THINGS I SIMULTANEOUSLY LOVE AND HATE ABOUT MY JOB
I'm a night shift nurse in a very high acuity pediatric cardiac icu. It's the best/worst
- •The schedule - CONSNights, weekends, holidays= big impact on social life, physical well-being and mental health.
- •The schedule - PROSGetting to go grocery shopping when the store is mostly empty 🙌🏼. Fake vacations (working a lot, then having a long stretch off). Sunrises.
- •How sick the kids are - CONSSometimes they don't get better. This never gets easier. Sometimes we provide futile care for the small chance that they might get better. This care is often very painful. This takes a toll on the bedside nurse providing this futile, pain inducing care for 12 hours.
- •How sick the kids are - PROSThese kids are sick in incredibly complex and variable ways. It is fascinating and simulating. I'm always learning! Last week, I thought, "it's very possible that this is the sickest child in the state right now- and I got to take care of him". I feel so proud of what I do when this is true. If I can do this job, I can do anything.
- •Families - CONSIt is harder when the family is around 95% of the time. It is hard to manage an unstable post- operative intubated bleeding baby who is acidotic and having arrhythmias. It involves thinking and moving fast, monitoring, assessing and re-assessing, all while communicating with doctors, respiratory therapists, other nurses, x ray techs, lab techs, and blood bank. This is naturally harder to do while simultaneously explaining everything to and supporting a (very understandably) anxious parent.
- •ALSOMost families are very lovely. But when they're not- when they're mean to nurses, or mean to their kids, or mean to each other, or violent, or unpredictable, or - worst of all- apathetic- it is incredibly emotionally exhausting. No matter how much you like the kid, or how proud you are of your work, you will leave that shift feeling bone tired and sad.
- •Families - PROSMan, these people amaze me. My work day is their worst day ever, and they survive. They are so resilient. Families manage to survive, and are also sometimes sweet, and grateful, and even funny! I'm so proud when they advocate for their children. Some of the most impressive humans I've ever met have been these parents.
- •Co- workers - CONSLab tech- I need my coags 2 hours ago. My kid is literally trying to die. I do not have time for your incompetence. Scary Doctor- I don't trust your judgement. I'm afraid your decision will hurt my kid. New cardiology fellow- Do. Not. Touch. The. Pacemaker. Without. 1. Telling me first. 2. Knowing how to use it (it's okay to ask if you don't know, though). Nurse manager/educator- ughhhh you guys get paid so much and do so little. I can't.
- •Co-workers - PROSBrilliant minds and hearts everywhere. So grateful.
- •Being a "senior" nurse - CONSI have 3 years experience on my unit and I'm not an idiot, so I'm considered "senior". I take the charge nurse role and am often a resource for newer nurses. I feel responsible for everyone else's mistakes and deficiencies. I once cried a week later about a med error that was made on a patient. It wasn't my patient, I had no role in the error, I wasn't even in charge that night, but I was devastated. Also, if I'm senior, who will support me if I need help????
- •Being a "senior" nurse- PROSIt feels good to have enough experience that I can confidently say I know what I'm doing. I really enjoy teaching and supporting new nurses. I think a lot of the newer nurses trust me and are comfortable coming to me for help, which I feel proud of. There is also a small part of me that sometimes enjoys bossing people around. (Especially when it's the doctors! Is that petty?? It's true!)
- •How crazy busy it can be- CONSHaving peed/haven't eaten/haven't sat down/haven't charted/not enough nurses/I'm really afraid this kid is going to die right now/did I miss something?
- •How crazy busy it can be- PROSGet to feel like a badass while saving lives
- •BONUSCute babies!!!