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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why I Work at a Nursing Home

Whenever my profession is discussed someone invariably asks me where I work.  As a nurse where you work often defines how people view you as a nurse.  And, for the record, the vast majority of people (especially other nurses) wrinkle their noses when I say I work at a nursing home.  Then the question always follows...

Why?  

Why would a young, intelligent, promising young RN work at a nursing home?  

There are so many preconceived opinions about those nurses who work in the nursing home.  Its a place for retired nurses.  Its a place for nurses who don't know how to be real nurses.  It is quite the taboo being a nurse in a nursing home, especially one who has promise in her career field.  

But you know what?

I love my job.

And I will tell you why.

I have the ability to have a direct positive effect on dozens of people's lives everyday.  Rather than specializing in a narrow field I have patients of many age ranges who are there for short term rehabilitation or long term care.  Some I watch heal and go home, meeting their goals, while others I comfort as they ease out of this world.  The variety I encounter is endless; from emergencies, massive amounts of pharmacology, interpretation of lab values, wound care, surgical recovery, psychology, physical therapy, general medicine, nursing education, and so on.  You have to know it all, expect it all, and assess it all as a nurse in a nursing home.  

Also, I get to do a heck of a lot more than most nurses.  There are no IV or wound care teams, cardiac technicians, or any other specialty trained personnel to rush in during an unusual situation.  Its just us nursing home nurses.  I've started IVs, administered first aid, removed staples, done sterile procedures, talked down delirious and demented patients, performed CPR, given medications every route possible, and dealt with every possible body system on either a male or female in one crisis or another.  Granted I haven't delivered a baby...  but sometimes being there at the end of a life is just as special as the beginning. 

I haven't even included all my managerial tasks considering I am also the Assistant Directors of Nursing, the Infection Control Officer, and Nurse Educator all rolled into one.  

Given all that I cannot fathom why people, especially other nurses, have such a disdain and lack of respect for a nurse who wants her career to be in a nursing home.  There's a lot to be said for one who has to be a jack of all trades while caring for twenty or more people at the same time. 

And that's why I love my job...  for all I get to do and for all the people I get to care for.  


Maybe one day people will stop asking me why. 

16 comments:

Karen @ away for the weekend said...

Thank goodness for dedicated nurses in nursing homes! Many of us will likely end up in one someday. Thank you for making other people's lives better.

jillian said...

I am not a nurse, but my Dad has spent years in nursing homes. Being only in his 50's it was tough. His nurses made all the difference. Thank you for all you do and for taking pride in your amazing work. I agree that to be there at the end of life is definitely as important as the beginning.

Rachel said...

:) It is such a blessing that you do work where you do and that you love doing it as much as you do. The people who you work with every day must love you and appreciate what you do.

laraine said...

My mom has been in a nursing home since January. It takes a very special person to be able to care for these folks. All the nurses she has are kind, gentle, knowledgeable and truly care about the people there.

You must also be very special to have been picked to care for people who need such special nurses.

Mel said...

It takes someone special to care for the elderly in a nursing home. And I think all those nurses who look down on you really know they just can't cut it there. And anyone who has ever had a loved one cared for in a nursing home knows how special nursing home nurses really are.

Beckie's Infertile said...

I ditto many of the comments above! Thank god for people like you!!!!

Mary Ann said...

It is somewhat of a reflection, perhaps, on the value we also place on the elderly. It is wonderful that you enjoy your job, especially as a young and growing professional.

sbrenneman said...

Awesome description of your job and your love of it shines through.

Solomon's Porch said...

Thanks to the Good Lord for people (nurses)like you, you go girl!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is a CNA in a nursing home. There are 3 floors and each floor has it's own set of challenges. She is lucky to have an administrative team, nursing mentors and co-workers that she can learn from and who provide her the opportunity to learn, fail and, throughtout it all, shine. I, as her parent, feel there is much to be said for young professionals who care for and learn from those who have lived, and suffered, in life. My daughter is discovering and experiencing, through the hearts, minds and bodies of her patients the humor, pain and, sometimes just plain ridiculousness, in being their caregiver. She is learning compassion, feeling hope and, yes, in some instances, experiencing life's cruelty and futility. Throughout it all, they are teaching her, whether she fully recognizes it or not. She will, far and away, be a better nurse for having had all these people in her life, cutting a path for her and allowing her to explore and experience on her own. I thank God everyday she has administrators who recognize her talent and allow her humanity to shine.

Pam said...

And as a family member of nursing home patients, I really appreciate nurses like you. Our nursing home is teaming with young energetic nurses. Thanks for what you do.

Nolie said...

Hey someone has to take care of our elderly who can no longer live on their own. No one should wrinkle noses at you. Who do they think will care for them when they are old?

Suzanne Mc said...

I have told you before and I'll tell you again, thank you for being a nursing home nurse!!!!! You are such a blessing! My mom lived in a nursing home for over 4 1/2 years until her death this past October and I have so much respect and admiration for what you do. Our elderly people are not worthless, useless, or throw-aways! Without loving, caring people like you so many of these people would not get the care they need. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

kittyhere said...

Thank you for loving your job and knowing that it is important even if your peers don't give you the credit and status you deserve. Having done months of visits to my mother-in-law and then my own mom in nursing homes I can tell you families are thrilled when they find dedicated, smart, caring nursing staff on duty. We need people who are tops in their field everywhere, especially caring for those in nursing home/rehab care.

Sheryl "The Wilderness Wife" Thompson said...

God Bless you for taking care of the elderly. The one thing that most of us can count on is that we are going to grow old. And if we do, we are going to have to be taken care of at some point. Very few families can take care of their elders afetr they reach a certain age. And I hope that that when I have to be in a nursing home (not that far off at age 65), there is a kind and gentle soul like yourself there to take care of me. Gob Bless you for the Noble Work you do!!!!!!

Pillar Of Autumn said...

While your work in the nursing home is a great endevour and sorely needed with the population getting as old as the hills....let's call a spade a spade.....there really aren't a lot of jobs in Vermont and you take what you can get.

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