Top things nurses love about nursing and the Top things that Burn Nurses out

by Angela Brooks

Over the last week I have ask several nurses two questions

1. What do you love about nursing
2. What do you not like so much

As in human nature people will remember what they dislike the quickest and I had more replies to those, however when questioned they always were able to list what makes it all worth it and why they continued to go back day after day. Even after a day they were the most frustrated and exhausted.

What I heard in most of the comments was is that in nursing you do not have enough time to do what most nurses enjoy which is spending time with the patients and giving them the top notch care that is taught in those $300 books we bought in school.

Those are the skills that most want to use and rarely do you have time to give the person more than a few minutes of your time. Which is just as frustrating to the patient as the nurse.

Things that make nursing worth it….they said…

1. Helping someone feel understood and cared about

2. Giving a loving touch when words are not enough

3. Being at the bedside when God calls the soul to His arms
4. To be able to serve those in need, getting good mileage out of my sense of humor, the barely just above break even pay rate
5. Relationships with residents, patients, clients and constantly being challenged!



* Ann: Working holidays and weekends. The pay. Stress from work load….not enough of us
*Pam: Financially: The glass ceiling; you top out on the pay scale too fast clinically & to make more money, you have to go into Administrative roles that take you away from your first love–patient care.
*Carol: Physically: Long hours,Lack of flexibility with scheduling
*Veronica: Being exposed to diseases that can kill me, working short staffed, it’s all about the mighty dollar & not patient care anymore. I have bee a nurse for 35 years & nursing is not the same as it used to be.

 *Amy: Horizontal violence.
*Anniston: Sucks the life out of me
* Patricia:  the lack of support by management. That would top my list every time. But add to that the enabling that hospitals expect us to do when they try to sell us those service excellence programs that teach us about how we should kiss everyone’s ass.

* Sherree: the lack of support by management; doctors that are rude; & working most holidays.
Greg: The so-common refusal to learn and adapt and innovate: IMPROVE things. Baffles me!
* Pam: Financially: The glass ceiling; you top out on the pay scale too fast clinically & to make more money, you have to go into Administrative roles that take you away from your first love–patient care. Physically: Long hours, Lack of flexibility with scheduling
* Mary: REDUNDANCY in paperwork and too much focus on money by corps instead of the people that help get the money!!!!!

When I came back from a 9 day vacation that I very much needed. I walked through the halls with a new group of employees showing them around the huge hospital. They were amazed how many patients spoke to me and welcomed me back, asked about my trip, gave me fist bumps, hugs and high fives.

Not only did I love the smiles and welcomes, I received that fact that they knew I cared about them enough to share that back with me. Nursing is hard work … it can be emotional draining…and it can be more rewarding than any job I can think of.

A human smile is priceless.

Angela Brooks 2012

Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Elizabeth Scala April 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Great post, Angela. And how beautiful that your welcome was so warm. I believe that we have the power to create our situation. We make what we want out of work, home, or life- just by thinking/talking/writing about it. I encourage nurses, everyone, even myself (who yes, is human and still is working on this every day) to speak more about what they do enjoy, what they do want, what they want to be seeing/hearing/feeling/experiencing. When we spend energy, effort, time, and attention on those things- we can get more of them. So for example in your list of the “non” enjoyable things about nursing- how can we take those and turn them around? What can we find that we are grateful for in each situation? How can we grow towards what we truly want to see at work? I love this post; gave me great things to think about and opened my eyes up to even more of the challenges we face. Now let’s work together on some solutions!! And you’re right Angela, smiling sure can be a fantastic start!! Smiling at you now. :- D Have a healthy day!

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