Nurses, Know Your Worth

When I started nursing school, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would ever leave the nursing profession. Taking care of patients gave me purpose. I often said if I didn’t have a family, I would have worked every single day of my life. And while I put my husband through law school, I literally did work every single day for four whole years, my days off few and far between.  I can’t even say I regret it. I loved my patients, and I still do. No career could be better than serving people in their time of need. I love the fact that a bond can be formed in one short shift, and years later patients will still stop me in the grocery store and tap me on the shoulder at restaurants. “You were my nurse!” They always exclaim with a smile on their face. And I laugh and nod and say what I always would say…it’s hard to recognize you now that you’re not pregnant!

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 But as the years have flown by, I have gotten older, and to be honest, I didn’t realize it would happen so fast. As a new nurse, I use to wish with everything in me that I could have just one thing: experience. And now, with a little experience in my pocket, I understand why people leave the nursing profession. What no one told me as a new graduate nurse is that I would go through my career and sometimes feel worthless at work, no matter how hard I tried and regardless of my intentions. What no one told me as a new graduate nurse is that I would go through my career and sometimes feel robbed of a voice, sometimes unsure and uncertain if my voice was as important as the physician in front of me, or the administrator above me.  And I know I am not alone. What every nurse out there should know is that we all share the same struggles, and our voice is stronger than we sometimes realize.  Think of yourself as a new grad, and think of where you are now. Think of everything you have experienced in your career as a nurse and know that your voice has power. Every time you feel as if you have no work worth, think of everything you have done with your voice. Think of what we could do with our collected voice. Even when others around you do not see or hear the voice within you, remember that it is still there. The next time you are in public, a patient may tap your shoulder and remind you that you were their nurse. They remember you. They remember the care and compassion you gave. Tomorrow as we all head to work, think of what you will say with your nursing voice. And remember: Do not ever let others define who you are as a nurse.

Until my next delivery ❤


17 thoughts on “Nurses, Know Your Worth

  • January 26, 2016 at 5:07 am
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    Thank you so much for writing this. My last shift I left in tears, my preceptor made me feel so worthless in front of doctors and patients, and I seriously thought about not going back. I needed to read this today.

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    • January 26, 2016 at 9:13 am
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      Ashley – my heart breaks when I hear new orientees feel that way. Totally inexcusable behavior on part of your preceptor. And you should go talk to your clinical educator or manager about it. Have you observed another nurse that you do admire her work-style or has at least been cordial to you? Ask to be switched to them.

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    • February 5, 2016 at 8:27 am
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      Ashley keep your chin up! I had an experience with a preceptor in nursing school and my revenge was to send her an invite to my graduation!!! I had to prove to her that her words did not discourage me and that I had the power to succeed regardless of her opinion of me!

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  • January 26, 2016 at 5:22 am
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    Ashley C.,
    I am thinking you may be a new grad? Not because you are being precepted – even seasoned nurses have to learn new things when going into a new specialty. But because a preceptor made you feel that badly about yourself and the situation. That is horrible on his/her part! NO person should be treated like that! Please, please try to feel better about things – and ask to talk c them. The preceptor should know better…..

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  • January 26, 2016 at 10:50 am
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    New grads and nurses new to a speciality bring a breath of fresh air to any nursing unit. Yes, they have a lot to learn but who better to teach them is the seasoned nurse. Unfortunately, Amy had a bad experience with her preceptor, she has learned a valuable lesson that will make her an exceptional preceptor in years to come. As a nurse for 33 years I have never regretted the choice I made. Again, hard work, holidays missed, absent at children’s events and mandatory call has been erased in my mind when I am at the bedside caring for my patients. New nurses need to to be resilient, let their voices be heard and wait for that first magical moment (one of many) to happen, then you will know why you became a nurse then you will know your worth.

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  • January 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm
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    Shelley,
    Thanks so much for this article. I have staff meetings this week and was looking to read something inspirational.
    Ashley,
    Hold your head up high and remember why you became a nurse. Do not let that moment define you and do not let that preceptor get to you. Use your voice, explain to her how you felt and if it doesn’t get better ask for a new preceptor. You deserve that…

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  • January 26, 2016 at 2:06 pm
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    I retired two years ago after 41 years as a nurse, 38 of those years in L&D, I was also a clinical instructor for nursing students. I loved my job but it was sometime very difficult to remember why I did it or wonder if I made a difference, It is so important that nurses support each other when no one else will. I was in middle management for several years and was caught in the middle….never seeming to make anyone happy. I returned to bedside nursing and remembered why I did what I did. I was able to not pay attention (or not care) about all the “stuff”, the politics on the unit. I focused on my patients and had confidence in doing the right things for the right reasons. Nurses need to love and support each other….something we’re not always good at. I know there are rough times, but never forget that you do make a difference for your patients. I love retirement, don’t miss the hard physical work of nursing, but do miss the interactions with patients and feeling like I”m making a difference,

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  • January 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm
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    I left teaching because the staff nurses in OB were mean to my students. We were not welcome on any unit. Statements like,” Oh no. Not students AGAIN!”
    Maybe hospitals are flooded with students…I really don’t know why seasoned nurses get so cynical and downright cruel to students and new grads.

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    • January 26, 2016 at 4:54 pm
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      I teach as well, and I had the exact same experience. But I complained, and the rest of the units were BEYOND awesome. Lol

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  • January 27, 2016 at 4:16 am
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    I am a still a new nurse. I graduated nursing school a little over a year ago. I started out in Post Partum and I have spent the last 11 months in L&D. To say that I love my job is an understatement. I love what I get to do and be able to call it a “job.”

    Yesterday was a rough day, and I did the best I could do for my patients. I still have so much to learn and confidence to gain. Confidence is a weakness of mine, but I am a work in progress and each day is filled with lessons learned.

    Thank you for this post! I needed it :)

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  • January 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm
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    I’m a second career RN in my late 40s; I’ve been working as an RN for a year now. I started in a super busy ER (my “dream” job) and quickly wondered if I made the wrong decision to quit my former career. After just a few months, I was burnt out. I despised going to work. I wanted OUT. After some soul searching, I remembered my childhood dream of becoming an OB/GYN MD. While I have no longer have the desire to go to med school, I’m ecstatic to say that I’m starting on a small LDRP unit next week! I already feel like a burden has been lifted. I’m excited about reviewing my maternity textbooks. I joined AWHONN. I feel at peace. :)

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  • January 31, 2016 at 6:55 pm
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    I have elected to share this with my preceptors in my organization, to use as a form of self reflection, to assure these behaviors do not occur in mu organization. Thank you for sharing.

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    • January 31, 2016 at 7:12 pm
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      Let me clarify my above comment, my goal is to assure the negative behaviors that make young nurses feel worthless and not valued, do not occur. As a Nurse Executive it is critical to hear the voices and concerns of the nursing staff. My role is to advocate for the nurses, so they can provide the best care possible, they can’t do that if they feel worthless. RN are NOT HANDMAIDENS of the doctors, we are Professionals who are well trained and educated nurses!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply

I want to hear what you have to say!

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