you have not already read through these, I invite you to do so when you get a chance. It is important to understand what your profession is built upon.
When you think about it, nursing is a great profession. I know there are days when you may question this, but I invite you to remember the reasons we talked about in this article and why you got into nursing in the first place. To recap the reasons to be a nurse, work stays at work, high demand for nurses, flexible hours, making a difference, well respected, transferability of skills, job stability, and the profession has a strong foundation on which it was founded.
I hope you have enjoyed some of the reasons I think nursing is such a great profession. I know I left some reasons out in this article. Share with me and others in the comments below why you think nursing is such an awesome profession. Until next time, stay awesome.
Have a healthy week,