Nursing changes your life (by Ruth Frankenfield)

The nursing profession is changing. The average age of nurses and the average number of years of nursing experience both are decreasing. I’ve been in nursing now for nearly four decades and am certainly considered old.


I often wonder what nursing students believe they are getting into when they choose our profession. What do they think their job will be like? What do they think we actually do? How do they decide and say to themselves, “That’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to be”? I’ve recently discovered that most nurses, just like we older ones did, find out the hard way what nursing is really like:


Your feet will hurt.
Your back will ache.
This job will make you cry.
This job will scare you.
Some patients will not like you.
Many will test your limits.
It seems that you don’t often enough hear a “thank you.”
What you do directly affects others, ALL the time.
No one notices what you do–until you don’t do it.
You’ll hardly ever get home on time.
You’ll be the medical “go to” person for everyone on the block (sometimes at midnight on a Tuesday).


Sounds pretty bad, huh? This is why we constantly repeat the phrase, “Nursing is not for everyone.” You have to be tough to thrive in our world. The greatest thing about our profession, though, is that the benefits of our work GREATLY outweigh the risks.  Because here are the ways nursing will change your life:


Your heart will grow 10 times its normal size.
Your compassion will exponentially expand.
You’ll develop strength where you once were afraid.
You’ll develop keen decision-making skills.
You’ll become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You’ll truly empathize and understand what loss really is.
You’ll impact human lives.
You’ll meet and befriend some amazing people.
You’ll find that the occasional “thank you” and/or hug is worth it all.
You’ll be proud to tell people you’re a James nurse.


Sounds pretty good, huh? This is why we constantly repeat the phrase, “Nursing is not for everyone. The things that make our profession so tough are also the very same things that make our profession amazing. If it were easy, wouldn’t everybody be doing it?





Adapted from: “15 ways nursing will change your life” in SCRUBS, The nurses guide to good living. May 1, 2014