Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nursing Today

Last week one of my co-workers retired and upon his leaving he left all of us on the unit a letter. People had been frequently asking him how he felt about retiring and the letter was his response to that question.

He explained that for him, nursing had changed. "Nursing," he said "is an aggravating job." It seems as if every day there is more work to be done. More people to look over your shoulder, telling you how to do your job. Dictating what you do and when you do it. More rules and regulations to follow and less time to get it all done in a day. Our patients are sicker these days. Technology has advanced and yet the things that are supposed to help us often don't as they should.

The team work and the people will be missed... the chance to be apart of the world of nursing and it's advances in healthcare will be missed too. The back breaking nature of the job and the complete and utter exhaustion at the end of every shift will not. The lack of resources and help when we need it will not be missed either. Taking care of ICU patients and seeing them recover and the gratitude they have will be difficult to leave.

There will be a large void left with retiring from the nursing profession but as that door closes another shall open. The possibilities are endless.

"To put it simply," he said "excited would be a good word for how I feel."

It was so poignant and concise. There was no hesitation in getting straight to it. Nursing is a difficult, frustrating and yes... at times an aggravating job. There are some amazing, rewarding parts of the profession and we are lucky to work with a great group of people.... but when you get to a point when you go home every day worn to the bone and your days off are devoted to recovery... that's when you know it is time to go.

As I sat and read his letter... over and over.... the entire time I kept thinking, "That is exactly how I feel about this job." It was heartbreaking in some ways. To realize that I have come to a point in such a short amount of time where leaving the profession sounds like such a relief.

My health has not been great over the past few months. I have found myself feeling recluse and tired and empty lately when it comes to nursing. There have been moments where I have loved my job and moments where I think, "Now this is why I am a nurse." Yet, overall I feel like I don't have much left to give people... and that includes friends and family which is why it feels so defeating. We have very little support from management and often times I just tend to avoid them at all costs.

Life has been busy too and because I have a night shift schedule I don't ever feel like I have a normal life... or a normal marriage which can be hard. It wears you down sometimes and I don't think it is something that people understand easily.... nor do they have empathy for it.
So... for now I have been praying about it and looking at other options. I don't plan on leaving nursing but it makes me wonder if staying in the ICU will be for me. Who knows? The one thing I can say though is that the world of nursing is large and I know that no matter what I do... I will have many doors to choose from. It's just a matter of having the courage to open one of them. 


  1. Good morning, Andi. Praying for your peace on this. From what I've read, you have been a natural from the start. It takes a lot of guts to be an ICU nurse. These were the nurses I always revered and had the greatest fear of!

    But seriously. . . . follow your heart. Our jobs ask a lot of us. Sometimes you must take pause.

  2. the great thing about nursing is you have SO MANY options!! you are not stuck in the ICU- you can do almost anything. will pray for wisdom!

  3. May the Lord give you wisdom...

  4. This is coming from an ICU nurse of only 3 months. If it is time to go, it is time to go. Enjoy life! You can leave the bedside without leaving nursing. I have NO intensions of remaining at the bedside and am currently counting down the days! Warmest Regards and much love to you in your future regards.