Nurses Speak Out!

Nurses state why, if they had it to do over again, would still choose to be a nurse. 

In a poem, story, or simply a statement, read their thoughts by clicking on the links on the right.

 

 

Debbra Barron, RN
Staff Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, UPMC Lee Regional Hospital, Johnstown

Liz Breslin-Burdick, RN
Clinical Manager, Cardiothoracis Intensive Care Unit
, PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg

June E. Bummer, RNC
Case Manager
, Cedarbrook Nursing Homes, Allentown

Kim Carson, RN
Staff Nurse, Progressive Care Unit
, Doylestown Hospital

Rhoda H. Denlinger, RN, BSN
CIS Education
, Lancaster General Hospital

Josie Dodd, RN, COHN-S
Occupational Health Nurse
, Penreco Medical, Karns City

Kimberly A. Fowler, RN, MSN
Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist
, PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg

Kathy Hoffmann, RN, C, CRRN
Director, Ambulatory Care, Voorhees Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital, Marlton, NJ

Kathaleen A. Johnson, RN, BSN
Critical Care Nurse, Cardiothoracis Intensive Care Unit
, PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg 

Nancy Makin, RN
Quality Improvement Manager
, Select Specialty Hospital, Greensburg

Patricia Mars, RN, BSN
5 West Nursing Unit
, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 

Beverly Mueller, RN, PHRN, CEN
Emergency Department Nurse Clinician and Pre-Hospital Coordinator
, Suburban General Hospital, South Park

Debra A. Peter, RN, C, MSN
Patient Care Specialist, Units 7B and 7C
, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown 

Susan Poskitt, RN, MSN
Care Coordinator, Prenatal Clinic, and Obstetrical Nurse
, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center 

Debra Reppert, RN, CRNH
Hospice Case Manager
, Good Samaritan Hospital Hospice, Lebanon 

Faith Savasta, RN MSN
Nurse Instructor, Sewickley Valley Hospital School of Nursing, Critical Care Instructor, Sewickley Valley Hospital and The Medical Center, Beaver

Mary Ellen Tolmie, RN, MSN, CSN
School Nurse, Lafayette Learning Center, Morris, NJ
, Recovery Room Nurse, Doylestown Hospital

Jennifer B. Walton, RN, CCRN
Intensive Care Staff Nurse
, Brandywine Hospital, Coatesville

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Copyright 2004 The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pa.

 

 

 

Debbra Barron, RN
Staff Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, UPMC Lee Regional Hospital, Johnstown

A Silent Thank You

Good morning, my friend, my caregiver
Yes. I'm waiting just for you.
To help me do all those things
That alone I no longer can do. 

You look rather hurried today
Maybe morning report ran late.
Or is there too little staff to meet the need?
Is another day all you can take? 

But as I study your face more closely
I see tiredness as you start this day.
Did you spend a sleepless night with an ill child?
A working mother's price to pay.

I so much wish that I could ask you
About this load that burdens you so.
And tell you that I really do understand
Because I walked in your shoes years ago. 

But my illness has left me silent
So I must talk with my eyes and my hands.
But you respect that I am in here
Always encouraging me to be all that I can.

So you go ahead with kindness
As you gently provide all my care.
Like I'm the only one who needs you.
And that's not true. I'm quite aware. 

I surely couldn't have realized,
During my full and active years,
How much I would depend on someone like you
When my final days draw so near. 

So please let me squeeze your hand once more
To say "Thank You" for all that you do.
My companion, my friend, and my caregiver
Yes, all those things are you.  

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Liz Breslin-Burdick, RN
Clinical Manager, Cardiothoracis Intensive Care Unit
, PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg

 “If I had it to do over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” besides being a mother, I can't think of a more rewarding career.  

I have a different kind of story. I was not the typical little girl who wanted to be a nurse her entire life. I never even gave nursing a thought until my junior year in high school. To be honest, the only reason I went to nursing school was because I wanted something quick. I always thought that I would be a teacher or an astronaut (no, I'm not kidding), but after living through my advanced curriculum in high school, I couldn't even stand the thought of going to college for four years or more. I heard from one of my classmates that Geisinger Medical Center had a nursing school that was only two years long. The school went through the entire year with small breaks, but all I could think of was that I would be out in the workforce in two years. I wouldn't have to go to school for four years. I decided to go into it with the attitude that if I don't like it, I will just quit and do something else.

I started at Geisinger in September following my senior year. I can remember being slightly embarrassed because as we were moving into our dorm rooms, everyone had nursing statues and posters about nursing and pictures, and I had nothing. I really did not share their enthusiasm for the career. I figured I would just see how it would go. The first year of my nursing school was rather bland. We had a lot of courses and some clinical time. It did keep me interested enough to stay for the second year.

My second year, my first clinical rotation was in the ICUs. I can remember that all my friends were scared to death, but for some reason I was more excited than scared. That clinical rotation changed my life forever. The first time I saw an open-heart patient come back from the OR, my heart beat like crazy. I can remember the nurse who was receiving the patient, and I remember thinking, she has to be one of the best nurses ever. I knew from that time on that someday I was going to be the nurse receiving that open-heart patient. My second year flew by, and before I knew it, I was graduating. I took a position at Polyclinic because their critical care course was open to GNs. That was 13 years ago.

Why do I stay in this career? There are so many reasons, but they mostly come down to the people. I have been fortunate enough to meet people from all over the world. They all have different education levels and different professions, however when they are sick enough that they need to come to the cardiothoracic ICU where I work none of that matters. The only thing that matters is that we treat them with a caring, compassionate hand. I am fortunate in my career that I am able to influence many people's lives. It makes me feel so good to know that I am able to help many people and their families during what is probably one of the most stressful times of their lives. I have been a part of people recovering, and I have been a part of people dying. I know that those individuals will never forget me. I can feel proud that I can make a difference in someone's life.

Do I ever wish I had become a teacher or an astronaut (don't laugh)? No, because I teach everyday. I mentor new nurses and instruct them on how to become a critical care nurse. I teach my patients how to eat right, exercise, and decrease stress in their life. In the nursing profession, one gets to wear many hats. I can be a counselor, a confidante, a caregiver, but also a friend. There are so many avenues one can take in nursing. I can't imagine doing anything else.

