22 Reasons Why It's Difficult to Be a Nurse

By NT Contributor on Fri, Dec 12, 2014

22 Reasons Why It's Difficult to Be a NurseTo be a nurse is difficult. This article is dedicated to outstanding nurses around the world working in the trenches; working tirelessly for the good of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones who are entrusted to your tender, loving and skillful care.

Many are asking, why is it so difficult to be a nurse? Is it the job itself, difficult colleagues and physicians or your patients?

Here are the 22 questions that might make you realize that being a nurse is daunting job.:

  1. Make life-and-death decisions for 7 people based on a 5-minute shift report?
  2. Get berated by a physician for forgetting one thing when you have remembered 100 other things?
  3. Think about what you are going to have for lunch while cleaning an emesis basis or a bedpan?
  4. Have to know the etiology, classification, dosage, side effects, contraindications, and compatibility for 18,000 different medications?
  5. Need to know the significance of obscure lab results and whether the doctor should be awakened at 3am because of them?
  6. Have to obtain a physician's order to give a patient a Tylenol but have the authority to float a Swan-Ganz catheter through a patient's heart to measure central venous pressure and pulmonary artery pressure?
  7. Coordinate respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiology, dietary, social services, consulting specialists, and wound care nurses for 7 patients but somehow forget where you put your car keys?
  8. Spend 12 hours on your feet only to be told by your personal physician that you need to get more exercise?
  9. Own 20 sets of nursing scrubs and own zero sets without a stain on them?
  10. Have to learn a new corporate computer system when you are 55 years old, and you don't even own a computer?
  11. Memorize the menus and phone numbers of every local restaurant that will deliver in the middle of the night?
  12. Being a nurse, find yourself choosing a personal physician based on how nice he or she is to nurses?
  13. Go to work when it's still dark outside and leave work when it is again dark outside?
  14. Get floated to some random area of the hospital where you have received zero training and be expected to carry the load of a nurse who has worked the unit for 20 years?
  15. Consider a chair at the nurses' station something worth fighting for?
  16. Learn about research findings because the administration taped them on the wall of the ladies' room across from the toilet?
  17. Know your patients by their diagnoses and/or their room numbers rather than their names?
  18. Feel naked without a stethoscope and a pen hanging around your neck? Can nurses survive without things?
  19. Learn how to take a manual blood pressure in 15 seconds flat?
  20. Remember your worst nightmare was when you dreamt that the doctor called and you couldn't find the patient's chart?
  21. Feel guilty when you leave your patients for 30 minutes to have lunch?
  22. Learn to read physicians' handwriting that resembles the graffiti on the dumpster behind the local Wal-Mart?

Why is it so difficult? And why is it so difficult imagining myself ever doing anything else? And why is it so difficult to explain why I love it so much... to be a nurse?

Do you have any points to add? Please leave a comment below!


Briana LaRoche 4 days ago
Does anyone know anything about traveling nurse I want to be one but I just done know if its worth it, I want to travel so bad and I love helping people im just not sure if I want to clean someone else feces up or clean them up in general lol. some of my questions are do you have to go to collage for 4 years to be a traveling nure or can you just go for the 2 years? also im not really book smart so how hard are the classes to become a nurse?

kamruz Zaman 5 days ago
Nursing is a complicated and hard-working profession but it is a new learning experience for everyday and a mind satisfactory service. when you care a person who are ill and if you give the patients some kind of service that help them to get better which feels a nurse better satisfaction and make them more sympathetic and enthusiastic for the profession.

Anonymous 2 weeks ago
Just wanted to say, that was a great article. People have no idea about how difficult the RN's responsibilities are. I often times feel overwhelmed by it all actually. Just wanted to reach out about something on a side note (maybe some veteran nurses can offer advise). I'm experiencing a bit of a dilemma myself. I was not warmly welcomed into the nursing field. It started in school. I have always been a great student, so it was not a matter of my performance. It was that I was never socially accepted by the instructors (rather made fun of), and today I do not feel accepted by my peers. There is a nursing culture, and for some reason, I am a black sheep (I come from an artistic background). I really care about my patient's health and my performance, but I am unable to make connections with people I work with. I tend to become frustrated with inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the system. I become stressed out and anxiety ridden, and I am direct/abrasive with my colleagues. I definitely expected something different out of nursing. I suppose I thought nurses would be these spiritual, angelic, all loving, accepting, non-judgemental beings. I am so disappointed (not just in others, but in myself as well). I stuck out nursing school because I was told that it is expected to be miserable. I stuck out my first year as a nurse because I was told that the first year is difficult. I am almost finished with my second year as a nurse (my 4th year working in the hospital in total), and I am not happy. Am I wasting my time? Am I ruining my life? Or is it just that I am unhappy in general and it won't matter what I am doing?

Laura Doe 2 weeks ago
Hi Anonymous,
-Just read your comment and I see myself in a lot of this! I,too, at first considered a career in "art", and the last thing I ever thought i'd become was a "nurse" (even the sight of 'text-book' physiology diagrams made me squeamish...!), but after earning my BA and working a couple of jobs in community mental health, I started to be drawn to a profession that at least had a decent salary & clear expectations (something that was lacking in unliscenced community jobs).... so now that I've been in "psych" for @ 15 yrs (starting at age @35), I guess you can call me a "veteran"..(!)
I too, struggled, in my 1st couple of yrs and depending on the "unit" & its "culture", there may always be some issues... I think the key is to make "small connections" with ppl first... anything from "where are you going for lunch break...?" to "I'm heading down to the coffee shop-- anyone want anything...?" -- small jestures can build rapport-- and perhaps you may also be overlooking the "small jestures" that some others may have made towards you...?
-Sometimes ppl can be "great students" when it comes to accademic performance, but 'fitting in" to various social environments (and "Nsg" is no different) can be more challenging... what I've slowly learned over the yrs is that you can, in fact "be yourself", and learn to "fit in" at the same time... most ppl are also not thinking much about "new comers" other than either 'welcoming" them into the unit or "testing" them by giving them the most difficult pts, assigments, etc... in some sort of ancient "initiation" ritual ...
When you say that you are frustrated w/ the inconsistenceies & inefficiencies in the system-- welcome to the world of nsg -- sounds like you fit right in...(!!) If there is another RN out there who hasn't experienced the @#%* that goes along w/ trying to requisition new equipment, asked for more 'linen' in the middle of the night..., & dealing w/ burnt-out co-workers who maybe need to 'move on', then I'd like to find them...
No, I don't think it is expected to be "miserable" and the more you look, the more you might see others also looking to make their work place more enjoyable for others-- those that maybe bring cookies from home to share... or a small plant of flowers to brighten an otherwise drab/sterile environment...
-This is not to say that if it gets to a point where someone feels that the atmosphere is "too" toxic (and sadly poor managemnt & teams on some units can be this way), that they should not always keep their eyes on the "internal job postings" of their hospitals (or other places) to see if there are other opportunities out there & perhaps better "units" that don't have the same types of 'drama" (although no single work-place or unit is 'perfect'...some may have better reputations than others...)
I think you also might need to look at why you wanted to become a nurse-- what "drives" you? -- it is not an "easy" profession, but I'm sure you knew that going in... is it 'unionized" (mine hosp is)? -- can you get involved in helping to "reform" the system so that it is more responsive to nurses-- particularly "new" nurses -- as well as nurses in general-- in order to provide better pt care-- as after all, isn't that the 'goal' of the 'system'?? (I'm also in Canada, so know that if you are in the US, there might be different 'profit-driven' issues involved...)
Also, if your workplace sponsors EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) that are "anonymous & confidential" where you can seek some professional counselling (been there/done that & it was surprisingly helpful!) to explore different things going on for you, could be "job" or "personal" related, doesn't matter... it can be quite helpful in sorting out various issues...
-- in as far as your statement: "I suppose I thought nurses would be these spiritual, angelic, all loving, accepting, non-judgemental beings..." (!) :) I'm afraid I have bad news: that was probably a hollywood construct...(!) Audrey Hepbourn is to blame fundamentally I think...(!!) or was it Ingrid Berman...?! Anyways, I think nurses come in a variety of shapes & packages, just like teachers, doctors, lawyers, police, etc... & those that stand out in all of their professions is most likely a strong work-ethic, someone who is committed to public service, who always tries to assist a co-worker in need (have there been any 'newer RNs on your floor that you have been willing to help out & "show the ropes" to since you arrived?) and tried to distance themselves from the "gossips", "cliques", etc but still remained as pleasant & as professional as possible while providing a needed service... As Ghandi said: "Be the Change" ..... (& I have the t-shirt that I sometimes wear to work!)
Good luck! Hope this helps & hopefully others will add to these comments which are only limited by my own experience...(!) =}

YeChan Kim 2 weeks ago
If i don't have a citizenship, is it hard to be a nurse?
i came to us 2 years ago and studying english

Anonymous 1 month ago
I graduated in high school in 2000. Almost every student I went to school with went for a nursing degree. My mind says, "So, you're going to follow the herd?" Well, I majored in computer science to avoid like-minded people. I did enjoy my field and I love figuring out things, which didn't last. I'm not happy with my major. I have returned in my real world that I wanted to be a doctor, but I'm running out of time. I'm in my early 30s now. Instead, I chose to become an RN and then step up a little bit later on when I'll be an RN. The biggest regret I have was showing the world that I wanna be a unique person. These days, I don't give a fuck what people say to me that everyone is in medical field. I look at them and say in my own head, "You have no fucking idea where I have been, STFU."

