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 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.