You probably think I must be in another world. Why do I think nursing is so wonderful when there are so many people complaining about the bad working conditions, and not enough pay and mandatory overtime, etc? I guess I feel this way because if you fixed all those things and hospitals and other places that employ nurses were perfect places to work, it would still come down to the patients. They should be at the top of the list when you decide what career path to take. No one should go into nursing for the hours or the pay or the schedule. They should go into nursing because their goal is to be that caring, compassionate hand. That is really all that matters.

In closing, the other day I got to be an astronaut. Someone questioned my seven-year-old daughter, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I couldn't have soared any higher with pride than when she said, "I want to help people like my mommy. I am going to be a nurse." Need I say more?

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June E. Bummer, RNC
Case Manager
, Cedarbrook Nursing Homes, Allentown

I Didn't Have to Be a Nurse

I didn't have to be a nurse. 

I could have been a poet.
I could have been an artist.
I could have been a teacher.
I could have been a cook.
I could have been a minister.
I could have been a mother.
I could have been an athlete.
I could have been a juggler.
I could have been a fortuneteller.
I could have been a coach.
 

I chose to be a nurse! I choose to be a nurse every day of my life.

As a nurse I am a poet. My words tell stories, describe the indescribable, and speak volumes in a condensed version.
As a nurse I am an artist. I paint a picture of the whole person. I make diagrams, and pictures of things I observe.
As a nurse I am a teacher. I instruct families, clients, doctors, and staff.
As a nurse I am a cook. I concoct potions, puddings, and feed and cajole.
As a nurse I am a scientist. I figure drip rates, assess for drug interactions, investigate diseases and diagnoses.
As a nurse I am a minister soothing the spirit, using healing hands, offering a shoulder to lean on and shedding a tear when needed.
As a nurse I am a mother hugging, making it feel better, giving unconditional love.
As a nurse I am an athlete running the halls, lifting, positioning, carrying charts and supplies.
As a nurse I am a juggler with the ability to hold two phone conversations, direct the staff, and have the doctor sign a pile of papers.
As a nurse I am a fortuneteller asked to say when it's over, what is wrong, and the important question, "Will I be okay?"
As a nurse I am a coach cheering the staff, getting into a huddle with the team, going for the win! 

I do nursing every day. When not at work I am called upon to answer questions about medications, doctors, look at bumps, bruises, rashes, and I love it.

Yes, I could have chosen another profession, but why would I? I have the best of all professions wrapped in a compassionate title called NURSE!

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Kim Carson, RN
Staff Nurse, Progressive Care Unit
, Doylestown Hospital

“If I had it all to do over again, would I still be a nurse today?” Absolutely! 

Let me start by telling you how I came to the nursing profession. I was 17, fresh out of high school, with a father who had severe clinical depression and a strong-willed mother who had quit nursing school to marry my father. My mother informed me that our family did not have the money for me to "goof around" and that I needed to quickly get into a career where I could support myself. Seeing my love for math and science, she decided nursing would be a good field for me. So, being the shy, introverted child that I was, I dutifully marched right behind my mother to the local community college to "become a nurse." I had no idea what a powerful impact this moment would have on my life.

To say I was young and naive is putting it mildly. Academically, I had no problems, but my emotional maturity was greatly lacking. Many times I cried and vowed never to go back. My boyfriend, who would later become my husband, would put me and my books in the car and drive me to school. Approaching graduation, several of my instructors voiced their doubts about my readiness to handle this role and suggested I try other fields, but we were out of funds and I was now determined to prove them wrong. I graduated from college and passed the boards before I was 21.

I, rather blindly, dove into a career solely for monetary support and the desire to prove to myself that I was not the flighty, airhead my teachers thought I was. I was hardened. I had no idealistic ideas of helping people get better or "making a difference in someone's life." As I saw it, life was hard, full of pain and suffering. I couldn't change that and did not want to try. I would find another career eventually or marry someone rich and not have to work. Little did I know that I was about to enter the hardest job I would ever come to love (second only to parenting!).

The first year I worked in acute care on a medical/surgical floor. I matured quickly. I was immediately struck with the realization that the life and potential well-being of others was in my hands. I began to see in me what those instructors had seen. I considered a quiet retreat from the profession. All the while, I sensed an awakening in myself. I was growing up, not just physically but emotionally, and I liked it.

Over the next few years, I began to develop skills that would be useful in so many other areas of my life. I learned effective communication, assertiveness, time management, organization, and critical thinking. I learned how to stay calm in crisis, quickly assess a situation, and act appropriately. I began to really like nursing and had decided to further my education. I wanted to branch out into other areas of the field. I was excited about the possibilities-acute care, long-term care, maybe management, research, education, law, writing, ... they seemed endless.

Right about that time, I became pregnant with twins. My education was put on hold, but nursing served me well during those early years of parenting. I was able to work part-time, maintain my skills, and adjust my work schedule to my family's needs. As a mother, I was able to utilize many of the skills I had learned in nursing. On the flip-side, motherhood helped me to become a better nurse, employing compassion and tenderness tempered with a touch of "tough love."

All along, I was regularly encountering illness, suffering, and death. I began to think more philosophically. I even questioned my religious faith but my experiences only served to strengthen my convictions. I gave a good deal of thought to ethics in medicine. As the years have brought numerous advances in health care technology, I am challenged to be an intermediary between the person and the science.

Nursing has broadened my horizons. It has caused me to focus outside myself and my own little world. It is a profession rich with challenge, emotion, and reward. From exhilarating joy to numbing sorrow are the moments I have shared with patients, families, and coworkers. From awestruck to humbled, I've witnessed the fragile cellular balance we call "the body" and I've experienced the often strong, resilient human soul housed within.

Here I am 20 years later. As you can see, I've come to love what I do. If I had it all to do over again, I'd still be a nurse, but for far different reasons!

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Rhoda H. Denlinger, RN, BSN
CIS Education
, Lancaster General Hospital

“If I had it to do all over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” the job of a nurse offers many rewards.

From the smile of a grateful patient to the feeling of satisfaction after helping with a technical procedure, the benefits of nursing become obvious. As nurses play the role of advocate for patients and work in collaboration with physicians and others in the care of patients, the personal reward of helping others becomes a reality. So, would I be a nurse if I had it to do over again? Yes! 