Anonymous 1 month ago
hi , I'm graduating from high school soon and really want to become a nurse, i find myself a caring person and seem to love the work you nurses do but I'm worried that i might be too shy , is there a lot of communication skills needed with being a nurse ?

shannon gilligan 3 weeks ago
thank you both for your advice i truly appreciate it

Larry LeBay 3 weeks ago
I've been a nurse for over 20 years and let me tell you, being shy will leave you soon. As you realize that you have a shield of knowledge that gives you the ability to speak up to the patients and to the doctors and to your co-workers. Your education is your ground breaking step. You will get better and stronger as you learn what it is to be a nurse. My being a male nurse gave me some strengths that helped me considerably. I grow up on a farm so there are not to many sights, sounds or even smells that bother me. I am also a deer hunter and have harvested many deer so needless to say, the blood doesn't bother me either. As a mater of fact, it helped me recognize internal body parts as there are many that match the human body. Knowing more in the years of nursing through learning on the job and even more from school made me a strong confident nurse. Working the ER is my main area of expertise and there is amazing things that you learn from that environment that you will never experience on the floor. I found floor work boring after working the ER an transferred back to the ER because that is my calling.

Laurel Harper 4 weeks ago
Absolutely! Effective communication between nurse & patient, nurse & family/caregiver, and nurse & coworker is essential!! Nursing is about more than being a caring person. I'm not sure you really know what work we nurses do and so I don't believe you're in a position to "seem to love it." It's important you have a realistic idea and not a romanticized one. Nursing requires a solid knowledge of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and pharmacology. It also requires a healthy foundation of nursing theory and good clinical skills. An introduction to psychology is a prerequisite to a nursing program. Sociology, statistics, genetics, nutrition and other courses are also prerequisites. It wouldn't matter how good your communication skills, if you don't have or aren't able to utilize this other knowledge, you'll be working much harder and making more errors in clinical judgement -- possibly dangerous errors.

As for the communication you would learn about in a nursing program, there's verbal, nonverbal and symbolic; interdisciplinary, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and interprofessional; Metacommunication, therapeutic communication; there is nurse-patient, nurse-family, nurse-health care team, and nurse-community communication. A knowledge of psychology, sociology, and human development (all academic courses) comes into play with communication. It's okay to be shy but understand that you will not only an advocate for your patients, you may also find yourself an advocate for yourself and fellow nurses. You cannot allow shyness to intervene in this. Part of a nursing education is leadership. You will learn the elements but you must be the one who puts them together. If you are unable to assert yourself, you may be the one to pay the price, especially during your first year on the job. Research "nurse bullying" and "nurses who eat their young".

Nursing is often thankless, dirty, and exhausting. You will be expected to put your patients ahead of yourself, often at the expense of your own health. Even a nursing program will make this demand on you. Illness, deaths, marriages, divorces...these will come second to the program. You will never be paid what you're worth.

Time management is another skill you must acquire to succeed at nursing. Perfecting clinical skills and mastering the electronic charting software helps a lot with this, so does improving clinical judgement (Which takes time and experience. A good grounding in the sciences helps, e.g. pharmacology, etc.)

There is so very much more I could talk to you about but you will find this out. There's only so much you can take in at one time, only so much you can process and assimilate. However, I strongly encourage you tom learn as much as possible about this profession, pros and con, realistic expectations. Also know the average age of an RN is 47. Most new RNs bring life experience to the job. We know what it's like to be pregnant, have a child, to have had a surgery, to have experienced the death of at least one loved one, and so on. We can relate to our patients and their problems, thus we find it easier to anticipate needs. And patients tend to be more comfortable with and accepting of an "older" nurse (as opposed to one in his/her 20s) because they equate age with experience. It's human nature. Do your homework and go into this with your eyes open.

Bonobos Marcos 2 months ago
I am about to graduate high school and want to become a nurse. I know you said that it is hard work but I think that since I love helping people so much it will come easy. I am looking forward to getting paid to do what I love.


Mary Nurse 3 weeks ago
If I could have 'liked' Laurel Harper's comment 100 more times, I would have! Laurel, you hit the nail on the head. I have said for years that nurses are their own worst enemies......downplaying all the education, skills, and knowledge that we have and perpetuating the archaic example of a nurse sitting by a bedside and wiping a brow. That is what I thought when I entered nursing and really, REALLY wanted to be that type of nurse; comforting and soothing the patient. But I soon realized that we do so much more than that. And unfortunately when the business model entered the nursing profession, nurses were pushed to take more patients and therefore the part of nursing that so many of us loved (comforting the pt and family) ended up being pushed to the back of the line due to all the other responsibilites that were more urgent. Nurses are incredible people....well educated and most are warm and caring. I just wish nurses could learn to band together, recongnize our strengths and education requirements, and stand up for ourselves and demand better working conditions!

Laurel Harper 4 weeks ago
Thanks, Susan! The one comment I don't like to see is "I want to become a nurse because love helping people". I would want potential nursing students to understand that the nursing profession is about so much more than "helping people." If you cannot calculate a drug dosage and infusion flow rate, you won't be in a position to help. If you cannot master starting an IV, you won't be in a position to help. If you cannot recognize the signs of heparin toxicity, you won't be a position to help. Communication between nurse-patient, nurse-family, nurse-coworker (interdisciplinary) must be mastered. If you don't master time management, you wont be in a position to help. The point is, there is more to nursing than "helping people". I don't think most people have a realistic over-view or expectation of nursing at all! There might be less disillusionment later on and more early weeding out if people did. So Bonobos Marcos, please get that idea out of your head that nursing is all about helping people. It is so much more than that!

Susan Espanol 1 month ago
I a few years you will realize that you are not really getting paid for your worth. And, in this day and age, money matters. It is no longer enough to be a nurse "for the love of the job". It is despicable that nurses' salaries are not more in line with the mindless jobs on, say, Wall Street... Certainly saving lives has to be more important than buying stocks.

Anonymous 2 months ago
perpetually fighting off the miriad of viruses that humans carry and expose you to, and feeling like you have the virus monkey on your back as your immunity fights them. And only getting the same number of sick days as the bagger at safeway. Exposing yourself to 30 flu patients in given day and your boss wondering why you got sick or if you are playing sick.

100002904868519_facebook 3 weeks ago
You do realize Influenza A (the easiest to contract) was left out of the vaccine this year. And Flu vaccines are not a guarantee, they make it less likely and if you happen to contract the flu after receiving the vaccine, your symptoms and number of days sick supposedly should be much less.... Are you a nurse???

Anonymous 4 weeks ago
What 30 flu patients are you talking about? This is why we have flu vaccinations. Same number of sick days as the bagger at Safeway? What are you talking about?? I use paid time off (PTO) before I use sick days. Are you even a nurse?

hilleneen 3 months ago
I'm a student nurse but 'am not enjoying the career,i truely love helpng people.....i want to quit but i think its too late since i'm already in 2rd year. Someone give me advice plsssssssssss..............

Anonymous 3 weeks ago
You are so right! People I know who got out of nursing always say they are much happier. Nursing is a profession and we all worked very hard to become one. But we are not treated like other professions. We are almost expected to martyr ourselves for our nursing profession. I am so proud to be a nurse but almost embarrassed that we have allowed ourselves to be treated the way we have been.

Susan Espanol 1 month ago
It is funny - but the people I knew from nursing school who quit nursing seem much happier than those who stayed. If you are not sure, QUIT NOW! You could always go back.

Anonymous 3 months ago
Don't know why you went in to nursing, or why you want to quit. Answering those questions first might help you to decide whether to stay with it. If you love helping people, nursing is a great way to do it. You will encounter things in school that you won't like. It doesn't stay that way. When you get out of school and find that area of practice that fits you, chances are, you won't encounter the stuff that you don't care for. There were a few times in nursing school that it occurred to me that I'd lost my mind, and a few times, in the past 30 years, when I thought I was done with it. That said, I worked with a woman who was in her 3rd yr. and switched to social work. She was a great co-worker because she understood the nursing aspect. Another one started in nursing and, half way through, switched to medicine. But, whatever you do, follow your heart, or your gut; if you KNOW this isn't for you, explore all your people-helping options. I can't think of anything more painful than forcing yourself to stay with something in which you're not happy. Blessings as you find your way.

Anonymous 4 months ago
I am not a nurse, but I am a frequent patient (Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus--27 surgeries) and I just want to say that a great nurse--one who both knows her stuff and is kind and caring--makes ALL the difference. I don't know what I would have done without all the wonderful nurses who have cared for me!

