A little over a year as nurse, my thoughts on healthcare and a reflection on my career path

So I recently surpassed my one year mark as a nurse. The path so far has involved a lot of trials and tribulations. I learned a lot and got humbled like a motherfucker. You learn about the value of life and how easily it can be taken away. You learn about the importance of hospital dynamics between staff, something they don’t really teach in you nursing school. You learn that you don’t know shit.

This job has a tendency to keep you on it’s toes. And some days can be as rewarding as they can be downright exhausting. Especially now with Covid, even more is at risk every time I have to go my unit, which has been transformed into a Covid unit. God do I hate dressing up in personal protective equipment every time I step into a room, I hate wearing masks that make it hard to breath and cause break outs, and I hate feeling like I’m in sauna whenever I’m in the room.

I hope people reading this aren’t hoping that I’m going to dress healthcare as a whole with flowers and candy, because I’m going to be completely honest. Healthcare fucking sucks. There, I said it. It’s the truth and I’ve only met a few nurses who actually truly love their jobs. Do I make sure I do a great job with caring for patients? Of course. I don’t slack at work, my license is on the line and I don’t want to take the chances of getting lazy and unintentionally causing harm to a patient. I care about doing a good job. I will admit that I’m still a greenhorn even with a year of experience, and I still have a tendency to make mistakes (luckily it just involves small things like documenting issues).

But do I love what I do? I don’t think I do anymore. I’ve come to the realization in this year of nursing that I fell into the trap of choosing a career because of security and money, not something I truly loved. Had I chosen to do what I truly loved, I probably would’ve stuck with business in college or gone into something psychology related. But no, I picked nursing. Mostly because the money is nice, hospitals always need them, and if you’re a guy; girls love to hear that you’re a nurse.

However, I am still grateful. I have a career that wasn’t taken away during Covid. And I do feel like I make a difference (at least sometimes, because other times I feel like the most we’re doing for patients is just prolonging the inevitable when they’re already at death’s door). And I like knowing that I know how to save a life. But, damn do I not look forward to going to work sometimes. Even on days I’m stressed, I don’t take it out on co-workers or patients. But I see other nurses do, A LOT. It’s a profession that takes a lot out of you. And sometimes you just get tired.

I get it though. The healthcare system can be fucked. And it’s hard for hospitals to be 100% fair to all staff 100% of the time. So we end up with situations like unsafe working ratios. Or patients getting screwed over by the healthcare system. Or burnout, especially burnout. And when you’re a nurse, you’re the middle man, and you work with everyone in the patient’s plan of care and communicate with the whole team to help figure out how to best move forward. This can be exciting, and it can also be tiring (especially when you deal with the angry Docs).

I know that this isn’t my dream job. But it gives me the opportunity to help fund my dream. I’m currently in the works with starting a clothing brand, and I hope to grow it so I can become self sufficient financially. Because god I can’t imagine being a 50 year old nurse looking back at their youth wishing they didn’t take the chance to get out of healthcare. But, even then, I refuse to let my views on healthcare get in the way of taking care of patients. I’ll always do my best to give them my best. At the end of the day, this job is about the service of others.

Overall, I’m young. And I have my whole life ahead of me to do what I truly want. I might not be the happiest in my field, but I know when I achieve my dream of working for myself in the future, that I’ll be glad I went through nursing. Because it has taught me to be strong in the face of adversity. And only very few jobs can really make you feel that way like this one.