There are four main reasons I would choose nursing for a career. First, I like being in a profession that helps people. Secondly, I find the body of knowledge gained from a career in nursing helpful in everyday situations in my life. Thirdly, nursing provides many, varied opportunities for a career-one is not stuck in a particular job; there is opportunity for changing from one realm of nursing to another. And finally, the flexibility of schedules offered in the nursing field is a definite plus for those of us trying to balance family life with work life. 

A profession that helps people provides an incentive for coming to work every day. Where else besides nursing is there an occupation that benefits others like nursing does? 

As a child, I was a patient in the hospital for a week, and the seed for my becoming a nurse was planted. As I listened to the squeaky shoes of one particular nurse as she approached my room, I was confident that my needs would be met. So at that point, I was the recipient of care and a seed was planted. I knew that I wanted to do the same thing those nurses were doing-I wanted to help others. After high school, I enrolled in nursing school and the rest is history.

I have been a nurse for 29 years and there have been many rewards. As one cares for others, there are inherent rewards just in the act of caring. But there are those added rewards that come when someone says, "Thanks. You made my day." Or when the patient you cared for leaves the hospital with the ability to cope with his illness. Are all the days good days? Certainly not, but the good days and their rewards outweigh the days of stress.

There's another reason that nursing is an exciting field. The knowledge one gains from being a nurse is helpful in everyday life. As a mother of young children, the first aid skills I had gained from being trained as a nurse proved beneficial as I cared for the scrapes and mishaps of young children. The ability to provide emotional support for my immediate family as well as my extended family during times of health crises was another way that the skills of nursing were an asset in ordinary times. As a nurse, there were times when I knew how to seek out information that others didn't. Family members rely on the expertise of the nurse in the family to provide information and guidance through the maze of the health care system. There is an advocacy role, then, that a nurse plays when dealing with others.

Nursing is not only advocacy for others, however. It sometimes becomes a forum for advancement in one's own career. There are many, varied opportunities for careers in nursing, and the opportunities continue through the years. When I began nursing, I worked in medical-surgical nursing. I took two years off and did a two-year stint in voluntary service in a health clinic. I returned to hospital nursing and worked in med-surg for a number of years, eventually moving into a job as a nursing supervisor for eight years. My current job is computer trainer in the staff development department of a general hospital. And opportunities are still there for more and varied experiences. I graduated from a diploma school, worked for 14 years, then returned to school to obtain my BSN degree. If one is willing to continually learn, the options are there-from acute care nurse to school nurse, from teaching to bedside care, from independent practice to dependent practice. There really seems to be a niche for anyone!

One final reason for choosing nursing for a career is that the flexibility of scheduling works well for many personal situations. Today, more than ever, there is the possibility of flexible schedules in nursing. Does one need time off or a schedule adjustment for taking classes? Most managers will accommodate that. Does one need to work just weekends to handle adequate childcare? A schedule will work for that as well. Weekend work and off shifts may sometimes seem tiresome, but for mothers with young children, working when others aren't working allows for easy childcare arrangements. So, not only are there varied opportunities for practice, there are also varied opportunities for schedules. The field of nursing is a maze of opportunity.

The maze of opportunity continues throughout one's career. There is the reward of being in a field where the theme is caring. There is the practicality of the knowledge gained in nursing for everyday life experiences. There is the availability of jobs in many different arenas of nursing. And finally, there is a flexibility in nursing schedules today that allows for personal needs. If I had it to do over again, I'd still be a nurse!

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Josie Dodd, RN, COHN-S
Occupational Health Nurse
, Penreco Medical, Karns City

“If I had it to do over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” I have received more from nursing than I have given.

I must tell you how I decided to become a nurse in the first place. When I was in eighth grade there was a commercial on TV for nursing in government service. I don't know if I can recall all of the words to the little jingle, but it went something like this: "I know where I am going, know the way I want to live. I just want to help others 'cause I've got a lot to give." As soon as I heard that little jingle I knew that I was going to be a nurse.

Nursing has been very rewarding for me. I have taken care of so many wonderful people along the way. I have been a nurse for 24 years no. I still have people come up to me in the store or church who still thank me for taking good care of them. I really feel great when this occurs because I realize that I do have a lot to give.

I have been working in the field of occupational health for the past 15 years. It is a whole other type of nursing than my hospital nursing, but it is still just as rewarding. I take care of people physically as well as emotionally. I work with so many wonderful people here too. Our employees are just super.

Most people think that nurses only work in hospitals or in nursing homes. Being a nurse has so many opportunities. Nurses can go into so many different fields and still be a nurse. For example, I am an occupational health nurse who works in my own office. I love teaching people. I do a lot of training, so I get to teach. There may be other nurses who love to travel. They can become visiting nurses. Maybe someone likes to be one-on-one with a patient. They can do private duty. Nurses can do and be just about anything they want and still stay in the nursing field.

Twenty-four years ago, nursing was the field of choice for many of us. Today we have a nursing shortage. There are probably many reasons for this shortage, but I still believe that there are many more reasons why nursing is a very rewarding career. Nurses obtain a great satisfaction from their work. Taking care of people, watching them get better, and knowing that you were a part of their recovery is a benefit that is not given by your hospital or company. This benefit is free. It is a standard benefit no matter what field of nursing one chooses to work in.

My husband is a nurse too. So I know first-hand that nursing is a good career for anyone, regardless of gender. It doesn't matter how old you are either, or where you live for that matter. People are people no matter where they are, and people need nurses every day.

If I had it to do over again, I'd still be a nurse today because I love being a nurse!

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Kimberly A. Fowler, RN, MSN
Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist
, PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg

“If I had to do it all over again, I’d still be a nurse today because …” of big snowflakes and silent tears.

It was the night before her open-heart surgery and we were sitting on the edge of her bed. Both of our legs were dangling and kicking, just like little girls. She was very nervous about her upcoming operation and I wasn't sure if my detailed explanation of the procedure and recovery was of any help at all. I was done talking and she didn't have any further questions, but I sensed that she appreciated and needed my company. We sat looking out at the Susquehanna River and it suddenly began to snow. The flakes were bigger than any I had seen before fall from the sky. It was truly beautiful. For a moment I forgot my purpose for being at this place, but then I felt her squeeze my hand. The tears on her cheeks seemed almost as big as the snowflakes. She simply said, "I'm glad that you were here with me tonight".... and so was I.

