The Hardest Part About Nursing That Nobody Knows

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

Brie, your post is spot on. The public has no idea about the private victories and challenges of Nurses.

Also, being a male in a female dominated profession has been eye opening in the sense of how society under-values “women’s work.” I always laugh silently to myself when I see front page news when a firefighter does CPR on someone lying on a sidewalk. This is BIG news and they are heroes…And I know all too well, some Nurse in an ICU or an ED has saved multiple lives in one shift. No fan fair, no parades, no “thank you for your service,” just punching out for the end of a long day only to go home and get up and do it another day.

I recall one-night working in a trauma center taking care of a young mother of toddler twin daughters who was brain dead on life support. We all knew the outcome was not good and she was being kept alive to harvest organs.

Her handsome-young-grieving husband kept playing a video tape at the foot of her bed of their twin daughters playing in the backyard when life was normal and full of possibilities…He did so, in hopes that it would somehow miraculously cause her to awaken from her chemically induced coma.

Night after night I went in to care for her physical needs, and his emotional ones. That video playing on a loop over and over all night long…

As you know, this is only one of countless EXTRAORDINARY nursing encounters that are going on (even as I type this to you).

I tell young nurses the career you’ve chosen is not the path-of-least-resistance, it’s often thankless, and soul crushing, yet, in the end you will not suffer a crisis of meaning in your work–it’s built in. As I get older, I’ve come to cherish that realization.

Kind Regards and thank you for the work you do.

Patrick Roden RN PhD

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