How Are We Doing?

Patient thanks

In nursing, no news is often good news for a nurse. Your boss will tell you if you are doing something that is, “not quite living up to the corporate brand.” The job can feel thankless at times. There is so much doubt when starting out as a new nurse.

At some point, I stopped looking for the approval of my managers.

I stopped looking for my own approval. I became focused on what my patients and their families were saying about me. It did not happen all the time, but gradually I started to hear their appreciation. Sometimes there were long droughts. However, as I developed my practice and grew in confidence, I heard things I like:

“I didn’t even feel that heparin/Lovenox injection.”

“No one has explained that in a way I could understand until now.”

“I usually bleed like crazy when other nurses put a (Foley) catheter in me.”

I wish I were pulling your leg with that last one. Your patients will tell you if you are doing well. It does not happen 100% of the time, but it is a pretty good gauge when you are starting out. Do not be surprised if people bring you food, I even got soup once. Around the holidays, people try to give you money (in long-term care).

We cannot accept money. Some families would insist. My manager and I started a war chest with these funds. She liked to cook and we used the money to buy ingredients for birthday cakes. Everyone in the old folks home got a birthday cake of their choosing and often balloons too.

I personally like getting a “Thank You” card, sent to my place of work. Nothing brightens up a dark day when someone takes time to put pen to paper and stamp an envelope your way. If they leave an address I always write back. I take the cards and put them in a binder (make a binder if you don’t have one, bring it to job interviews). Anytime someone says something nice about me in writing I save it, then off to the binder.

The job does not always love you, but sometimes the patients do, and the appreciation feels awesome. Be kind, be gentle, be supportive and you might be surprised when you find out how well you are doing.

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