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Kathy Hoffmann, RN, C, CRRN
Director, Ambulatory Care, Voorhees Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital, Marlton, NJ

Nurses Shoes

If everyone could walk a day in nurses shoes, they would know the loving nature of those who wear them.

Being a nurse means knowing pain and sorrow, joy and happiness, compassion and love.

Being a nurse means giving when you are sure you have nothing left to give. Being a nurse means holding a mother's hand when she looks to you to explain the medical jargon to her, in mother's terms.

Being a nurse means never forgetting that feeling of absolute pride the first time you put on that uniform and signed those initials RN.

Being a nurse is remembering what it is like for a patient to lay in that bed, lonely and afraid, and always finding that moment to comfort them.

Being a nurse is to teach when the patient is ready to learn.

Being a nurse is to cry all the way home and to love your family when you arrive, knowing how blessed you are to have them healthy.

Being a nurse is being the one your family and friends call at 2 am when someone is ill and they don't know what to do.

Being a nurse is to be the one in the family who stays until the end when your parent is dying and afraid, and the other nurses share your pain as if it were their own parent.

Being a nurse is working as part of a wonderful team of professionals, but never losing the human nature that your patients look to you for. Being a nurse means putting yourself in your patients' and families' shoes.

Being a nurse means working while others sleep and sleeping while the world is awake and working through tired like you never thought was humanly possible.

Being a nurse means knowing medications, care plans, feeding schedules, wound care, and performing duties that once would make you sick to your stomach, that you now discuss in the lunchroom with other nurses.

Being a nurse means spending hours on the Internet or in the numerous journals you must read to stay on top of it all.

Being a nurse means not always remembering to nurture yourself, because you are always nurturing others.

Being a nurse means loving what you do, not for the money, not for the title, but for the children.

Being a nurse means getting back what you give tenfold when your patient returns and tells you how much you meant to their recovery.

If you could only walk in a nurse's shoes, you would feel love.

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Kathaleen A. Johnson, RN, BSN
Critical Care Nurse, Cardiothoracis Intensive Care Unit
, PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg 

“If I had to do it over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” there have been many days that my patients couldn't tell me they needed me but, I could see it in their eyes.  

They needed me not only for my critical thinking skills, my ability to coordinate their care and advocate for them, but also to be compassionate and understanding. However, my patients were not the only people who needed me. The patient's families relied on me for information and for comforting. They were most relaxed when they knew their loved one was in good hands. I have many wonderful experiences that I could share with you but this particular story is the most special to me.

Jane Doe was a patient who occupied a bed in our CCU for more than a month. She had a serious debilitating illness called scleraderma or "hard skin." Scleraderma is a condition that involves progressive systemic sclerosis of the skin and internal organs. Jane was on a ventilator for most of her stay in the unit because of the fear of the scleraderma invading her lungs. This could eventually cause her to develop pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary vascular disease due to decreased lung compliance. Jane's general appearance was a fright. Her entire body was red like a lobster and had become thickened and hide-like. Her fingertips and toes had ulcerations covering them. Her face was expressionless and taut. Her lips were swollen, dry and cracked. She could not bend or move.

I quickly observed that people were talking over her as if she was not there or she was already deceased. Jane had an amazingly loving husband who stood at her bedside all day long in hopes she would fully recover. I requested her as one of my patients every day. As I was performing my daily treatments, I would speak to her. I even went as far as to lean over the bed when I spoke with her so she could see my face, and I would smile at her. I always held her hand when I spoke with her so she knew I was aware of her and that I cared. I always told her the plan of care for the day and what I was going to do prior to my implementing the care. I would tell her what day it was and chit-chat with her while I was performing her care. I asked her husband to bring in her favorite music. I turned it on when I could not be in the room. Every day I shared with Jane and her husband the progress she was making. As days turned into weeks, she was starting to be able to move the digits of her hands and toes. Day after day, we would perform weaning trials on the ventilator to see if she could breath on her own. Finally she was ready to come off the ventilator. This was a very exciting moment for all of us involved in her care and especially for her husband. We extubated her and she did great. After the excitement settled down, she said to me, "Kathaleen, I love you." She brought tears to my eyes and still does even as I type this out. I will never forget the difference I was able to make in her life.

It is important to remember that there is someone's loved one hidden underneath all of our advanced and sophisticated equipment. One of our untaught gifts as a nurse is to provide our patients with the compassionate nursing care that could help keep someone strong enough to pull through the impossible. For this reason, I know I was meant to be a nurse.

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Nancy Makin, RN
Quality Improvement Manager
, Select Specialty Hospital, Greensburg

If I had to do it over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” being a nurse has given me so many opportunities to grow and learn.

When I was five years old my mother bought me a book titled "Nancy Nurse," and since that time I knew I wanted to be a nurse. As a senior in high school I was fortunate to know the career I wanted to pursue. There was no question in my mind. To this day I have no regrets in choosing nursing as my profession. The people I've met, the lives I've touched, the things I've learned. What a great career I have had!

I think back on my early years, from a green GN to a seasoned ER nurse to a Quality Manager now, and smile with pride and satisfaction. I know NO other profession where you can learn different duties and responsibilities within the nursing realm. Nursing has opened doors and given me opportunity after opportunity to grow and offered me challenges time after time.

My GN to new-grad RN experience began on a medical-surgical unit, specializing in the genitourinary system. The following year, a new excitement was offered to me, becoming an emergency room nurse. WOW!!!! That is where my heart and soul were for many years. Even when moving to Virginia, the ER was the place to be for me. Alexandria Hospital was very busy and the types of patients we treated and cared for were different and it was exciting. I just kept learning. When I returned home (PA) several years later another challenge was presented to me. I began another avenue in my life and in my career-ICU/CCU/Trauma. WOW!!!!! A whole new ball game within those walls, and indeed another nursing specialty to learn. Amazing that YOU can continue to learn new things.

The rewards of choosing nursing as a profession, a career? Ooohhhhh sooooo many. The patients who get better; the families that you've comforted and supported, hugged and cried with; the friends you've made, wonderful people who share a very important common bond with you-compassion.

Let's not forget the physicians...

Remember the residents who had no clue about medicine? The first-year residents who were put in the ICU for a critical care rotation? A code was called and they lined the patient's room wall, watching with eyes wide and wild with excitement yet terrorizing at the same time. And who ran the code? The nurses. Thank God for us. What memories I have!!!!