Laurel Harper 4 weeks ago
Anonymous, you are my new hero! And I couldn't agree with your more as to what makes a great nurse. It's not easy, although I find some days are better than others. Just reading your comment made my day. Thank you!!

Anonymous 4 months ago
Some are so true

Edz Aguila 4 months ago
it isn't hard as it seems. it maybe difficult for those who didn't love their profession and for those who prefer doing other business. In addition to, nurse is not merely a profession but a vocation which needs a calling and passion...

Michael Lawson 4 months ago
I'm a retired nurse, and I loved what I was doing, but never realized how much stress i was under until I retired. Now I wonder how I survived it.

Jay Hanig 4 months ago
You guys can keep it. I walked away from bedside nursing after 18 years in a hospital setting and don't miss it at all. I am so glad to be free of the BS.

Steven Garbs 5 months ago
Perfectly stacked! :)

Ann Hess 5 months ago
After being a nurse anesthetist for forty years, now retired. It was the most amazing career I could ever imagine. I witnessed so many changes in medicine and nursing. Now after 4 years of retirement I still really miss it. Nursing is very demanding and getting more so every day. I believe being a "good" nurse by your own definition is a God given gift!

Rachel Kelly 5 months ago
OR nurses get pushed to do more with less constantly Managers do not understand the concept of different specialties needing different amounts of time to turn over cases

Anonymous 5 months ago
Nurses are not allowed to "float" swans. They are allowed to inflate the balloon to obtain readings. They are allowed to withdraw swans. They are not allowed to float (advance) swans. You need to fix this statement or delete it.

Laurel Harper 4 weeks ago
The "swan" refers to a catheter called a Swan-Ganz catheter. "Floating a Swan" is a type of pulmonary artery catheterization procedure and is used to determine if any hemodynamic abnormalities exist in the cardiopulmonary system (which would be the heart and lungs.)

If anyone has stated otherwise, please correct or delete this.

Jint Jinky 1 month ago
What's the meaning behind floating the swan?

Laurel Harper 6 months ago
I don't document that I've done what I have not done. I just don't. And no one can make me. I prefer not to lie. Nursing is a calling, it chose me and I can't imagine working in another field. I know nursing's a tough career but when I'm in the middle of the code, I'm not thinking that -- I'm thinking there's no place else I'd rather be. I guess I'll die on the job like an old farm mule, lol!

Anonymous 7 months ago
I retired after 45 years in January. I always knew my job was what I was meant to do. I loved being a nurse. I could still run up and down the halls, but what I couldn't do was care for my patients the way I wanted to or used to . The documentation systems are horrendous. We are supposed to document care that we weren't able to give because we had to document. That being said I have no regrets. Perhaps the documentation was harder because I was getting older. It is a rewarding profession.

Janice Scott 3 months ago
I am 55 and have lots of life and energy left bt I am in school now to become a substance abuse counselor, maynot leave bursing completely but can no longer care for patients the right way, I am hands on and always busy so my paperwork is what suffers if I have a lot to do,It was not your age it is a system , that is more concerned with money (hence the documentation nightmare ) than patient care.I am great on computer learned it in the Navy and have never had a problem but even so I am burned out with the time it takes to do what the is asked of me and still give my patients 100 percent.

sandy leinhos 8 months ago
it's ALL TRUE!

Anonymous 8 months ago

You have 23 years of experience in PACU, L & D, and Emergency Room/Trauma, but if you take a break from it all for a year, your experience is equal to nothing, and you can't get hired in your area of expertise. Why be a nurse?

Anonymous 8 months ago
soooooo relate!!! very very true in every piece of it......thanks for making me smile,seeing myself in every reason... :)

Anonymous 8 months ago
having to be the one to tell a loved one that their spouse of 60 plus years is gone. (passed)

Laurel Harper 6 months ago
I use the word "died."

Anonymous 9 months ago
I am 41 and looking at starting a 2-yr nursing program next Fall. I have 20 years as an executive assistant in commercial construction industry and a Bachelor Degree in Business. Would I have difficulty being hired in the Buffalo, NY area given my age (43 when graduating) with NO nursing experience? I am doing this as a career change but not sure if I am too old. I have to pay out of pocket so it is a tough choice to make given I have 4 kids as well.......Thoughts/comments would be greatly appreciated.

Gwendolyn Tucker 5 months ago
I am a retired bilingual teacher (Spanish/English). Nursing has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Circumstances beyond my control prevented me from going into Nursing when I was much, much younger. But I have no regrets because I am going to nursing school, finally, at the age of 70!!!!

Pam Baum 9 months ago
I went to Nursing School at 50 after working at the railroad for 25 years. Had no problem getting a job. Retired 2 years ago but missed it so much I am now contingent and work weekends for the same company. It wass difficult at first as I was used to sitting at a desk all day but soon became used to it. Its hard work but rewarding once you find your niche. Started in Med/Surg went to Supervision then changed to Hospice and found my love....the most rewarding of all. School is tough but you can do it....go for it...I am 70 and still working....

Anonymous 9 months ago
I've been a nurse for 27 years and I always say they are like dog years. You learn a lot and see a lot every one of those years. Long hours extremely physical and emotionally demanding. My greatest frustration has always been the extreme paper/now computer work. It amazes me how horrible the systems are that we are expected to chart perfectly in. The system I use sets me up for failure. I get emails from chart review asking for information that is repeated in "Oh I don't know" how many other obvious places. Do you have time to check your e-mail? What I used to chart easily now takes several steps. Easy to make omissions. I am concerned about this foolishness so much that it impacts my pt care. Nursing is all about " cover your (really the hospitals) butt". I want my focus on my job which "in the old days" was to take reasonable care of my patients needs. I actually get reprimanded for really rediculous things. Administration actually puts us on written notice if we punch in 1 minute late. I really have to remain focused to stay sane in this environment. I will never speak to a pt with my back to them while I chart in my computer on wheels. I will never allow charting to impact my vigilance. My co-workers do and I swear I have to bite my lip HARD when I see it happening. I went into nursing to take care of people who need medical care. I am not a secretary ( which is a wonderful profession) it's just not a job for someone who is making life and death decisions at the same time. - See more at: http://www.nursetogether.com/22-reasons-why-its-difficult-to-be-a-nurse#comment-4275

Janice Scott 3 months ago
I am soo happy to know I am not the only one I switched to home health hoping i could focus more on patient and less on paper, and it is better but I will never understand why those that know (nurse managers) it is impossible will reprimand you for not documenting things you could not get to and for giving great care even though it meant staying late to get all the documentation done. Even in home health that is a problem but at least no one sees when I stay late 15 mins to write note because my patient/client needed something at last min.

Anonymous 9 months ago
Couldn't agree with you more!! I got fired from my position as a Med/Surg nurse of 28 years at the same hospital, not for my nursing!!

Anonymous 9 months ago
I loved this article. I smiled because after so many years of nursing i can sayI experienced almost all of them. To be fair nursing also so many more benefits to being a nurse. The flexibility, the security of a job, the pride, the ability to make a big difference in someone's life at their most vulnerable point and so many other priceless emotional experiences. To add to the list I would also say be prepared for peer bullying and many crisis conflicts. For the young new grads know that at times some nurses do eat their young, but please try not to make the older nurses feel like road kill because their moves have slowed down. To all of us I say let us leave footprints of compassion for others to follow and make a difference.

Brett Engler 10 months ago
I have been mostly an emergency nurse but am feeling like I need to get out of nursing altogether. I feel I need to help a living thing that can never help itself, such as wildlife/wilderness, rather than helping one who can frequently make a choice to not be helped or help themselves.

Anonymous 5 months ago
Well said. I am an ICU nurse and it is really frustrating to bring someone back from the brink of death only to see them again in that same position because they continue to make the bad choices that got them there in the first place. Then, the family expects you to fix them now what took a lifetime of bad choices to get in their position. So frustrating. I'm with you and considering a career change to help helpless animals. They don't have the power of choice!!!!

susan patrick 11 months ago
I an so glad I found this blog. I have been a nurse for 25 plus years and am seriously wanting to apply for psych nursing position. My best friend is a LLC and has encouraged me to do so. I guess I am wanting to ask is this. Would it be hard to get a position without psych experience. At my age which is 63. My daughter committed suicide when she was 21 and I just want to learn more about mental illness. Read a lot of self help books but it is not like getting in there and really helping someone. P,ease let me know what how you feel

eleanor green 7 months ago
All psych nurses were novice once. Some of it can only be learned through on the job training. Loved my 20+ years in psych and feel I made a difference in the lives of some of my patients.

sheila west 9 months ago
You would have much empathy for your patients.

Follow your path. Your patients would truly appreciate your care and
understanding of their suffering with mental illness.

Stay positive and continue to grow!

Anonymous 11 months ago
I think almost every job seems difficult. Nursing can be sorted as a routine job. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes pretty easy. You just need to have good interpersonal skills because you get to meet different kinds of people throughout your shift.

