Life as a nurse is kissing your family goodbye long before the sun rises and hoping you will make it home before they go to sleep.
It is being on your feet for 12 straight hours and still staying to catch up on charting that was impossible to complete during your shift.
It is leaving your loved ones to show up for others when the rest of the world is ordered to stay home.
It is dragging your mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted self home, not having anything left to give.
It is the overwhelming joy you feel when the patient you have been working with for weeks makes a complete recovery.
It is working weird shifts and having a schedule that doesn’t align with anyone else’s but still showing up ready to serve others.
It is sacrificing holidays and weekends with your family and friends to care for those who are sick.
It is seeing a patient successfully make a complete lifestyle change with your encouragement, support, and teaching.
It is being verbally threatened and degraded and still providing that patient care.
It is encouraging a new mom who is exhausted and terrified to bring new life into this world.
It is holding the hand of your dying patient and guiding the family through grieving while still being responsible for five other patients.
It is knowing the pertinent side effects, labs, and vital signs prior to making the decision to give a medication.
It is educating and supporting a newly diagnosed patient with diabetes who is dealing with an entirely new lifestyle and is completely overwhelmed.
It is putting your own beliefs and bias aside and caring for a patient who has completely different views than you.
It is pride in yourself, your profession, and your colleagues as you work as a team to bring a patient back from the brink of devastation.
It is investing your off-time to learn new skills, renew certifications, and review the information necessary to do your job.
It is holding strong for people during their most vulnerable and terrifying moments.
It is never pausing to empty your bladder but still running to grab your patient their requested snack.
It is lying down at night and hearing the sounds of machines in your sleep.
It is picking up on hints of catastrophe and notifying the provider before things go south.
Life as a nurse is devastating, beautiful, challenging, joyous, and absolutely everything in between. It is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It involves sacrifice, growth, knowledge and empathy.
This is the life of a nurse.
Previously published on the author’s blog