I once had a friend who had a number of medical issues as a child. Growing up, she was in and out of hospital, undergoing surgery after surgery. She’s better now, but interestingly, once she had recovered she decided to study nursing and now works as a registered nurse at a children’s hospital.
I suppose she understood the true meaning of patient gratitude. Her ability to truly empathize with patients has surely guided her decision-making into adulthood. Perhaps she wants to give back to the people who, most definitely, saved her young life.
The International Labor Organization recognizes nurses as the ‘backbone’ of the healthcare system.
Nurses perform physically and psychologically strenuous tasks daily, all to assist in the treatment and healing of their patients. It’s no wonder nurses were rated one of the US’ most trustworthy and ethical professions for the 18th year in a row in 2020.
Physicians are often separated from their patients as their positions involve things like prescribing medications, examining, diagnosing, and reading patients their test results.
Nurses on the other hand, are the ones to physically assist patients. Their tasks involve more intimate assistance. This routinely includes physical touch, such as holding and washing patients.
Nurses are often also tasked with counseling patients and their families, whether that involves talking them through their new routine, or simply being a sounding board for patients as they express frustration or want to talk through other life experiences.
Sometimes patients just need emotional support and nurses are right there beside them. Considering all that nurses do, it’s therefore not surprising that nurses actually spend more time with their patients than doctors.
Nurses are also dedicated in their ongoing pursuit of training and education. Despite being qualified, nurses routinely undertake further education and training including work placements, to specialize in areas such as pediatrics, mental health, and oncology.
These days there are so many convenient online study options available that can allow a greater life balance for current and budding nurses alike. You can study nursing at a postgraduate level though an ABSN online program, or an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing.
In 2019, a study found that over half of all US workers are unhappy with their jobs. While we all know that healthcare professionals help by healing the sick, which is highly rewarding in and of itself, it’s the way that nurses help, (or how) that so often draws in students.
Nurses perform the sacred and selfless work of caring for vulnerable patients. Prioritizing the needs of the sick above all else, nurses engage in physically and psychologically demanding tasks to assist patients in their unique healing journeys.
A 2012 study on Iranian nurses found that many believe their work to be a “divine profession” and a means of gaining “spiritual pleasure and satisfaction” through their professional ability to put the needs of their patients before their own.
Similarly, a first year nursing student explains on a nursing blog, that nursing “forces” the practitioner to leave behind their everyday life problems and focus their energy on others “for 12 hours of the day.” The same student found this to be an “empowering and motivating” experience.
The genuine ability to step out of your own shoes and into those of another, is an eye-opening exercise in selflessness. The nature of such an exercise would allow for some of the most humbling and profound workplace experiences, rarely experienced by others in less compassionate professions.
Humbling and Profound Work
Nursing embodies a plethora of different caregiving tasks. Nurses can be described as considerate, conscientious, capable and caring through their ability to undertake often arduous, humbling tasks such as cleaning up after their patients, feeding, dressing and assisting people who are unable to do these things without assistance.
A result of spending so much time caring for their patients, nurses often form a connection with the sick. Conversely, patients also look to their nurses with immense gratitude and fervor.
Human connection is a crucial and undeniable aspect to nursing. In a 2017 blog post, a nurse shares her story in tending to the needs of a relapsed heroin addict. The nurse describes how the patient was suicidal and requested only clean underwear and crackers, as he hadn’t showered or eaten in days.
The nurse kindly brought him fresh undergarments and a whole selection of food. She asked him what kind of drink he preferred.
He said chocolate milk. The nurse discusses, contrary to our common misconceptions of ‘junkies,’ her immense sympathy for the man and how the experience ultimately “humbled” her.
Statistics and Data
The demand for nurses is steadily rising, with healthcare facilities in constant need of skilled professionals. In 2020, nurses were consistently rated as one of the most trustworthy and ethical professions in the United States.
Job satisfaction among nurses remains high, reflecting the rewarding nature of the profession and the impact they have on patient care.
Challenges in Nursing
Despite the rewarding aspects, nursing comes with its set of challenges, including long hours, physical and emotional demands, and exposure to health risks. Balancing the demands of patient care with personal life can be daunting.
Nursing is evolving with technological advancements. Telemedicine and electronic health records are becoming integral, requiring nurses to adapt to these changes. Additionally, the role of nurses in preventive care and health education is expanding.
Diversity in Nursing
The nursing profession is increasingly recognizing the value of diversity. Efforts are underway to promote diversity among nurses, reflecting the diverse communities they serve. A diverse nursing workforce enhances cultural competence and addresses health disparities.
While nurses form a large fraction of the care-giving workforce of healthcare professionals, it’s the ways in which nurses provide care to their patients that draws students to studying nursing.
Nurses perform selfless, humbling and profound duties while aiding the sick. In spending the most time with their patients, nurses can form lasting bonds that make their work truly special and ultimately sacred.