The Joy of Being a Nurse

I came home today from a long day shift and it was a pretty good day. I will be back tomorrow so this is just a quick blog post.

I realised earlier that being a nurse in the UK is like being a mother to your patients. I don’t know but this is just my opinion. Eventhough these patients are way older and are considered elderly, I felt like during the shift, I was their mother. It’s because it is us, nurses, who are looking after their overall needs because family members are not allowed to stay overnight at the patient’s bedside. There’s just no space for them to stay in and the bedside is not designed for that. They are only allowed to stay in overnight if the patient is near the end of life.

For the rest of the patients, they are there alone and their family or friends only visit them during the day. So for most of the time, it is us whom they can ask for their needs. So earlier, I felt like I was the mother of my 8 patients, 8 gentlemen ageing from 50s to 90s. Me and the health care assistant that I work with were the ones prompting the patients to do their activities of daily living such as eating, taking medications, elimination and washing and dressing. What’s special with being a nurse in the ward is that you are the go-to person of the patients if they have problems, concerns or if somethings’s bothering them. Pretty much like a mother to her children isn’t?

And these patients are at their most vulnerable state. Imagine how it feels like to be unwell. We get emotional, we cry, we get scared, we feel anxious and think about it if your family member is not there to comfort you. So that is also one of our roles. We explore our patient’s feelings, we ask how they are doing, we ask if they are in pain, etc. These people are at their most raw state. They can be funny a lot of times, they can be grumpy, they get agitated, they get confused and delirious, different emotions and state and I think the key for us nurses to be able to cope with the stressors of our job is to have a strong mind and heart. Not in the sense that you harden your heart or yourself to be able to survive your day. It is about being calm and not losing yourself if you are having a bad day and yet, still maintaining your joyful and kind hearted personality for your patients.

Because as a patient, having an unkind nurse is the last thing that you want to have. When a patient got angry or when you are shouted at, you shouldn’t take it personally but understand that maybe that patient is going through a hard time coping up with his condition. Othertimes, when you appear foolish in front of a doctor or a patient because you failed to read what’s on the documentation. That’s okay… The next time, you will make it a habit to read notes and you won’t assume anymore.

For the longest time, I have been thinking why I took up nursing as my course in college. Aside from the fact that it was suggested by my mother as I cannot decide which course to take when I was in high school, I’ve no other reason why I just did it. I followed the suggestion of my mother because I respect and honor her. It was hard during the years I was in college as I was struggling to pass this course. In the beginning, I have doubted if this is really the career that is meant for me.

Looking back, I am so glad I have chosen this course and that I have followed the advice of my mother. Truly, mother knows best. I couldn’t imagine myself doing any other job in the world. Maybe I can teach in the future, but I love that my foundation was based in nursing. I had tried to work in a fast food chain, call center, insurance and bank industry in the past but working as a nurse has been my most enjoyable and most fulfilling job so far. I am enjoying every shift and I look forward to going to work.

Here is a picture with my mother when I graduated nursing back in 2010. Young people, it pays to listen to our parents because we need their guidance as we go through life eventhough we are now young adults. They only want the best for us and by persevering in our studies or work means that we are looking at the bigger picture. When you look back at life you will say, “I am so glad I have followed my parents, I am so glad I waited, I am so glad I did not give up.” You will have less or no regrets at all.