My work keeps me going

I came to work one day last month and noticed that one of the patients could walk on their own with a stick, unassisted. I was so happy and asked them how they were feeling about it. They said that they were surprised to see themselves walking again. I said that means we are working miracles here, and they agreed that ‘miracle’ is the correct word for it.

For a day shift I always set my alarm for 5:20 am and in order to leave the house at 6:40 am. For a night shift, which I do more of because of childcare, I leave the house at 18:35 pm. My main motivation to go to work is just knowing that we are changing lives. Some of our patients come to us nonverbal, PEG feeding (through a tube), and hoisted. Some weeks the changes that happen will surprise me. The human body is a complex entity, but knowing that I somehow contributed to make that change in the patient happen keeps me going no matter what difficulties I’m encountering in the job.

For example, I wrote to my manager recently about my being the only nurse on duty when there are supposed to be two of us. The workload might not be heavy, but my confidence was so low today because of my personal circumstances. Being a nurse – and equally a human being – with some pressing problems in life makes me doubt myself most of the time. Staffing shortages are the main cause of problems for new nurses and our ability to adapt easily or not. Today, my manager could only provide somebody to stay until 22:30 in order to help me with drug rounds.

I needed more than that, but coming into the ward and knowing that our patients rely on us to get better makes me forget my personal issues for a while. I love my job, I really do.

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