If you’re a nurse

It doesn’t bother you to talk about any variety of bodily fluids or functions while eating.  In fact, my coworkers and I have had serious discussions about missing body parts while eating spaghetti. It’s a nurse thing. I’m not sure, but I think I could snack on chili cheese fries while watching open heart surgery.

You know the supreme importance of Danskos. It is a sacred thing.  Atleast your feet think so.  Two things I don’t mind spending lots of money on in this life; running shoes and working shoes.

You know hydrogen peroxide is the great blood stain remover.

The sound of “death rattle’ is no joke. You’ve heard it and you just know, it’s coming.

It infuriates you when people ask your opinion….then ignore it. If you don’t value what a nurse  thinks, ask someone else, like your aunt or sister who has absolutely zero medical knowledge. Yeah that’s a good idea. She’ll know.

You know better to correct people when they say things like, “I know I need an antibiotic”, or “He was outside with no shoes on and got sick” or, ” I barely eat but I can’t lose weight, I think it’s my thyroid.” No, for the sake of friendship you just smile and nod and say something like, “Really? Wow! that is so interesting.”

The tears can be turned off when needed. You learn the art of knowing where the line is and not crossing it.  A blubbering nurse is good for no one and sad as the things are in this life you learn to detatch…as a form of self preservation.

You know many people’s secrets. Things whispered late in the night to you. You will never tell. It’s a sacred trust between a nurse and a patient. You’ve heard confessions that can shock, regrets that sadden, and hopes and dreams that make you smile.  You are privy to the first hello of a new baby, and the final goodbye of a much loved matriarch. Sometimes there is no one, and you are the one holding a gnarled lonely hand. And you are the one who whisperes, “It’s ok to let go, I won’t leave you.”

The work is never done.  When you come back tomorrow there will be more blood, more tears, more vomit. More axious faces searching for good news in your face. There will be more hyperchondriacs and you will fight the urge to tell them “there are some really sick people in this world.”  There will be more chances to teach, to love, to listen. There will be more funny stories to add to the book you will write upon your retirement.

You don’t have a job….you have a ministry.


One thought on “If you’re a nurse

  1. love #5. i mean, really people. and #7 and #8. sometimes my job bores me, but sometimes it overwhelms me. sometimes i hate it, as far as long hours and call, but a lot of times i love it. we have one of the best jobs ever!

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