Then I took a detour in my career, out of acute care into my next adventure, long-term care. Still yet another side of nursing and patient care. I was responsible for the infection control and QA programs. New challenge, more learning, and great experience. It was this experience that provoked a headhunter group to call and offer me a position in an acute care facility, doing the same duties. That's what led me back to acute care, with of course an additional department, Employee Health. This was GREAT, never the same daily routine. One day reviewing cultures and rounding with docs, the next giving hepatitis B shots and PPDs to the staff. Always used that dull needle for them-at least they all accused me of that.

Then, like so many, a merger! That ugly word! Well, it too brought with it many scared and mixed emotions. We were the smaller of the two organizations, so they were just going to "eat us up." Where was I going to go, what position would I be permitted to continue in? Well, as God has always done, he gave me a window when the door closed.

Another avenue of my nursing career emerged. Information systems...a nurse in IS???? Who would ever believe that? Nursing informatics, as it is now known. I was the clinical team leader in choosing and implementing our first computerized order entry system. That was four years ago. For the past year I am in yet another hospital, Select Specialty Hospital of Greensburg, a long-term acute care facility, LTAC as we are referred to. Here I am responsible for the Infection Control, Employee Health, Quality Improvement, Risk Management, and Education programs. My hospital has the same beliefs and values I do as a nurse. What a match we make. Our employees are fun and giving; my leadership team is supportive and encouraging; and at the corporate level, they haven't forgotten little ole me. Phone calls and emails are returned, suggestions and networking are continuous. It's great to know you're not out there alone.

With all that you've learned about me in these few short paragraphs, I hope you can see the smile on my face and hear the enthusiasm in my voice. This all comes from my life as a nurse. I AM very fortunate and thank God everyday for my life.

I would like to say here that there have been MANY people who have contributed to all my wonderful experiences and opportunities. Great people!! I just want you ALL to know, and you know who you are, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You will always have a special place there.

I can only wish for all of you that whatever career you choose, you too will be as challenged, satisfied and content with your choice as I have been and still am after 22 years.

May God bless you.

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Patricia Mars, RN, BSN
5 West Nursing Unit
, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 

"If I had to do it over again, I'd still be a nurse today because..."

Comforting a dying child and her family in her last moments here on earth. Holding an infant, alone for his last hours. Watching the glimmer of hope erupt into a flame of courage when a mother and father hear for the first time that their precious little girl will be just fine. Stroking the face of a little, blonde-haired boy as he finally sleeps. A reassuring glance, a smile, a hug.

These are just a few of the many moments I have been blessed to be a part of in the nine years I have been a pediatric nurse at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Looking back on my life, I have always been the comforter, the nurturer, the healer, and the caregiver. I was always the one cheering the loudest for the underdog.

As I grew up, nursing seemed to fall into place for me-a perfect fit. People often asked me while I was in nursing school, why I wasn't going to become a doctor. Why only a nurse? At the time, quite honestly, the thought of becoming a doctor was a bit overwhelming-too difficult. Only years later would I understand why I was destined to be a pediatric nurse.

Early in my career at CHOP I was able to be a part of one of the most dignified moments in someone's life: their death. Only through these lonely, and at times scary, moments did I learn to respect nursing as a noble profession worthy of investing my life's work.

I remember one such patient who has forever impacted both my personal life and professional career.

N.L. was an 11-year-old boy going on age 40. He was an intelligent, witty boy with an outlook on life unmatched by most. He was dying of AIDS and knew it. He knew the value of a good life and the reality of death. He did not know one thing however: He did not know how to give up, or stop fighting.

N.L. and his family were deeply religious people. Those last few nights, he and I would have close conversations about God and heaven and death. He spoke with the wisdom of someone much older. He spoke with a clarity and a certainty uncommon in many people, let alone an 11-year-old boy.

In N.L.'s final lingering days, I learned how valuable a dedicated nurse can be. Washing his quiet, still body; wiping his face; changing his clothes; ensuring his comfort; reading his favorite scripture or book; listening and singing his favorite songs; talking to him and waiting for a typically witty response.

And in his final moments, holding his hand, stroking his face, telling him it's okay to go now, that he's loved, and that we'll see him later. And who was there to do all these things? Me-a nurse, and no one else but a nurse. A perfect fit.

I have taken these moments of dignity and several more over the years, and used them to build a strong personal and professional foundation. A foundation that cannot be shaken or broken for any reason.

So when asked if I would do it over again, I answer with an emphatic YES! Without a doubt.

To say I would trade these moments would be disrespectful to all my patients and families. To say I could trade these moments would be an impossibility.

To be reminded of who I am by a 5-year-old child every day is humbling. To be reminded of how valuable I am every day as a nurse is truly priceless.

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Beverly Mueller, RN, PHRN, CEN
Emergency Department Nurse Clinician and Pre-Hospital Coordinator
, Suburban General Hospital, South Park

"If I had to do over again, I'd still be a nurse today because..." after 20 years, I still get a rush when I make a difference in a patient's life.

For example, after a congestive heart failure patient receives oxygen, morphine, and diuretics and can finally speak a full sentence. When the acute gouty flare-up patient receives colchicine and their expression is no longer a grimace but one of relief. When I hold the hand of a little one who needs sutures to allay their fear and anxiety. When I care for a child with croup and they start to breathe without difficulty and I see the parents look of extreme gratitude and relief. When an acute MI patient goes to the brink of death and we bring him back to see his wife, children and grandchildren again. When a grieving widow or widower hugs me and says thank you for all I tried to do for his or her spouse despite the fact that they didn't make it. When I hand a grieving mother her lifeless infant to hold one last time before the funeral home comes to take him. These are the times when I know I wouldn't have any other job in the world. I know I make a difference in this world by what I do every day. What other job could be so fulfilling and rewarding?

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Debra A. Peter, RN, C, MSN
Patient Care Specialist, Units 7B and 7C
, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown 

"If I had to do it all over again, I'd still be a nurse today because...” of the many 'misses' that might have been!

Nursing as a career has provided me with 21 years of very meaningful, at times challenging, yet incredibly fulfilling opportunities! Had I not chosen my career path in nursing, I would have "missed" out on many valuable, rewarding, and sometimes life-altering experiences.

