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10 Things I wish I Knew Before Becoming a Nurse

10 Things I wish I Knew Before Becoming a Nurse

1. That I would get so up close and personal with people

Nurses sometimes know things about their patients that their love ones don’t even know. From assessing for pressure ulcers, inserting foleys, or even asking sensitive questions during an admission assessment…you get all up in someone’s business! I’ve realized that I’ve had to develop skills that help to make others feel comfortable with me rather quickly. Develop a connection early on whether it is making note of the sports team logo on the t-shirt they’re wearing or asking about what they do for a living. It really does help make things less awkward.

2. That I would be the medical point of reference for ALL my friends and family

This includes my best friend, family, neighbor, and random person down the street. I can count how many times a friend has sent me picture of a weird rash on places I’d rather not see. To be honest, I don’t mind this. The hospital or doctor’s office can be a scary place. Especially for those that are not use to being ill. It really does help your loved ones feel more at ease when they know that you will advocate for them.

3. How attractive juicy veins would become

Whether I’m in a coffee shop or riding on the train, I can spot a juicy vein from a mile away. It’s like I can’t turn it off! I know I’m not the only nurse that drools over a plump vein, fighting the urge to slip a 20 gauge in it.

4. That I would feel like a drug dealer

Just when you think you're caught up, its time to give another dose of pain medicine! Sometimes it leaves you wondering if you're doing more harm than good. Ultimately, pain is subjective and we have to do our best to manage it.

5. How amazing and horrible 12 hour shifts would be

I love the fact that I have most of my week to myself. However, those long hours are tough and can leave you burned out.

6. I wish I knew my memorization skills would be put to the test!

Nurses can have many patients at a time. Therefore, you can imagine how difficult it could be to keep up with all their vital signs, lab work, medications, and even trying to remember which snack they wanted. Family members will often call first thing in the morning on a patient you just got report on 20minutes ago and expect you to know what happened overnight. For some, this type of memorization comes easily. If you’re one who struggles with this, writing things down is the best way to keep organized.

7. I wish I knew I would be more than a nurse…

I wish I knew I would also be a waitress, electrician, drug dealer, Pastor, counselor, technology expert and a housekeeper. Although I didn’t go to school for technology, you would be surprised how many times I have figured out what was wrong with the Wi-fi or the TV. Being around so many different family dynamics, there have been times where I had to play a mediator between family members or ask someone to leave for the sake of the patient. It’s all in a day’s work in the life of a nurse.

8. I wish I knew that I might cry in the bathroom…

Nursing is a tough job that sees the beginning of life, the end of life, and everything in between. It is no wonder that the emotional rollercoaster in the world of nursing can takes its toll. I wish I knew that there would be some days where I just need to cry it out in the bathroom then put on a smile in my patients room.

9. I wish I knew that it’s okay not to know everything…

Because nursing deals with people’s lives, it can feel like the world of nursing expects you to know everything. However, even the nurse with the most experience on your unit has something to learn. It is impossible to know every drug and their side effects, every procedure or skill. If you do not know a skill, ask someone to show you how to do it. If you don’t know a medication, look it up. The important part is having a mindset of learning and using your resources.

10. I wish I knew I would need a support system of nurses…

Trying to vent to a significant other or a friend that’s not in the field can often leave you more frustrated. After all, trying to explain all that happened in a 12-hour shift can be overwhelming. In a career that can be so physically and mentally draining, it’s so important to have people you can surround yourself with that understand what you’re going through.

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