Nurses are known for being selfless and caring for others, but have you ever considered how you can reap the benefits from a nursing career for yourself? Financial compensation is an attractive benefit, but there are a few other serious perks to this profession that can make you a kinder, gentler person outside of work.
Patience is a Virtue
Hopefully, you already have plenty of patience if you're going into nursing or already working in the profession, but if you don't, you'll have to develop this quality. Nursing is a job that can alternate between frantically running between multiple tasks and patients, and the frustration of waiting for a doctor to call you back with a crucial order. Knowing something needs to be done and not being able to do it until you speak with the doctor can drive a person a little crazy until you master this skill.
Also, when people are sick, they tend to be very emotional and somewhat absentminded. They may get angry with you, so you have to learn not to take it personally and to calmly continue tending to your work.
Be a Saint, Not a Martyr
It's a fine line nurses often walk. Sometimes, you can go a little overboard trying to take care of everyone else around you, but remember: Before you can take care of others, you have to nurture yourself. This is a hard lesson to learn for nurses who tend to have a certain personality that encourages martyrdom. But if you really want to be the best nurse and the best person possible, you must learn to form healthy personal boundaries and treat yourself well. A career in nursing requires that you learn how to prevent a burnout.
Count Your Blessings
Nurses deal with a lot of physical and emotional trauma on a daily basis, and if you're not careful, it can drag you down. But it can also make you appreciate all the good things in your life and provide you with perspective. As a hospice nurse, I was constantly asked how I could do such a job and not get depressed. Being able to comfort people at such an emotional time has its rewards, but it's hard to go home after a shift that deals with death and not appreciate how fortunate you are.
After spending 12 hours with a dying patient and her family, coming home to a flooded apartment because of a burst water pipe just didn't have the same impact as it would have before I got started working as a hospice nurse. The maintenance people were shocked at how calm I was at the damage — as well as the three days of jack hammering it took to find the pipe that was leaking. I told them that with the kind of work I do, this was a minor hassle when you compare it to having a terminal illness. One of the workers looked at me and said, "I wish you'd talk to my wife."
If you embark on a nursing career, you'll be able to put your positive energy out into the world, but you can also enrich your own life and become a better person off the clock.
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