I would have missed out on the meaningful patient interactions that I encounter on a daily basis...interacting with patients and acknowledging that a difference has been made in someone's life by assisting them to live a more quality and healthful life.

I would have missed out on mastering nursing skills that are essential to the patient's recovery...performing skills, such as assessment and clinical skills (i.e., intravenous catheter insertion, central venous catheter management, holistic assessment, medication administration, urinary catheter insertion, sterile wound redress) that are critical elements in the plan of care for the patient.

I would have missed out on the numerous educational opportunities that are available to the nurse to promote professional development...graduating with a diploma in nursing, then pursuing a bachelors, then master's degree and certification in medical/surgical nursing.

I would have missed out on the numerous employment and role development opportunities...discovering varied roles in nursing as staff nurse, associate head nurse, CPR instructor, clinical nurse facilitator, and patient care specialist.

I would have missed out on the precious moments in nursing...frantically searching for my "missing" patient and then minutes later finding her curled up in an elderly man's bed next door, both mildly confused, both sleeping soundly, both comforted with the innocent misbelief that the other was their spouse.

I would have missed out on the collaboration in nursing...interacting with expert health care providers (physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, respiratory care specialists, dietitians, etc.) who share the common goal of planning and providing the most optimal care to the patients served.

I would have missed out on the camaraderie experienced at local, regional, and national conferences...sharing experiences and growing professionally through networking and continuing education, as thousands of nurses gather for the same purpose.

I would have missed out on the many community opportunities that are available to the nurse to further educate the public on various health care issues...volunteering at blood pressure screenings, prostate screenings and health fairs, and speaking to elderly individuals in the community regarding "Successful Aging."

I would have missed out on research opportunities that enhance the nursing care that we provide...participating as a research assistant on studies that attempt to identify findings that optimize the quality of the care that we provide.

And most importantly, I would have missed out on the caring aspect of nursing..."connecting" with the lonely elderly patient who has a story to tell to the nurse who takes the time out of her busy day and who cares to listen, or holding the hand of the patient who is alone and dying from a terminal illness.

"If I had to do it all over again, I'd still be a muse today because... of the many 'misses' that might have been!"

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Susan Poskitt, RN, MSN
Care Coordinator, Prenatal Clinic, and Obstetrical Nurse
, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center 

Oprah: Welcome to the Oprah Winfrey show. Today I have as my guest Sue Poskitt, a nurse from Pennsylvania, who's here to talk with us about nursing. Welcome Sue! There've been lots of stories in the news lately about the nursing shortage, including information about nurses who are leaving the profession. Tell me, Sue, if you had to do it all over again, would you still be a nurse?
Sue: Yes, Oprah, and yes again. There's nothing in this world that I'd rather be than a nurse.

Oprah: You said that with real conviction. Sounds like you really mean it.
Sue: I sure do. I also encourage other people to consider becoming nurses. Nursing is a wonderful profession!

Oprah: Hold on here, Sue. You sound like a Pollyanna (or should I say a Florence Nightingale) who sees only the best and the good in things. Let's face it, nursing is a really tough job. I'm sure you've heard people say, "I could never be a nurse." Take me, for instance. I can't stand the sight of blood.
Sue: I've heard that lots, but then haven't you heard, "I couldn't be a talk show host because I can't stand the thought of all those people looking at me?" I suspect that you do your job, not because it entails being brave in front of people, but for other reasons. Well, in the same way, I don't do my job because I like to see blood. In fact, many nurses, including me, go for days or weeks or months without ever seeing blood. Oprah, the heart of nursing is not blood, but caring. I became a nurse because I care about people and I remain a nurse because of caring. I'm a nurse because I care.

Oprah: What do you mean by "caring?"
Sue: Caring really is the heart of nursing. Nurses, including me, are people who care holistically. That is, we care for the "whole" of people-their physical needs as well as their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. When I nurse I take into consideration the whole person. I really enjoy that.

Oprah: Wow! You make being a nurse sound different than I've always considered it.
Sue: If you're typical, you think about the nurse as the one who carries out the doctor's orders to help you "get better." Well, Oprah, I'm here to tell you that's not what nurses do. Sure, often times we work with doctors in helping patients follow through with the doctor's medical advice-like making sure they get medicine and therapies-but nursing is, oh so much more.

Oprah: Tell me more of what you do as a nurse. 
Sue: I'm a nurse because I like to help people. As a nurse, I become involved in helping people through difficulties that require me to think critically and problem solve creatively. That's the challenge of nursing. The challenge is even greater now because we have to do it with less help, money, and time. But I like the challenge-there's real personal satisfaction in meeting the challenge, coping with it, and sometimes (although not always, I admit) being successful.

Oprah: But lots of professions are about helping.
Sue: Agreed. But very few people are able to become as intimately involved in people's lives at the sacred moments that I do as a nurse.

Oprah: What do you mean "sacred moments?"
Sue: Sacred moments include things like birth and death and learning about a bad diagnosis, or even a good one for that matter. Caring for someone through those sacred moments is challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Oprah: What do you mean challenging and rewarding? 
Sue: One of the biggest challenges I had was caring for a family through the death of their newborn. I had to dig deep inside me to help that family, but as I look back on it, that was one of the most fulfilling times of my life. A very famous nurse pioneer, Virginia Henderson, said that part of a nurse's work is helping someone achieve a "good death." While no one would say that the death of a baby is "good," in that instance I helped the family cope in the best way they could. I really and truly made a difference. That's the reward-making a difference.

Oprah: Tell me more about making a difference. 
Sue: Oh my, Oprah! I think that is perhaps the greatest factor in my choice of professions. As a young person I entered nursing with the idealist vision of making a BIG difference, of changing the world, of perhaps being the Florence Nightingale (or perhaps Cherry Ames) of my generation. Well, I haven't changed the world, but I can say I've made a difference. I've touched lives with love and caring. I've helped heal some wounds-physical, emotional and spiritual. I've saved one or two lives perhaps. But most of all, each day when I walk out of the hospital, I know that I have made a difference in someone's life. The satisfaction in knowing I've made a difference is truly rewarding. Nursing is "good" work in the truest sense of the word.

Oprah: But what about the low pay and the short staffing and the lack of respect?
Sue: I'm not a Pollyanna. I recognize those problems. Perhaps I don't get paid enough, and too often there aren't enough nurses to go around, and we don't get the respect we deserve, but despite all that...I'm still glad I became a nurse and wouldn't change my decision if I could. Nursing's where I belong.

