Being a nurse has it days of triumphs and challenges. Some days I want to pull my hair out, but most days I love my job. Fortunately, after years of sacrificing our social lives during college and studying countless hours for NCLEX, we nurses have landed a career with loads of hidden perks.
Free Health Advice
While at first you may not feel comfortable asking a doctor on your unit about the nagging cough you’ve had for a week, after working side-by-side for some time, nurses develop relationship with doctors and nurse practitioners. This provides free healthcare advice at the tip of our fingertips from people we trust!. We are fortunate enough to get a quick script called in for a z-pack or cough medicine by simply opening our mouths and asking.
Even more, there’s a certain code among nurses when it comes to caring for our own. Any time I have a patient who is a nurse, I am more apt to print out lab results or CT impressions and share them. Overall, I’m more likely to divulge more information to those that understand what I’m saying.
A National Network
Nursing is a small world, especially in specialty fields like emergency medicine. After becoming a more seasoned nurse, you will likely have colleagues all over the nation. Recently, my father was hospitalized, and I encountered three nurses who I happened to have attended nursing school with. I was able to get the inside scoop on his condition thanks to this. Having former classmates and colleagues widespread means having connections at a bounty of healthcare facilities. There’s doctors you wouldn’t let near your loved ones with a ten-foot pole and other’s you trust your life with. It’s nice to be able to shoot a quick text or make a phone call to find out who the best specialist is when it comes to finding a good doctor for your sick family member or for yourself. Nurses know who has the best bedside manner.
The Ability to Help Family
Even more, nurses are super creative. We can make a splint for a broken bone out of items lying around the house quicker than MacGyver.
While some may consider it a curse, you will always know what’s going on with sick family members. Nurses are constantly phoned by family and friends in regards to medical problems, from changes in moles to vertigo to chest pain. Our family members are constantly calling us asking “What do you think about this?” You can rest assured you will always be in the know about the healthcare concerns of your family.
Let’s not forget our coworkers. It’s sometimes difficult not being able to talk about your job to non-nurses. Most people can’t physically stomach hearing nurses’ on the job horror stories. Being a nurse allows you to meet some really great people who understand you and will become your friends for life. Your coworkers understand what it’s like to have days off when the rest of the world is working. They know what it’s like to have to go to work while your children are at home on holidays. They understand what it’s like to fight back tears as you code a two-month old or phone a family member to tell them they need to come to the hospital because their loved one has died. Our fellow nurses become our second families and greatest friends. It’s truly a blessing to be part of such a close-knit profession where you are lifted up during times of happiness and distress.
Fewer Bathroom Breaks
Yes, this can be a perk! While I don’t condone or recommend this skill, we can hold our urine longer than a camel can go without water in the dessert. This is extremely useful outside of the hospital setting during long car trips or waiting in line at Disney World.
A Strong Stomach
When it comes to our canine children or actual children we are the pooper- scoopers. After years of being vomited on or smelling the worst smell on earth, C-diff, we could probably eat a sandwich while changing an infant’s diaper. Who needs a gag-reflex anyways? Not a nurse, that’s for sure. We have iron stomachs.
And finally, when I tell people I am a nurse, I continually get responses like, “I envy you. I could never do that job.” Or, “I just don’t understand how nurses do it.” As nurses, we have the opportunity to do a job that those on the outside truly can’t fathom. You get the opportunity to belong to a club, so to speak, where members have seen people at their best and worst moments. Nurses truly get to see some of the most beautiful and devastating moments in people’s lives. To the outside world this seems difficult and unthinkable, but it makes you appreciate life more. After some time, the difficult or devastating things you see make you not dwell on the things in your life that aren’t quite perfect. You learn to really breathe in and be thankful for each and every day.
I can honestly say I feel an immense sense of belonging being a nurse, and the topics touched on barely scrape the surface of the perks associated with this profession. Being a nurse is more than a job for me; it’s a blessing. And all the negatives, like working weekends or holidays, by far are outweighed by the gifts this career offers. In the end, hard work definitely pays off.