Anonymous 7 months ago
I have been a nurse for over 30 years and it becomes less of a fire, but it is never an easy job. You have good days and bad days, but I would never say it was an easy job. Maybe it was the units I worked on but I worked my a## off for 12 hours plus at a time.

Anonymous 12 months ago
This is exactly why I'm back in school now. I am feeling really let down with my career of choice "Nursing". I feel shafted, like I traded my happiness for the sake of being ran in the ground by Hospital Politics, antics. I have tried to work doing other things, but always forced back for whatever reasons...Since I am refusing to give up, and have too much vested in this career, I have chosen to go into management. Instead of being part of the problem ( majority is females in this industry ;being taken advantage of), I will be part of the solution..Or @ least try to be..lol

Anonymous 9 months ago
Michelle, I hope you have a good experience. Yet in my experience, "once a bully always a bully!", has been pervasive regardless of your position in nursing. At least you will be able to control some things on your unit. I believe if you tell the staff up front what your expectations are and that you will absolutely NOT tolerate ANY bullying or negativity amongst your staff. Tell them that you challenge them to find at least 3 nice things to say about each one of their team members. Tell them that you understand that not every person will always LIKE ALL of the people that they work with BUT; Each person decides how they are going to treat every person whom they encounter. This is a conscious decision that one makes! Nobody FORCES people to be RUDE! There is not anyone holding a gun to their heads forcing nurses to mistreat their coworkers or others! Many times I have noticed that nurses become frustrated with things that they can not control in their jobs and instead of directing their frustrations to management, (where they fear being blackballed/or some other form of retaliation from management), this frustration builds and bubbles out in the form of short cut, curt answers. Sometimes nurses begin to see other nurse's actions as the reason for certain policy changes that they can not control or as something that has caused them to have a more difficult time at work. Therefore animosity between coworkers arises. As a supervisor I have found that it is best to have frequent staff meetings and let the nurses know what is going on and why and make sure that they know that staff policy changes are not made simply because of one person! It takes a significant amount of policy abuse for changes to be implemented and no ONE individual is responsible therefore absolutely NO mistreatment, abuse, bullying, negative gossip etc., will be tolerated amongst staff members. Frequently remind your staff , "If you don't have anything good to say then it is best to be quiet/keep your mouth shut"! If staff are routinely reminded to say positive and uplifting things to and about co-workers then this will become the culture of your team! Also "Praise your staff loudly in public and Preach only in private"! This will decrease the amount of fodder the old cows have to chew on! Also make sure that if you call a staff member to your office or ask to speak with them in private that it is NOT always about an issue that they will see as negative so that being called to the office is not seen as something BAD and staff say UH-OHHH, Jane screwed up again!

Michelle Crabtree 10 months ago
I have just accepted a position in management d/t everything you said. I hate floor nursing, love the patients. Completely overworked and under appreciated with lives depending on our ability to care for them. I am really hoping I don't have to deal with backstabbing, sabotaging co-workers anymore since I'll be their boss.

Anonymous 1 year ago
With all the complaining nurses do about their jobs....why continue to do it? Don't give me the "...the satisfaction I feel from helping people....". If that's the case then, shouldn't that outweigh the complaints about working hard, missing lunch, etc, etc... and we wouldn't be hearing so much from cranky, whiny nurses, right?

Jennifer Fox 4 months ago
Because of the time and money continuously invested in the job, it is very difficult to move on to greener pastures. Before you know it, 20 years have gone by and time was not spent on the kids but lots of money on daycare. Certifications were renewed on days off rather than spending time and money on self or family. By the time the kids are grown, you are pigeon holed and not seen as having potential for anything but nursing. Although plenty of critical thinking and logistic skills are transferable, most people have no idea what nurses do or what skills are necessary so there you have it. Lots of education,varicose veins, no money, and no family,plenty of ideas about how to improve and streamline processes that no one in positions of influence care to hear because it's coming from a nurse. Even with a non-nursing advanced degree, that 'RN' is looked at unkindly. Working outside of the hospital environment is soooo much more liveable and better for my bladder and self-esteem.

Anonymous 10 months ago
Whatever, we do it because we've invested a lot of time and money getting into it. We also make a decent wage that we couldn't make unless we spent a lot more time and money; not everybody can do this.

maryann tan 1 year ago
Its difficult to become a nurse because you are able to hear the alarm of the machine or infusion pump at home... Lol

Anonymous 1 year ago
when i awoke from sleep ( at home - ha) and did not know if it was day or night and thought i over slept my shift ( i was a night nurse and this happened alote to me but never over slept just that feeling that i did and the room was dark so i could sleep in the day and that was a dread feeling like when my cat got hit by a train and lived ( without her leg)......stress, slow motion, intense awfulness and shock....

regietoledo 1 year ago
we gave TLC.time,attention,patience to those patients, but then remembering my parents why i can't provide a nursing care like i used to do?the thing is am a NURSE and it hurts

Anonymous 1 year ago
I would like to respond to this article by saying that I am a retired R.N., Case manager, who started feeling like many of you, several years ago. I decided to take the bull by the horns, and go into Quality Assurance where I could see that proper paths were taken in certain "suspicious cases," & I was very lucky to have been involved in this in the beginning of my career.....in the 1980's, in east TX.
Therefore, I was able to go on & take positions in managed care, with my knowledge base, just as many of you are able to. You all know what quality of care is...if you need a break from bedside nursing...just ask to be transferred to the QA/UR dept, it will give you the break you need, and broaden your marketability, especially in this day of opportunities for R.N. Case managers...we were able to work from home! God Bless each & every one of you!

Stewie Haly 3 weeks ago
Hahhahaha, this is all nursing jobs now-a-days. Its a whole circle... To get one job you need experience/ certification, but to get that you needed a different experience/ certification, and on and on.... Yeah there is a nursing shortage, but no shortage of unemployed registered nurses fighting to figure out how they actually get the foot in the door. I know so many nurses who passed their NCLEX over a year ago with no true nursing job since, that is a sin.

Anonymous 7 months ago
I am a nurse with 30 years experience and cannot get a job in UR or CM due ot not having a certification in it. Aslo you cant become certified with out job experience!?

Anonymous 1 year ago
Hello and Merry Christmas to all nurses around the world
Yes I could not agree more with these findings and especially when you get a 2 day suspension for NOT taking your break since you are caring for 12 to 14 patients while you are short staffed. YOU have put your patients before yourself before you can sit down to rest your wiry feet just to throw some groceries down your neck in 5 minutes, that is what nursing is all about making the sacrifices that we ALL do on a regular basis and still looking forward to come to work.

Cobourg Ontario Canada

Anonymous 1 year ago
I was an Ed nurse these nurses need to critical thinking in a second because even though they are doctors there in the middle of their own examines etc. they do not stand next to us and critical think. I have been literally telling the doctors at times what to do and order for the patients . I know it not my job but someone needed to do something quick. I actually called the CT radiologist and insisted on a ct of chest and abdomen for a patient and i was told if I was wrong i would be fired lucky I said I didn't care cause I knew I was right and the ED physician was wrong So don't ever negatively say something about nurses we all have a strengths and things we do well and things we never would like to do . You maybe in a small ED but I have worked in trauma center with only two doctors and it is crazy. busy and you need to be nurse who is confident in their ability and make life and death decisions at times

Anonymous 1 year ago
Number 14 is a situation that happens a lot in nursing. And I think that that is a very bad situation to be placed in. It also creates an unsafe environment for the patient, and is also a recipe for disaster The goal of delivering safe an effective care is what patients expect, but if you are placed in a position that hinders you from providing that care, and a mistake is made, do you think the DON will pack fair, and have the empathy needed to do so? No! They place you in those type of situations, and be ready to call the Board and take your license away instead of placing the right nurse with the knowledge to handle difficult areas. Nursing is not only a daunting profession, but it is also a cutthroat, backstabbing profession.

Anonymous 2 months ago
I really do wonder if the backstabbing and gossiping running rampant throughout this profession (as well as other professions) are gender related. I have observed a lot of female nurses behaving cruelly and unprofessionally towards their female counterparts; however, they seem more pleasant with the male staff. A nurse's job is difficult enough without the added disrespect from petty colleagues.

tehop 8 months ago
I have been a nurse for twenty years in ER. ICU. M/S. TELE. traveler, Per diem and staff in 7 different states and I'm done. EVERYWHERE is the same. EVERY department is the same. Almost all the doctors are the same.(blaming their miscalculations on the nurse) Almost all the units have several miserable hateful nurses who "eat their young" usually because they are inept and dissatisfied with their life. I believe in live and let live. Accept people for who they are. Most people want to be good and feel better when they are. My wife is also a Cardiac ICU nurse with twenty years experience and we've had it. We both worked very hard for the last ten years of our lives, maxed out retirement plans and invested heavily in the stock market successfully. We both quit last week.. Goodbye. Nursing is not what it used to be. Administrations method of constant debasing of staff nurses is to effectively crush your morale and confidence in order to control you mentally...and financially. Methods of mental cruelty.....All of you who remain god bless and good luck.