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Debra Reppert, RN, CRNH
Hospice Case Manager
, Good Samaritan Hospital Hospice, Lebanon 

If I had it to do over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” of the rewards and professional status associated with it, the diversity of options it offers, but most of all for what it has taught me personally.

Being a part of the nursing profession has taught me about compassion, patience, respect, autonomy, humility, and faith. Despite all of the technical knowledge that I was taught in nursing school, I can truly say that I only "learned" nursing after that last stripe was earned and put into action. We can learn more than we ever expected to learn through the people we interact with in our profession. Nursing has taught me how to support families in times of crisis and how to be humble when needed. I've learned to me more assertive, yet gentle when dealing with people. I've learned to say things that I want others to know today; for tomorrow I may not have the opportunity to do so. I've been taught how to appreciate sunsets from those who cannot see them. I've seen how strong a person's faith in God can still be despite great suffering and also how quickly one can forget that He exists when He is needed the most. I've seen people who have overcome their weaknesses and those who have allowed themselves to be overcome by them.

You do not need to be a traveling nurse to see and experience what the world has to offer. I've enjoyed interacting with people of older generations who have been places that I will probably never see and who have experienced things such as poverty and war, which I hope to never know. As they review their life and share their experiences, I almost feel as if I, too, have experienced them for myself through their sharing.

I can't imagine another career as rewarding as nursing. What I do for a living truly makes a difference in everyday life. It's a great feeling to know that I was able to assist in relieving someone's pain or calm his or her fear. It's rewarding to witness the results of teaching efforts such as a child successfully injecting insulin into him or her self or an elderly woman changing her husband's colostomy bag. It's amazing to think that the short period of time spent with them truly affects the rest of their lives.

I appreciate the career of nursing for the diversity it offers. I will never forget the thrill of excitement that I experienced as I first witnessed the birth of a child or the chill that ran down my spine as I held the hand of a man as his final breath escaped his body. What other career offers a person opportunities to work with so many different age groups and specialties? My career path so far has taken me from inpatient to home health and terminal care. I find it amazing that next year at this time I could be monitoring a dialysis machine or scrubbing to enter the operating room. There seems to be almost endless possibilities all within the realm of nursing. Advancement is always available as well, if I choose it.

I have spent the last five years meeting the greatest challenge of my career, working as a hospice nurse. It's been difficult, yet rewarding, getting to know a person intimately and then having to say goodbye to them just a short time later. In this field of nursing, as I walk through the doors of their homes, I walk into their lives. Those lives which may include dysfunction and hurt as well as excitement and joy. Through them I have learned so much about life and in doing so, have matured within my own life. "Thank you" and "I could not have done it without you" are phrases commonly spoken to hospice nurses. Yet I feel it is I who should be thanking them for allowing me to be a part of their lives.

As part of my position, I am required to be on call. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I've already caught myself grumbling on my way to a visit in the middle of the night or one that has interrupted a meal with my family. I can even remember promising myself to find another job once my weekend or shift on call was over. It's amazing how my attitude changes by the time that I am driving home. It usually only takes a minute after arriving at a patient's home to remind myself that I am needed and vital to that person remaining home and comfortable. It's a good feeling to know that I took part in the relief of another's suffering, and I am usually more than ready to continue my current work the following week.

Therefore, with all I have mentioned above, would I start over again with a career in nursing? You bet I would. As with any career, there are difficulties such as short staffing, demanding patients and physicians, tired feet, and of course bedpans. But, in my opinion, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. I extend the best of luck to anyone reading this essay who is currently in the process of or considering becoming a nurse. It's a decision I doubt you will ever regret!

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Faith Savasta, RN MSN
Nurse Instructor, Sewickley Valley Hospital School of Nursing, Critical Care Instructor, Sewickley Valley Hospital and The Medical Center, Beaver

If I had to do it all over again, I'd still be a nurse today because…” over the past 35 years of being a nurse I have developed a depth of character and a love for mankind that never would have been realized if I had chosen another profession.

My experiences with my patients, families and other nurses have been instrumental in helping me develop spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and psychosocially.

Because I am a nurse, I have been given the extraordinary privilege of entering into the painful as well as happiest moments of a person's life. Because of this, I have developed strength of character, perseverance, resiliency, gentleness, empathy and compassion. I have been given the gift of helping my patients to live more healthful, fulfilling lives and have helped many of them close their eyes to this world. I have been able to comfort the bereaved family and have come to realize that bereavement is handled in many ways...there is no right or wrong way and there is no magic time limit for grief to run its course. The people who are in mourning need someone who listens with an educated heart and soul.

Nine years ago, I came to keenly recognize how important a nurse is in helping people through the pain and suffering of losing a beloved family member. On February 2, 1993, my life divided into the before and after. It was on that date that I was given the most catastrophic, tragic news a parent can ever hear. My 20-year-old daughter was killed in a horrible car crash. My world collapsed as did my body, and I was taken to the emergency department of the hospital in which I worked. My life was shattered and as I alternately cried and screamed and then fell into apathy, I suddenly realized that someone was holding my hand. I looked up and saw a nurse with tears in her eyes and on her cheeks. To me her face was beautiful. Her eyes seemed to be mirrors into her soul. They were filled with such love, compassion, empathy and sorrow. She allowed me to demonstrate my pain. She listened...really listened. She offered no advice or hollow words. She gave me her time and spirit.

Nine years later, I remember her as an angel of mercy. Ninety years from now I will remember her...this nurse who didn't turn away from my pain and anguish. This nurse who cared and reached out to me without judgment. This nurse (Cheryl) whom I will never be able to repay. She showed unconditional love and caring. She didn't try to blunt my pain with sedatives. She gave of her gentle spirit and by doing so she allowed me to mourn my daughter and helped me bear the unbearable.

She is a person who epitomizes the character and virtues of a wonderful nurse. I am proud that we share the same profession and try to give back to others the gift she gave to me. Indeed, my life would not have been the same if I had picked another walk of life and would not have mended so well without the tenderness and caring of Cheryl.

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Mary Ellen Tolmie, RN, MSN, CSN
School Nurse, Lafayette Learning Center, Morris, NJ
, Recovery Room Nurse, Doylestown Hospital

 “If I had to do it all over again, I'd still be a nurse today because...” I believe in service to others.

