What It Means to Be a Nurse

After completing my first semester of nursing courses and clinical rotation, I have realized I made the right decision to become a nurse.  Here's what I think it means to be a nurse.

What it means to be a nurse has a plethora of definitions. Everyone has their own idea of what nurses do and who they are as a person. While having a single definition of “a nurse” would aid in the explanation of what being a nurse consists of, due to the high variety of what nurses do and what they stand for there’s no possible way to have just one definition. I personally have witnessed first-hand the multiple types of duties and attitudes of nurses and know that there is no way that they could all be grouped together in such a basic manner. Each and every nurse has had a different impact on me by how they have interacted with me. To give nursing just one definition would be unfair seeing as it would have to cut out much of what is important to certain types of nursing. Being a nurse isn’t just helping the sick; it’s being there for them in their most vulnerable state while maintaining their dignity and making them feel comfortable even when they’re in so much pain they can barely stand it. Nurses also have the very important duty of providing preventative care to those who are healthy to protect them from getting sick.

A good nurse isn’t just one who’s smart or can figure out what’s wrong with a patient at the snap of their fingers. A good nurse is compassionate and kind while maintaining a professional relationship with their patient. They know when and how to teach their patients about their new diagnoses and how to live their best life possible despite it. I strive to be this nurse and to help as many people as I can while providing the best care possible. Whether it’s making someone laugh when they’re upset or holding their hand just because they need it. I hope I can bring a smile to my future patient’s face with a joke or two and bring comfort to what generally is a very uncomfortable experience. It’s those little moments that can change the patient’s life, and more often than not, save it. Their experience at a hospital, long term care facility, or wherever they may be may make or break how fast and how fully they recover. This is why having a sense of humor and being compassionate as a nurse goes so much farther than most people realize. People always say, “I had the best nurse and that’s what made being at the hospital so much better.” I want people to say that about me and what I have done, which is why I believe how you act towards a patient is so much more valuable than having an abundance of knowledge about every tiny detail. While I’m not saying you don’t need a lot of knowledge and schooling to be a nurse, because you absolutely do, it is the interactions with a patient that will make an imprint on their lives and impact their stay in the best way possible.

Nursing was never a choice for me, it was my calling. It’s something that I was made to do. Even from a young age, I always knew I wanted to enter some type of profession in the medical field, but I didn’t know what. It occurred when I was in and out of the doctor’s office my sophomore year of high school that I wanted to help people and impact their lives the same way that the nurses helped and impacted me.

Some days are going to be tough. I’ll drive home crying the whole way, wondering ‘why did that patient have to die?’ I’m going to have to make tough choices and experience what could be the worst parts of people’s lives but, there will be those days when I’ll remember why I chose this profession. When the patient finally gets discharged after a long stay, or they say something that brightens your whole world. When I help deliver a healthy baby and make it the best day of someone’s life. It’s those days that make nursing worth it and makes the bad days disappear from your mind.