Michael D 8 months ago
Your anti-government bias is showing! Has it not ever bothered you that insurance companies led the way in cutting and delaying reimbursements while adding billions to the cost of healthcare delivery to pay for their "overhead"? I find it comically ironic when someone aims their dissatisfaction with the current non-system of healthcare and lays the problems solely at the feet of government. It just ain't so!

sheila west 9 months ago
True to the bone!

Anonymous 9 months ago
I am so pleased to be able to share my rude awakening of "change"
in hospital nursing. I was suspended terminated for having overtime.
I had 40 years of hospital based experience in all fields of health care
within the same organization. I followed them through 3 merges.
I was happy giving the care that I loved as a staff RN.

Nonetheless I was being called into the director office numerous times for incidences that did not amt. to more than complaints about numerous
"Petty" incidents. I was made to cry at the beginning of my shifts.
Crying is totally out of character for me. It turned out to be a bully technique to try to get me out. I was earning close to 6 digit wage
by the time I left. I also was 59 yrs old. I left with gladness within
me as I did not have to be subjected to the horrible negativities that were occurring around me.

I can be happily retired or carry on I to a different place in my life.
I find that I have a lot to offer but do not ever want to commit to work
like that again. Way too stressful and not even human!

Anonymous 9 months ago
I've been a nurse for 27 years and I always say they are like dog years. You learn a lot and see a lot every one of those years. Long hours extremely physical and emotionally demanding. My greatest frustration has always been the extreme paper/now computer work. It amazes me how horrible the systems are that we are expected to chart perfectly in. The system I use sets me up for failure. I get emails from chart review asking for information that is repeated in "Oh I don't know" how many other obvious places. Do you have time to check your e-mail? What I used to chart easily now takes several steps. Easy to make omissions. I am concerned about this foolishness so much that it impacts my pt care. Nursing is all about " cover your (really the hospitals) butt". I want my focus on my job which "in the old days" was to take reasonable care of my patients needs. I actually get reprimanded for really rediculous things. Administration actually puts us on written notice if we punch in 1 minute late. I really have to remain focused to stay sane in this environment. I will never speak to a pt with my back to them while I chart in my computer on wheels. I will never allow charting to impact my vigilance. My co-workers do and I swear I have to bite my lip HARD when I see it happening. I went into nursing to take care of people who need medical care. I am not a secretary ( which is a wonderful profession) it's just not a job for someone who is making life and death decisions at the same time.

Anonymous 10 months ago
I hate to say it about my own sex, but I too wonder if that is the reason. It would be so much easier if we could all just get along. I am a happy nurse when I know that I have been a part of making a co-worker's day smoother and more pleasant. Why is there always a group of horrible women that are going after one co-worker or another repeatedly and why does management let them do it?

Miss ChievousRN 10 months ago
I dunno what I'm gonna do....
My company, just like everyone's right now, is CRACKING DOWN HARD on hours and overtime and staffing because they are trying so hard to profit from sickness! I understand the dilemma, but the buck stops literally on us nurses on the floor. I've already been told I'm getting a call- on my day off- about my overtime...
My facility does not staff by acuity but the level of care has been increasing sharply and quickly since the beginning of the year. it has been voices by staff, families, patients, and management repeatedly. But the demands of the healthcare system and gov't mandates vs reimbursement cuts etc trickle down to the floor and patient care. My managers are either bound and gagged by corporate, blissfully unaware of floor conditions or they simply don't care as they sit in their offices taking breakfast and lunch breaks before leaving early for a child's recital...
I have no need to milk the clock, nor any desire whatsoever to stay one second beyond my scheduled shift. However, I also have a moral ethical responsibility to do the right thing for my patients as well as my coworkers and most of all, myself and the God I believe in. I resent my corporation and my management for ignoring the fact that the demands of our job are beyond reasonable expectation but this is a daily reality for nearly every nurse in every field in medicine today. and it's only going to get worse as gov't tries to "fix" it....
Our 3 trillion-in-debt government is running the show along with the "for profit" facilities where we work. So as the healthcare "business" tries to profit from illness and nurses try to do right by the patients and families they care for, now the gov't is cutting reimbursement at the same time businesses are raising census and nurses have even more work and higher acuity with less time and less staff and less training to meet the smaller budgets.
I want OUT- I love being a nurse! and I'm damned good at it- but I'm not putting my career or more importantly, my integrity on the line to meet someone else's bottom line!!!!!

Anonymous 1 year ago
I feel the same way you do. Why is nursing such cutthroat, backstabbing profession? Is it because to many women are in it?Write a comment

Anonymous 1 year ago
Why is this article only about hospital nurses? Let's get in the current century and address nurses outside the traditional setting...

Anonymous 1 year ago
Why don't you write your own article then, "Anonymous"?

Anonymous 1 year ago
I am a ward clerk on my unit and I just wanted to say that some of these nurses are taking way more credit than they should,, I fill out all consults, fax them order dietary trays, blood work , diagnostic testing, and scheduling,and arranging for patients to get to and from the appt. .and decipher the doctors writing that often times the nurse cant decipher so they hunt down the ward to clerk to help em out, not to mention the fact that we know the number to every department in the facility by memory .. I know that nurses do an amazing job but please don't give them ALL the credit because if it wasn't for support staff.. where would they be?????

Anonymous 7 months ago
Ward clerks or unit clerks ar great when you work in a place that still hires them. I worked eves and nights and they only existed on days. Now that the MD's input there own orders into the computers I wonder how long that will last on Days.

Anonymous 1 year ago

Anonymous 1 year ago
we all appreciate your hard work and without you, how could we function? However, nursing is not just "tasks" . Nursing requires a great deal of critical thinking to piece together, prioritize and give great patient care from all the tests and orders you do. It is a demanding job, both physically and mentally...

Anonymous 1 year ago
oh yah. do that all the time

Anonymous 1 year ago
knowing you are the last person your pt sees in this life and hoping you have done your very best for them.
we keep people alive who should be allowed peace, for family who cant let go. and lose young pt's to sepsis.
I leave work good and bad days knowing I make a difference not just for pt and family but I consistently help other nurses, it is just us in the life boat at times in ICU so we have to pull each other in,love the group I work with one day at round table report with charge we all held hands and prayed for a nurses family member facing a cancer dx. quite a site 8 nurses holding hands and praying for one of their own it gets no better look out world we are nurses and we are strong!

Tami Tyler 9 months ago
With all the things askew in nursing,someone is worried about grammar and appropriate sentences? All I can say is....priorities.

Patricia Chapman 11 months ago
I think it would be totally awesome if someone prayed for me or if I could pray for someone else. I am a student nurse and I believe in the power of prayer. Also, she probably doesn't have time to check her sentences and grammar because she is busy! But she was nice enough to take time out of her schedule to type a response.

Anonymous 12 months ago
But can you write in proper sentences and use correct grammar? Plus, I wouldn't want someone praying for me, or be expected to pray for someone else.

Anonymous 1 year ago
Why it's difficult to be a Nurse?
Starting a 12 hour night shift Christmas Eve on Neuro ICU with 4 patients and by midnight only having 1 left after the other 3 have died.

Having a patient waiting to be admitted into a bed that is still being occupied by the body of your last patient as you wait for his soul to depart ...Catholic Hospital.

Having to leave your 9 month old baby who you spent the night with in hospital with a sitter because it's Christmas Day and you can't find a sitter.

Being 55 and forced to retire because you have developed Liver Cirrhosis even though you don't drink or do drugs or engage in any high risk activities but you worked in an OR for 25 years 7 doing liver transplants .

So who thinks we make too much?

Anonymous 7 months ago
Its hard to trad off a christmas shift . Someone asked me to trade once and I asked them in turn then to take my new years eve shift ( nights) and they were dumbfounded that i would expect them to do that . So not wanting to take 2 holiday shifts in a row is said NO.

Anonymous 1 year ago
Christmas? Are you kidding?

Anonymous 1 year ago
I meant you can't find anyone to take your shift so you can be home with your baby.

Lee Reed 1 year ago
Have to LOL, Anonymous! Used to work in medical ER of only hospital in city that had psych ER, and we had to medically clear them all, so I feel ya!

Margaret Helmuth 1 year ago
I agreed with many things my colleague stated. But there is more, much more. Perhaps we agree with those 22 reasons nursing is difficult but have another hundred to add. I do. I have a lot to add. I will start with this statement: BEING A NURSE IS NOT ONLY AN HONOR BUT A PRIVILEGE.
A PRIVILEGE HELD DEEP IN MY HEART. But there are many that take advantage of MANY of us leaving us questioning: What has happened to us? I have been a Registered Nurse for almost 30 years now. I have worked in med/surg, telemetry, step-down units, long term care, transitional care units, supervisor, charge nurse, consultant, triage nurse, hospice nurse, homecare nurse and on it goes. I had many full time jobs but interspersed I worked as a subcontracting nurse that allowed me to work in many, many areas.
I do not need accolades, I don't need to be liked, I do need accolades. What I do need is support and honest leaders. I never thought that in becoming a nurse, I would have to protect my soul, my integrity BUT.... I have on far, far too many occasions. I have lost two jobs now because I REFUSED to commit Medicare Fraud. I cannot lie and tell you a patient is appropriate for homecare or hospice when they are not. I cannot backdate a document so the company will get their an increased reimbursement. I cannot lie and write a patient is losing weight when the aren't. I cannot omit a "fall" b/c it's reportable to the state. I cannot sell pieces of my soul.
What has happened? What happened to integrity, character and humanity of those who hire us. Nursing was nothing like this when I first began. It was PATIENT FOCUSED. People really cared and patients felt that.
In my heart of hearts I am sick. I see corporations operating For Profits and Nonprofits touting "WE CARE" . That couldn't further from the truth. They care how thickly they line their pockets with medicare dollars and they never blink an eye. Many, many of us are pawns for these CEOs who are bankrupt of character. We are caught in the middle. They work nurses far, far beyond their capacity and just replace us if we don't "fit" their corporate agenda. Just go on a few websites and you will see in black and white what is happening. There are two that are favorites of mine and I can only hope that all of you reading this will at least take a look at these website: Fierce Healthcare.com and Fierce government.com
I have read article are article, indictment after indictment. I have read nurses and doctors alike going to prison for participating in fraud.
This field is becoming polluted with ever growing dubious corporate thieves capitalizing on the illness of people. It's beyond reprehensible. It downright evil.
We as nurses need a voice. Hey I will start it. I would work in any capacity I could to improve our working conditions and protect us.
Humanitarians do not work well with lying beuracrats. We nurses are a very special group of people that work from our hearts our of the goodness of our hearts for those who need us the most, the sick.
Let us have a collective voice. Some of the "Nursing Associations", what have they done for your lately. As far as I have seen, they are individuals SOOOO far removed from patient care, carrying credentials longer than the alphabet telling congress what nurses need. How could they possibly know what WE need. Ladies, gentlemen let fight for what is ours. Let us team together and carry a collective voice so that we can become better nurses and in turn work to heal our patients. We have to start somewhere, let's start right here. If not now, when? Let revamp these associations that claim they have our best interest at heart. Let's remove them and put true pioneers in there that represent every single one of us. Let's pave the way for the younger nurses coming in and assure them they that they certainly have chosen the NOBLIST of professions and let never lose sight of that. Thank you for listening.

Lee Reed 1 year ago
That's why I always worked night shift when I did hospital nursing. More conducive to me/hubby raising kids, of course...But it also worked well because it kept me out of trouble w/admin. I was not afraid to speak up, and was known for arguing with physicians in an out of the dark ages hospital--and was usually proven right, LOL! I worked in and ER where the Doc would go get some sleep, trusting ME to notify him when something needed his attention...

So I agree that things need to change, but those of us willing to speak our minds are few and far between, or else are too scared about losing their jobs that they WONT speak up....

Unions are NOT necessarily the answer either...We need to find a NEW answer/alternative

rpental 2 years ago
I am perplexed by this 22 point reference to nursing. In other words, I was taught to think of nursing as a noble profession.So, to see the self degradation, disrespect for others, general lack of goodwill to turn the other cheek, and the less than warm natured raillery nurses are capable of has left me confused. Now I know it is tough out there in the hallways. I know not a shift goes by, not a code I am called to, not a heated discussion I am involved in do I not walk away wondering. However, is not the gift of wonder part of what gives nursing its honorable status? To wonder that is, over all that is good and gracious and fight for it. To look, for the better days ahead for ourselves and our patients and defend it. To know we walk with a wonder that others may not know themselves, and instead of spewing its darkness, we carry its light.

Anonymous 1 year ago
Nurses aren't martyrs as you seem to be suggesting they should be. We're human beings who sometimes need to vent.

Debbie Lamoreux 2 years ago
Thank you Susan for this entertaining (and a little too true) list on why it is difficult to be a nurse. I printed several copies to post in my hospital staff lounge and share with my M.A. students. I can share a personal and entertaining story about most of these points. I am leaving for vacation this weekend and why yes, I packed my stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and pulse oximeter. NAKED. BTW, I graduated with my MSN from Kaplan October 2012.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Very good article and I agree with a lot of the problem mentioned. Nursing is not as respected as it should be, that is for all walks, patients, administration, doctors , and even mutual respect. I don't agree neccessarily with eating our young, but when you tell someone something repeatedly it gets old especially when dealing with peoples lives. Like one person mentioned, the frustrated nurse loses their job because they cared more then management. If it wasn't that a spread sheet is more important then people, we wouldn't have the burnout we have, 20 years and I am ready to chuck it all in. Thanks, and keep on keeping on.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I'm a social worker in hospice. Thank the Lord for my great nurses and all they do for me and our patients.

April McAlister 12 months ago
That was a really nice thing to say. Glad you appreciate them. It seems you have a good team and I'm sure the gratitude is returned by them : )

Anonymous 3 years ago
Having to be the new generation of nurses who were instructed in Nursing School not to add to the negative sterotype of nurses and then entering the profession having to listen and work with the older nurses who created that stereotype to begin with boss you around for actually doing nursing the right way!

Anonymous 1 year ago
I think that if this is the professional education you are receiving as a "new nurse" it might be a good idea to return to the books and learn or relearn a chapter or two on team building. Starting out your career by belittling senior staff members who have many years experience to offer you sounds very shortsighted and narrow minded. If you are making comments presuming that older nurses are not doing things the "right way" you are going to find yourself very isolated to say nothing of disliked! You will find the job much more difficult when you alienate yourself from the rest of the team and nobody will want to work with a know it all. Accept the info with grace and if you have heard it before a simple smile and thank you is all that is required.

kathy davis 1 year ago
Exactly Cathy, this past week I a 27 year vet nurse worked on a tele floor where "new generation" nurses were "learning"the "right" way, by allowing call lights to go off for extended periods and sitting at the computer to work on their homework for the next day. Their instructors are new generation nurses also from 4 different schools.

cathy parthun 1 year ago
To the "new generation nurse": being an older nurse, I take offense at your comment, if you're insinuating that we are doing nursing the wrong way, perhaps you should get off your high horse and try to learn a few things from nurses that have mastered the skills you are undoubtedly still struggling with! Get back to me in 20 yr and we'll see who is contributing to the negative nursing stereotype you find so offensive

Anonymous 3 years ago
I never wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be a hair dresser. My mother registered me for nursing school and made me attend (mothers could do that back then). She said I'd be on my feet too much as a hair dresser. I can only wonder what she thought nurses did! Now after 15 years of med-surg in the hospital, and 11 years of home health I can say "Mother knows best". I loved med-surg, but it seemed like I was always picking up one virus or another. I learned alot in the hospital, and took that knowledge and self confidence into my home health career. Home health is where it's at for nurses that need independece and one on one nursing. I only wish they'd told us in nurses training that most of us would be cripples by the time we reached 40.

Anonymous 3 years ago
These points are very true. That's why I don't understand why people worship doctors so much...

Anonymous 3 years ago
To Aaron W., this forum is for nurses, and for us, these articles ARE positive. We are human and have issues and get tired just like anyone else. A non-nurse would not understand that. These articles are therapeutic and our voice when no one else listens, and we DON'T hate being nurses, we hate being taken advantage of and not being appreciated.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I love this article so much, it hits home so well. How about "scheduling potty time for yourself after you've passed your first round of meds, and re-started new IV's that the previous shift didn't recognize that they went bad".

Anonymous 3 years ago
Excellent article, all the comments are also true. so why do we do it. Because we love it. 25 years down the road and I am still there. Because I love people and using what I do to make their lives better is reward in itself.administrators are idiots, coworkers can be nerve recking, some patients can be abusive.All this changes nothing in what we are CALLED to do. Hang in there. WE DO HONORABLE WORK.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Trying to do patient care when JACHO is running around asking questions you would rather not answer.
Now it is being forced to take flu vaccine when I do not believe it is as effective as they say it is.I believe it is a crap shoot because they only guess at which strain to vaccinate against each year, I have not had the flu in 10 years!!
I am forced to wear a mask at work when I have a co-worker with sniffles not wearing a mask because she got the vaccine and is on antibiotics.
I am so ready to retire, but I and forced to continue working at least 7 more years.

Anonymous 3 years ago
RE: RN Lynn's post on how great it is to work at a state prison in NJ. I work at a state prison in CA. I have been in nursing 35 yrs, almost 3 at the prison as a supervisor. I have never seen such an intolerable place to work. I have never been fearful of working with the inmates. It's the administrative staff, both nursing and CEO who provide a hostile work environment. Intimidation and fear of retaliation by some nursing staff and nursing administration prevents quality nursing care from taking place. Staff are fearful to speak up as they have seen what happens when others are set up and nothing is done about it. Hard work and dedication are met with no support and reprimand if one dares bring attention to incompetent care being provided by one of the "favorites". Repeated tardiness and lack of performance by favored supervisors is overlooked, yet the expectation of those carrying to load is to carry more of the work so that it can get done. For me, prison nursing is a nightmare. I'm one of the fortunate ones who is not stuck having to continue to work there as many who cannot relocate.

Lee Atterholt 1 year ago
I'm sorry you dislike Prison nursing so much. I was an MTA (Medical Technical Assistant - a nurse with a peace officers badge) in the same system. I loved my job but the Federal court took that job away - offered me a $2400/month pay cut to be "just" a LVN or convert to corrections officer and keep my pay and seniority. I converted and went from being the most appreciated person on the prison yard to one of the most hated officers because I followed the rules and enforced them on the inmates. The stress from going from a controlled environment (locked clinic) to working in the cell blocks or in the kitchen or out on the play yard with literally 50 -200 or more inmates to one officer became so bad that I was driven to retire due to medical reasons. If I could have remained a MTA I would have stayed until retirement age

Anonymous 3 years ago
Horizontal Violence continues to be a problem in hospitals, especially. That just adds to the ongoing cortisol over-excretion by nurses. I've been licensed for 50 years and with colleagues wrote the first definition for the adoption by the Florence Project in 1980's.

Anonymous 3 years ago
The best move I made in nursing was to leave the acute care setting, and work at a state prison. You are respected by the inmates, peers, and correctional officers. I've worked 30 yrs in mental health, and now work on one of the tiers housing 120 male inmates with psych / mental health issues in NJ.The male prison totals over 3,000 male inmates. I work part time and make more pay per hour than I ever did in a hospital setting. Gone are the days when you don't get a break or a lunch break. I can utilize critical thinking skills, and follow a set of medical protocols in dispensing medication that would never be allowed in the acute care setting at the RN level. Documentation is by exception and your work is appreciated by other disciplines. Sorry I didn't make the move sooner. Nursing shoud be a respected profession, sadly it is not. I would never recommend anyone to go into the field of nursing today. The nursing shortage will be felt very soon as the boomers retire, and there are not enough nurses now that will be willing to work in the 'field' so to speak.


Anonymous 3 years ago
The most fruststrating thing to me, is having to do what "corporate" level says, and they have no clue about patient care. It's funny how someone with NO medical/patient care experience has all the answers!!!!!!

China Brooks 12 months ago

Anonymous 3 years ago
My biggest complaint is that management always calls nurses into the office to punish us. We are never called in to say "good job" with this patient. Our manager says, "Why should I say 'good job' when that is what we pay you for?"
Everyone needs praise. I feel beaten down everytime I go to a staff meeting to hear all the negative diatribe towards staff and not one positive statement.
I'm thinking of leaving bed side nursing because of the poor attitude towards bedside staff by management.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been a nurse since 1981. I went into the profession loving it and as the years went by, it became harder and harder to do my job with all the hospital politics. I agree with one of the above comments related to working with co-workers. They truly make your job harder, instead of working together to take care of the patient on the floor. I never thought hospital nursing would come to this. I have lost my taste for it. I truly loved taking care of my patients. The thought of working in a hospital again has left me with a bad taste. I am truly sorry it has come to that. It is a profession that is so hard to fix. The fix will not come easily. It will be a long hard fight. God bless the nurses out there now.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Why do so many nurses whine and complain about how hard their jobs are? If you don't like it, quit and find something that doesn't make you so miserable all the time. Can nursetogether.com please have more positive ariticles? Thank you.

Anonymous 1 year ago
Anonymous, it's not that we're complaining about how "hard" our jobs are - it's that we're venting, in order to find support, about how MESSED UP our jobs are. We believe in the profession, but we do not believe in the politics, the abuse, the pay (I see some nurses actually make "good" incomes, but in my area, that isn't the case), the futility... There is a lot broken, and we need a supportive place to vent those issues to listening ears.

Anonymous 2 years ago
Your comments reflect a state of denial and reflects a lack of compassion towards peers. The profession is suffering at the hands of self-righteous employees like yourself. Your attitude is precisely the perception of bullies in hospital administration.

Anonymous 3 years ago
You can diagnose CDiff just by the smell alone.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Dear Carolynne F. "Elder RN".from your era we learned care,compassion and strength.I still love Nursing after 25yr bedside ED.It is hard,tiring,frustrating ,but 1 thankyou from pt. or family makes your feet hurt less.Blessed Be to all who continue with "Our Calling"

Anonymous 3 years ago
Hearing "call lights" going off at home. Answering your home phone: "8 West..."

Anonymous 3 years ago
Lydia, CNA, Thank you for loving your job and thank you for helping the nurses your work with. There is nothing that makes a nurses day better than having that kind of support!

Anonymous 3 years ago
How about being the only Nurse on duty at night responsible for 600 juveniles in a correctional setting. The custody staff truly expect their Nurses to have the answers to each and every question including medical, mental health, and expectations of on-the-spot determination if a new newly arriving juvenile is possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and many other concerns. It's very challenging and sometimes just like sitting on a powder keg should the Nurse make the wrong decision in the care of a minor. A least all of our problems are "minor" problems (Juveniles under the age of 18 = minors...5, 4,,3, 2, 1,...laugh!)

Anonymous 3 years ago
I think it's easier to read the graffiti on the dumpster behind Wal-Mart.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Nursing is a dysfunctional profession! A predominantly female profession where communication is more often passive/aggressive and gossip runs rampant. 2 things I would suggest for upcoming nurses that should be requirements of EVERY nursing school.1) how to be a better direct communicator and develop conflict resolution techniques 2) how to have clear personal and professional boundaries and the ability to say "no". Nurses are great martyrs, codependents, and enablers. I know because in 30 years, I have worn all of those hats. As I have aged and developed more skills and healthy boundaries, I realize how incredibly dysfunctional our profession is. I love taking care of patients but I absolutely loathe the toxic environment in which I work. Nursing needs to get healthy!

Anonymous 3 years ago
For me, one of the biggest challenges was the cognitive burden -- remembering to do everything, managing time, and getting it all done. I've written about this at http://www.nursing.keller.com/whatshard.html ...And even seasoned nurses tell me these issues are a daily struggle. But we do it!

Anonymous 3 years ago
Love the "Undercover Boss" idea!
I have been a nurse since Florence and I did Disaster Triage together in the Crimea. Most of the nurses I work with now were not born when I finished my BSN. But that is a good thing. In some of them I see the spark that says to a resident (or attending), " my job is not below yours, it's just different . So, let's take care of this person" We need to empower our young, not eat them. "The musings of an elder ED Nurse"

Anonymous 3 years ago
This career we have chosen seems some days like pure insanity. Can hardly wait to retire from it. I think what I really resent these days is that people who have no business being in nursing are because they "will always have a job". It is more than that and I believe too many nurses coming out of schools now have so little common sense , they don't even have sense enough to know what they don't know and for the most part don't have any interest in finding out. It is a dis-sevice to all our patients to turn these people out just to fill the shortages. It disgusts me.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Nursing taught me well 1). Do not expect praise for doing a good job. You know you did a good job. More than likely you WILL be yelled at for some minor problem like not offering a toothbrush after breadfast when you were saving the life of the person next door. 2). To stand up for myself and my patients no matter WHO comes down on you. I have to live with myself and the trust the patients/patient's families place on nurses. A few of the managers will thank you for saving their butts because you stood for what was right. 3). Trust very few of the people you work with. ALWAYS get names, dates, and info in writing 4). go out with the smokers its the only time you will get a break and/or knowledge of jobs opening up 5). Don't get hospital health insurance. If you get cancer you have to work to keep your insurance so you are working while sicker than the patients you are taking care of. Good Luck. Love you guys that are hanging on.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Wonderful article. A lot of drama in the workplace, which I don't know if it's a woman thing, or a nurse thing...men are much easier to work with. I've also found that the nurses who make sure their charting is done in a timely manner, are often what I consider lazy, leaving their patients in a mess, while they play on their cellphones. It's not difficult to pick out the nurses who get into the profession for the wrong reason. We have too many who are in it for the money!

Anonymous 1 year ago
The men I've worked with are more insidious, not helpful, messy, and are loved by management more, so they haven't been easier to work with. I think that it comes down to management - people, by and large, act like children. Management needs to MANAGE their employees, and hold everyone to the same standard, with the same consequences. That way, the nurse's sex, age, social background, education, etc, wouldn't matter - it'd just be "you left your room unkempt and unstocked ____ shifts in a row - you're going to a class about that. If you still can't manage to stock and tidy your room, you will be let go." These things matter when pts are coding and when "customer service" is such a huge drive. There are plenty of unemployed nurses/new grads. They are more than able to take someone's job who can't even stock enough flushes in a room.

