May 22, 2018

Nursing Honesty | Nursing Images & Perceptions


I love nursing, it is a passion of mine. I couldn't do it otherwise, because every shift I'm challenged emotionally and physically. Nursing isn't a profession you can work in auto-pilot mode. When you are at work, you must be present and cognizant. Things change too often for you to be spacing out. I created my blog to help new nurses. Why new nurses? Because, in my opinion, students aren't exposed to what real nursing involves. In nursing school, we learn about diseases and treatment plans. We learn what will be expected of us after graduation. We watch television shows and see advertisements of nurses wearing full faces of evening makeup, doing exclusively what they are told, having only positive interactions, and kissing infants. Nursing can be all those things, but I feel it's much more. With that said, I think the profession of nursing isn't adequately represented in society.

Now, let me give you my bedside nursing background. I work in the adult, inpatient, critical care setting. I've been a nurse for over six years and have been working in multiple hospitals throughout the Central Florida area. My lane is adult, multisystem critical care and I love it. It's filled with crashing patients, dynamic family members, emotional moments, and collaborative efforts with medical professionals. No one wants to be admitted to an intensive care unit, and no family member expects to visit their loved ones there. The intensive care setting itself brings about episodes of outbursts and mixed emotions. Are some days tough? Of course. People aren't admitted to the critical care environment because they "might" be sick. They are sick, probably facing demise. It's not a good place to be, in general. Nurses are the warriors who thrive in this world and manage all these various moving parts. They manage the emotional, physical and spiritual dynamics of everyone involved with a patient. It's a big responsibility and can be overwhelming.

When I post about my work experiences, I get messages from other nurses who are experiencing the same situations. Across the nation, nurses have tough nights and long days at work. I want to hear those stories. I want to learn from those people. I want to see more nurses sharing their experiences and discussing what nursing really entails. Let's educate ourselves on how to manage a crashing patient or what medical-surgical nurses experience nowadays. I want to know what is happening in the nursing field across the world. I don't want fake smiles and stock images photos, and this is why I created my little world here. I wanted to create a place for nurses to get the true picture of bedside nursing. Reality shouldn't be a bummer. You shouldn't get out of training and be utterly devastated by what is really going on. Upon graduation, a certain level of shell-shock is expected. But over the years, I've noticed more and more graduate nurses are overwhelmed by the interplays and level of responsibility nurses face at the bedside. Cute scrubs and colorful stethoscopes are fantastic things, but I didn't get into nursing to merely look "attractive." I became a nurse to help my community. I want others to fall in love with the profession and honestly plays an important role.

When I turn on the news, I often see nurses being attacked or injured at work. It's sad but common. I, myself, have been assaulted at work and even suffered injuries due to my bedside responsibilities. When events like these involve nurses, society demonstrates outrage and genuine concern. They have no idea what nurses experience. I feel that lack of knowledge is related to the nursing community not sharing their experiences more. We work in healthcare, I'm aware of the limitation in sharing what we do. By sharing, I'm referring to education and advice. We can learn from each other and assist our communities is understanding the conditions we work within. I received messages that stated, "Just show cute scrubs and cool nursing tools. I don't need the rest, it's a downer." And this is why changes in nursing conditions are slow. Because most people in the world only see the aesthetics of nursing. They lack a real understanding of what nurses experience and deal with shift after shift. Sharing a bad experience doesn't make you a negative person, you're just being honest. As nurses, we interact with our communities. These encounters are a reflection of our society and social norms. If we don't talk about these events, the veil of nursing aesthetics will continue to be the primary focus. If you're a nurse, please share and educate as often as you can. We are reading, we are listening. Continue to use your voices, and never lose your passion for nursing.