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What Nursing Means to Me

Published April 28, 2016 12:30 PM by Leatitia Coetzee
 

May has nurse's week...so I decided to speak to some nurses about what nursing means to them. I spoke to nurses who are close to retirement and too young, hopeful bright eyed and bushy tailed nurses, fresh out of University. And boy there was a huge difference in opinions. Strange how the circumstances of your work, where you work, how you're treated and have been treated and things you have experienced changes your opinion and the experience you have in nursing.

Some of this already starts in Nursing School. This is where you get your first taste of what being a nurse truly means. You are taught the core principles and values in the nursing world, intertwine that with your own beliefs and somewhere in between you have to find the happy medium to make you the best nurse that you can be.

You gulp up all the information, fight through everything you have to get done in record time, and then you graduate *** Laude...you walk out of nursing school with shoulders broad and proud, head held high, that you will conquer and defeat the evil in the world, that you will be a modern day Florence Nightingale... (pause, gulp, que dramatic music) And then you walk smack into the hands of the Ward Matron at the hospital, and she brings you straight back down to earth. And not in a good way, you crash land like a big Boeing 747. And all your beautiful ideals and dreams go up in smoke.

Be it a good or bad experience, your first true nursing experience always stays with you, it shapes who you become as a nurse.

Then you find your feet in nursing and you establish who and what you are, what your good at and what not. You feel like a nursing Einstein because you feel like you know all there is to know. You love going to work, love your patients and colleagues. And as the years go along, you see and experience things that change you. Your vision of the world goes from rosy glasses to hardcore reality glasses...and contrary to believe this is where everyone changes to either a true nurse, or this-is-just-a-job nurse, or so I am told.

Every one experiences things differently I have learnt, but the way you were raised, your principles and values govern what you are. Rules in nursing as in life is there to keep us on the right path, to keep us out of trouble and to guide-yes you read this right- to guide us, not to dictate or order, to guide us.

Nursing for me started at a young age, where I would see the sisters in their pristine White uniforms and Vails. Gliding along and always having this bright smile and cheery attitude. Never once did I pick up that they did not have time for my million questions, that they had a ton of work to be done, that someone has just passed away and they were saddened by it, or that they had had a horrible day of difficult patients and doctors etc. They always had this aura of serene peace and calm around them. And I told myself then...I want to be that when I grow up.

And after years of studying I am a nurse and I love my job. I have made my dream a reality.

Nursing for me is love with its work boots on. It isn't about me, but my patients, no matter how they are or treat me. Bottom line for me is, that they are in an environment that is scary, they are out of their comfort zone and they are ill. So I treat them with love and kindness, patience and respect...because they could be my mom and dad or my sisters. I was raised that everyone has their own spirit, and I should respect that.

I should not judge someone until I have successfully walked a mile in their shoes for a day. I should be kind and fair, and treat others as I would want to be treated always. If I am upset or hurt, then I deal with it with that person and that person alone, and once it is said and done...it is done. We move on, start over. Never take your troubles to work, everyone will see it, but not everyone will help you, as we are all fighting silent battle in some way or another.

Nursing to me is brilliance in technicolor. It is filled with all sorts of people and experiences. I get to see a baby open their eyes for the first time. I get to close a patience eyes that leave this world for al lifetime with our Heavenly Father. I get to give hope and attention to someone who has lost theirs. I get to listen to life stories...and experience that with them.

Yes and I get to be picked on, bled on, bitten, shouted at, scolded, reprimanded, and of course internal wars at work with colleges...but that is minor to the fact that I get to go home every night and know that today, even for just a moment...

I touched and changed someone's life and to them it meant something, just as they did to me when I was a young bright eyed girls dreaming of one day becoming a nurse in white.

 

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