A patient I was taking care of recently asked me how long I had been a nurse. I most always try to downplay the question because sometimes people get uneasy with an unexperienced nurse - and sometimes rightfully so. Usually I'll tell people, "I've been here almost a year," which while is completely true, sort of sounds like I've worked somewhere else, too. Most people are satisfied with that answer; some are not. This patient was of the latter group, and asked me when I graduated school. I told her and then waited for the inevitable comment about the obvious new nurse-ness, something glaringly obvious that I missed which pegged me as inexperienced, or even something negative.
Instead of something negative, she mentioned that I had been very sweet to her, and remarked that even with my new nurse-ness, she appreciated the care I had given. She mentioned how a lot of her nurses had been crusty and mean and impatient, but that I had been very pleasant and willing to listen to her complaints. I thanked her, then jokingly replied that I haven't been a nurse long enough to be heartless yet.
She says, "you nurses never lose your hearts, you just learn to protect them better."
A very interesting perspective, I must say.