When you get caught up in the clinical side of nursing, it is easy to lose sight of your patients and their families…and why you went into nursing in the first place. This is one nurse’s reminder of why she chose to nurse, and ultimately what she is grateful for as a nurse.

A look at what a career in nursing can provide – reaching far beyond just another paycheck. An acknowledgment of all the many ways nursing has given me a sense of gratitude and thankfulness. by  Ashley Hay, BSN, RN

For more news, views and funny stuff follow Trending Nurses on Facebook:

With the fall season in full swing, themes of pumpkin-flavored everything, brightly colored foliage and crisp mornings are all around us. While I will not deny my undying love for pumpkin spice lattes, another important thought also comes to mind during this season – gratitude. When reflecting recently on things I’m thankful for, my nursing career and all it has provided seemed to somehow bubble toward the top of the list.

Stability & Opportunity

Pursuing a career in nursing gave me a stable income, something I hadn’t had previously. Over the years, my earned income has allowed me to provide for a family, travel to amazing places, buy a house and continue to pay the ever-growing list of bills that seem to accumulate with age. While I don’t think any bedside nurse is swimming in an excess of cash, a nursing career can provide a steady stream of income and having that comfort is not something I take lightly. I’m grateful to have a solid way to provide for myself and loved ones.

The field of nursing is filled with opportunity. This is no longer your grandmother’s idea of nursing (so to speak) – where working in a hospital or for a physician is the only possible setting for your hard-earned skills. After over a decade at the bedside, I realized there was more that this career had in store for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to utilize and expand my skill set from bedside care and to use it in several new roles: case management, clinical educator, healthcare content writer, consulting and much more. I’m incredibly thankful I chose a career that could stand the test of time while also allowing me to branch out creatively – and get paid to do it all while still helping others in some capacity.

Greater Understanding

Going into nursing at a young age, I feel I owe a lot of my character development to this career. You quickly realize what matters and what really just doesn’t. Being a nurse has a funny way of putting life into perspective, no matter your age when you enter the healthcare setting. Seeing life and death, suffering and joy – all in its purest, most raw forms, first hand, changes a person. If being a bedside nurse doesn’t give you a greater understanding of life and true empathy, nothing will. And, for this experience, for being able to be a part of a patient’s healthcare journey, I am filled with gratitude.

All Kinds of Kinds

As the years go by, the number of patients and families I’ve met seems to blur into an incomprehensible number. Yet so many individuals are still clear as day in my mind – their names and faces, their story, their pain, their successes. Being exposed to so many different cultures, personality types, and temperaments have given me a useful tool to carry with me outside of my life at work. Learning to work together despite our differences is a lesson I’ll gladly take a refresher course on time and time again. Being a nurse can frequently mean practicing a delicate balancing act between providing comfort and setting boundaries, a valuable tactic that reaches far beyond just nursing.

Life Lessons

I’ve been a type-A personality for as long as I can remember. Nursing has been a wonderful way for me to harness this; teaching me the value of being flexible yet allowing room for my love of organization. We all know time management is key to a good day on the floor – but the truth is sometimes the best-laid plans just don’t matter in healthcare. I quickly learned that if I couldn’t roll with it – I would be flattened and steamrolled by the nursing powers that be. I’m grateful to have a career where I was able to learn it is possible to loosen up and yet still be effective – as a nurse, wife, entrepreneur, friend, and much more.

What are you thankful for this season? What has your nursing career given you?

For more news, views and funny stuff follow Trending Nurses on Facebook: