Superwoman may be pretty but saving lives isn't

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

As a Registered nurse I hear a lot of “You only have to work 3 days a week? you’re so lucky!" Yeah it sounds good, I know, but you have no idea what we endure during those 12 hour shifts, 3 days a week. Have you ever been in a code blue or witnessed one? If you’re not a healthcare professional, you probably haven’t unless it’s involved yourself or a loved one. A code blue is universal term used in hospitals indicating someone, somewhere has gone into cardiac arrest which means their heart has stopped beating and they are not breathing. Pretty similar to what you might have seen depicted in shows like Grey’s Anatomy or House only they don’t really show you what truly goes on in that room. It’s different when you are the Nurse and it is your patient.

You most likely have been fighting for minutes on hours with your critical care team to stabilize your patient but the ugly truth is..we can’t save everyone.

"When nursing gets REAL."

The other ugly side of the truth is.. the reality. When you’re performing REAL compressions on a patient, you usually break a rib or two. If their heart doesn’t start beating after a few minutes of doing compressions and pushing ACLS drugs, you may have to defibrillate AKA shock the hell out of them in an attempt to restart their heart. When you, the non-nurse employee, leaves work to go home you’re probably exhausted from an annoying/rude customer or all the paperwork/assignments that were left undone.. whereas when nurses leave work, we are emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted from all of the above AND some. It isn't easy explaining to a family member that their son, daughter, mother or father is dying or explaining to the resident why ordering that medication may not be best for the patient right now. Even taking a patient to the morgue after you’ve coded them all day can take a toll on you. It is so easy for us to burn out or feel emotionally drained for the work we do. If my heart was not in this profession, I’m not sure that I could endure all of the above and still WANT to be a nurse. I can't speak for everyone but I can speak for myself when I say it’s the little things that remind me why I entered this profession in the first place. It can be as simple as seeing that ICU patient stand up at the side of the bed for the first time in months because they’ve been so sick.. to simply being told “thank you for all you do” .. it keeps my heart in this profession and reminds me why I started because superwoman may be pretty.. but saving lives isn’t.

Have any of you had an experience that "wasn't pretty" while at work? Let me know in the comments below! #RNrealnursing

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