Anonymous 3 years ago
i think one needs to start as a c.n.a., then l.p.n., then on to r.n. and then specialize, then you get the full impact. going straight in to nursing, you don't have a clue, personal contact most important.not book work,,
computer charing is a joke, you don't get the real picture of the patient.
d.o.n's, are so jealous of your rapport with the patient, staff, drs, families,that they go after you,, put you down. 25 years as an l.p.n. before that 3 years as a c.n.a, yes, i have experience.
i loved the people,but the administration, no,,only a few have that personal relationship with staff,,very rare,
hard work, honesty, attendance,even when you're so sick, if you call off, you're reprimanded, if you go in,,you spread germs. so.?
nurses are not respected for all they do. not paid enough either,
i loved my job, but not the best experience in the world at times.always someone there to put you down.a dr. a staff member,a family member,
your co-workers, blame things on you , and they sleep through the shift, and get by with it,leaving the patient to suffer,,hmm,,,
got guts, be a nurse.!

Anonymous 3 years ago
A work force there is no such thing as 20 or 30 years and out for retirement.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been a nurse most of my life,I felt "a calling," have never had any other job but nursing. This last year it has become increasingly difficult to go to work.I too am experiencing PTSD. I'm tired and worn out for all of the reasons listed in the other comments. I'm done, never thought I would ever feel this way.I have always been proud to be a nurse, I feel that I have lost a love that can never be replaced. My resignation goes in this week. Thank you for speaking for all of us.

Anonymous 3 years ago
i don't think i have ever liked being a nurse. that is why i went to grad school, so i could get out of it. the present economy has forced me to stick it out for yet another year. just because you are good at something, doesn't mean it is good for you. it is a psychological and emotional nightmare to work in the hospital. and the pay is garbage.

Anonymous 3 years ago
would love to challenge all the "suits" that come up with how we should do our job! could you see an epidode on "undercover boss" as the hospital administrator,or corporate ceo doing the job of the floor nurse! either hospital or ltc ceo may have a better clue as to how much is expected in an 8 hour day.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Having a piss poor manager who allows toxic coworkers to work without holding them accountable

Anonymous 3 years ago
When you have a ragging cold and you know if you go to work, you infect all co-workers and patients, so you call in. You then spend the next two days feeling guilty and trying to prove you were sick.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Add also that you do not hydrate yourself enough for fear of having to use the BR and lose precious time that is needed for your patients. By the time you get home you are so tired but unable to relax to be able to sleep. I have loved nursing for 37 years.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I remember feeling guilty being charge nurse on a floor where you had to assign 11 pts to each nurse, but I only took 10 and the extra $1.00/hr

Anonymous 1 year ago
I would love $1 and hour we only get $.50

Anonymous 3 years ago
Having to work with support staff who always think they are in charge when you are ultimately responsible for everything. Battles daily.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Susan, yours is the BEST article yet that I have read on "Nursing Together". During a period of "relocation transition" i considered a career change to nursing and went so far as to retake my "1980's" sciences, apply, enroll and attend a BA nursing program for one year--just long enough to get significant clinical experience which convinced me that the paradigm of nursing is more like serving in the Marines than a career of intimate personal care, delivered with intelligence, compassion, discernment and professionalism. However, I think the Marines does a better job at preparing recruits for the mission--physically and psychologically. That being said, I don't think my year of nursing school was a complete waste--instead, I believe I was put in the situation to learn how I could help the "active duty" personnel better cope with the battles they face--even help them avoid or minimize PTSD--through a thorough understanding of Myers Briggs Personality application. Ideally, Nursing school faculty and administration would get on board with this personality "protection", giving new recruits a fighting chance. If you would like to know more about what I would propose, please email me at: margaretmcintyre1536@yahoo.com. I have 20 years of experience with Myers Briggs type and 'transition coaching".

Anonymous 3 years ago
Recently encouraged by news the problem of how to improve bedside nursing has finally come to the forefront instead of more electronically equipped nurses. Would be nice if "THEY" realized we can only be stretched in so many directions.

Anonymous 3 years ago
To Lydia W. Thank you!!!! A good CNA is priceless to a nurse. They deserve so much more than they get in recognition and money. You do make a difference!!!!!

Anonymous 3 years ago
This is so perfect!

Anonymous 3 years ago
I hear ya. Add being let go ftom a job cause u are in constant arthritis pain after 41 yrsursing

Anonymous 3 years ago
All true... And when you are finally & totally burned out; you are so relieved to be able to say that you are "retired from nursing". It's like a load lifted off your shoulders & your family is so happy to see the calm, rested & happy person that you can be. I'm glad I was a nurse. I enjoyed it for many years. Now I'm happy to be retired.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Your hospital is so focused on charting that you get reprimanded for forgetting to chart something but ignored the fact that you gave excellent hands-on patient care. Conversely, the nurse that documented everything on the other shift left the patient in their own feces for hours....

Kathleen Gillies 10 months ago
Don't you love it. It takes a good 2.5 hours to do rounds because every patient is found with dry iv bags, lying in shite, wet to their ears or halfway down their beds, dressing changes not done, meds waiting, no water, with family members demanding Answers! Now! The phone ringing off the hook. (you would think Admin would give us cellphones but no, everyone else has them though). Then EPIC charting is the biggest time suck in the history of timesuck. We are perpetually understaffed--they won't hire anyone and have blocked all transfers. It's the Hotel California where I work. Just a year ago they were pushing primary nursing model because they were up for Magnet Status. We got it for them and now it's same old understaffing. I'm planning my escape.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Other Nurse's make working a living hell! ALWAYS! Everything else is fine it is the people you work WITH that make it hard.

Kathleen Gillies 10 months ago
Market Recovery is the fallback. Here's a coupon for free parking. Why fix anything. The reason I can't bring anyone a diet coke is because there is nothing stocked in the pantry and the kitchen closes before 7--whether there is a compelling medical reason why I could not be their waitress or not.

Anonymous 1 year ago
And families make it difficult - and management's reaction to those families. Management: "Oh, your nurse didn't bring you diet Coke when you asked her for it? I'll speak with her, I'm so sorry." I'm so done.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Yes, sooooooo true, and at the end of the dayl you feel that you've accomplished much to help patients get through the "difficult" times. We need to learn to take better care of ourselves so we can be there for others.

Anonymous 3 years ago
i'm not a nurse; but i am a cna and love what i do; i've learnt alot and know how to do a lot of extras that cna aren't supoose to know. thank to all the nurses. i try to make your job easier.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Pls. add dealing with other nurses, who are known to be judgemental of peers to the point of causing them so much stress they lose their job unfairly. There is now a quote "Nurses eat their young" that undermines good nurses who don't fit in their clique and cause devastating impact on these nurses and their families

Anonymous 2 months ago
I agree with the comment that nursing can be cliquey. I have seen this type of "popularity contest" attitude and behavior in a variety of healthcare settings with no regard for the victim's finances, credit, etc. C'mon people...this is not the school yard! We are supposed to be adult professionals.

Kathleen Gillies 10 months ago
Not all nurses do this. I am an experienced nurse and feel very nurturing to new nurses. Even though we train them for months, many quit after a year and it sometimes is hard to develop enthusiasm for yet another crop-- I feel that we should work together. New nurses should also learn that constructive criticism is not personal, they need to learn and all that is required is for them to agree to improve and admit their error. I don't write anyone up unless it is egregariious-- substance abuse on the job or patient abuse. It's up to management to handle the chronic latecomers and call ins. If someone falls asleep I wake them and send them to break to get some coffee but I hardly ever see this. Usually they are just exhausted from working so many hours which we are chronically asked to do.

Anonymous 3 years ago
What other profession do you carry a degree of guilt when you manage to get off on a major holiday?

Anonymous 3 years ago
have to fight management to be able to provide the level of care for patients that they would demand for their own family members.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Every thing that was listed was so accurate. But like Laura N. stated, PTSD was also part of the package for me and I had to leave floor nursing to salvage my own physical and mental health. But God bless those that can embrace it and endure.

Anonymous 3 years ago
There are some nurses that don't feel as compassionate as you do. I think it is a gift from God that you chose to be a dedicated nurse so as you are. My mother died of cancer at 57, there were no nurses like you. God bless your heart and soul. and the talent God gave you, with the extra feeling for your work.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Getting sexually assaulted by a physician and the hospital comes after you and puts the physician creep on a pedestal. We are still looked at as sex objects and pieces of meat.

Anonymous 1 year ago
Just say no loud enough for everyone to hear and then call and have a suit started against this monster because if done it to you he done it to others ...

Anonymous 3 years ago
So true. Thank you

Anonymous 3 years ago
Nursing is difficult because nurses choose to fly under the radar to avoid retaliation. They allow others to define their practice so you get what is in the best interest of the institution. Thus, your needs do not get met and you are caught in the crossfire between patient safety and efficiency.

Anonymous 4 years ago
Nurses are the greatest!

Anonymous 4 years ago
Forgot to add PSTD developed after 5 yrs of floor work at any hospital as evidenced by rapid heartbeat and shaking hands before each start of shift.

Anonymous 4 years ago
LOL! Very true, Thank God we can work through all that.

Anonymous 4 years ago
I love it!! So true. Thanks for posting! :)