Not service as a component of low self esteem, of somehow being unworthy of any other role, but service stemming from a deep respect for life of all kinds and of a value for my fellow human beings. I believe we as a species have a potential to evolve into magnificence. My very small part in that journey is helping a few of us along the path by improving the quality of everyday life. No kindness, no matter how small, is ever lost in this big world.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd still be a nurse today because...of some very selfish reasons. I want exposure to the wisdom around me, present in my patients and my colleagues. I learn strategy from intimate observations of the life battles I see. People wage war with disease and hardship and teach me, through example, about how to be strong and brave when my turn comes. I have been shown how to take care of myself and my family, how to survive, but most importantly, how to LIVE. I have seen grace and dignity in the most deprived and impoverished among us. I have encountered character with the depth of an abyss, in adults and children of all cultures, ages, abilities and disabilities. I am continually amazed at what people can do, overcome, learn and share. Each of us, at the very least, serves as a signpost for others about how to govern our lives. Being a nurse has taught me about what is REALLY important, how to prioritize EVERYTHING, what to worry about, and what to push aside. Being a nurse has taught me how to breathe in the life and beauty around me, enjoy the moment, and take pleasure in simple things.

It is well known that the work of a nurse is difficult. Extremely demanding. Exhausting. It requires your full attention and can deplete you entirely if you are not careful. Yet, if I had to do it all over again, I'd still be a nurse today, even if for a little while, because the potential for intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth is immeasurable, and the opportunity to do good things for others is abundant. I believe these two tasks are appointed to every human being.

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Jennifer B. Walton, RN, CCRN
Intensive Care Staff Nurse
, Brandywine Hospital, Coatesville

“If I had it to do all over again, I'd still be a nurse today because”...oh, brother, who comes up with this stuff?

In the wake of DRGs HMOs, revolving CEOs and other alphabetical horrors of the health care professionals, what sane person with a morsel of intelligence would sign on again, right?

I mean, I could be an accountant with a quiet, orderly workplace. Of course there wouldn't be any patients to compare all those numbers to, no doctors to call and chat with about those numbers, no treatments to change those numbers to better, healthier ones.

Well, may be a teacher-no weekends, no holidays to work. Wait! I need some weekdays off to get all those errands, appointments and crowd-free mall visits in. And all holidays off? What am I thinking?! Imagine all those big family meals I'd be preparing and cleaning up!

I know, what about a pharmacist-still health care, but clean, quiet, safe behind the counter. Of course, counting those pills might become tedious and I doubt those prescription charges bring out the best in folks. Hmmm.

So maybe I need to rethink this. Since any career choices I consider seem to pale in comparison to nursing, could it be that I really would do it all over again?! What has nursing brought to my life that perhaps I haven't ever tallied before? Let's see...

Adrenaline pumping—aw, come on. You've watched ER and Chicago Hope. I really get to "call a code," do CPR, save lives. Nothing like it out there! I like to consider it an aerobic activity too!

Balance—physical and mental. We nurses become adept at moving through and around sterile fields and emotional land mines.

Challenging—different patients, different diseases, improvements, setbacks. Nothing stays the same for long.

Dogged determination—developed in the efforts of keeping patients in bed, out of bed, awake, asleep, whatever it is they need, but don't know they need yet. Patient's determination usually matches ours in a conflicting manner.

Environmental awareness—biohazard, regulations, recycling issues. I don't discard anything without thinking twice!

Flexibility—all kinds of nursing, work environments and hours/shifts. Makes it easier to fit your job into your life.

Gratitude—my job as an intensive care nurse clearly depicts what is important in life and all that I have to be grateful for. Health and loved ones are all that really matters.

Humbling—hey, the stuff I have to clean up some day makes me wish I was on the back of a waste management truck in August. We nurses don't look down on anyone's job, trust me.

Instinctual—some people may believe that nursing is a science, doable with the right tables, formulas and books. The best nurses know that nursing is an art, practiced with instinct. "Gut feelings" count in nursing.

Jocularity—lots of jobs in nursing can be very sad. Humor is our coping mechanism. If we can't find a way to laugh, we lose it and become ineffective crying.

Kilograms—I can help my kids with their metric homework. Can you?And Kindness-knowledge counts for nothing without kindness.

Linguistics—communication is important but often difficult with patients because of their inability to speak, write or perhaps understand English. Nurses, out of necessity, become pros at reading lips, decoding illegible notes and translating gestures.

Mathematics—intakes, outputs, drip rates, drug doses, metric, centigrade. Nurses know their numbers. 

Novices—in order to save our profession, we must remember how it feels to be new, unsure. The best nurses support, encourage and nurture our young and in doing so, become better people ourselves.

Order—in our patient care areas, our stacks of paperwork and our lives, we learn order is important in getting done what needs to be done.

Political correctness—nurses answer to many people—families, patients, physicians, administrators. It is important to know how to not offend.

Quick—quick thinking, quick moving. Prompt responses work to our patient's advantages. We gotta stay sharp!

R & R—nurses that survive the rigors of the job learn to leave it behind at the end of the shift and go home to enjoy their families and their lives.

Sleep—I've worked days, evenings, nights. Eight-, 12-, and 16-hour shifts. I've learned to sleep anytime, anywhere.

Teamwork—nurses accomplish nothing alone. We need to work with each other, doctors, aides, housekeepers, pharmacists, clerks, etc. to achieve the goals. Smart nurses know this and treat all members of their team with respect.

Unusual diet and work attire—we munch M&Ms for dinner, chips and dip for breakfast and consider caffeine part of the food pyramid. Our GI systems are cast iron. Could you look good wearing your pajamas to work? We can!

Vivacious—energy is catching. Even when we don't feel perky, we try to impart great attitude and energy to our patients and their families.

Wage—Yes, money counts for everyone, doesn't it? Although salaries aren't what we'd like, nursing wages allow most of us to live comfortably. And overtime is always available.

"X"cellent—nurses need self-confidence. We sometimes must challenge the most intimidating authority figure, the doctor. We must know we are important and that "we're good".

Yardstick—nurses are required to measure themselves against standards of care. We constantly seek improvement.

Zest—it's hard not to develop a zest for life when your job is helping folks fight for their very survival.

There, I'm finally done. And whoever came up with this stuff—THANKS!

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