Saturday, November 21, 2009


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.


Kaley said...

that's so sweet!

Anonymous said...

Hah Hah! I to tell people "Oh, I've been here since April."
Not divulging that from April to August I was working on the LPN license (which I had just been issued 8 months earlier) while finishing RN school/passing boards. The nice thing is when they probe a little further about where I came from, I can site the nursing home I worked in before that (withholding that it was part-time while I was in school and on my nurse technician and LPN license).

Like you though, I will divulge that I just graduated as an ADN in June of this year and, as you found, my patients are surprisingly supportive. In fact, I think the only times they are unsure of me is when they somehow pick-up that I am unsure of myself, so I call for senior nurse reinforcements. So thankful I work in a facility where 90% of my fellow staff tells me they "like working with me and don't mind helping me out!!!"

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