Nurses Make Great Pet Parents (Yes, Even With That Schedule!)

There are almost 4 million professionally active nurses in the U.S. How many of them own a dog?
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While many nurses love dogs, they also find it difficult to balance pet parenthood with the reality of their long working hours. This is especially true for those who are single or don’t live near family who can help to keep their dog happy and busy.

Although long hours make pet parenthood more difficult, a quick search on Google turns up dozens of posts about dogs on forums like allnurses. “How does your dog handle 12-hour shifts?” asks one nurse in a recent post. Another poster states that she loves dogs, but is concerned about the heavy demands of her schedule and not spending enough time with her pet.

Nursing humor and lifestyle blog NurseBuff caught onto this trend, noticing the uptick in the number of questions about dogs and nurses on professional message boards and forums.

“There are a lot of nurses out there who want to have pet dogs but are not sure just how it’ll work out due to long hours at work, changing shifts, and night duty.” -NurseBuff

In spite of these concerns, there is no doubt that dogs improve anyone’s quality of life.

Yet, despite the challenges of their busy schedules, many nurses still embrace the joy of dog parenthood. Top nursing lifestyle magazine Scrubs offers up “5 Reasons Why Every Nurse Should Consider Adopting a Dog.” Beyond the fact that dogs are fabulous exercise partners, companions, and mood-boosters, they note that for nurses, the stress-relieving aspect of pet parenthood is especially vital.

“Caring for a dog during your off hours can feel so therapeutic…It’s like you can do no wrong, and it’s a wonderful feeling.” – Scrubs Magazine

Nursing can be a particularly stressful profession. After all, as is the case across the medical field, on-the-job decisions can literally make the difference between life and death. When you factor in the grueling hours and near-constant activity in many hospitals, you can see that nurses are juggling a lot—emotionally as well as physically. It can be hard to let it all go at the end of the day. That’s where a loving dog companion can have a hugely positive impact on a nurse’s life. It’s just easier to relax and let go when you’ve got a happy dog on your hands. After all, petting a dog is one of the best forms of stress relief there is.

The bottom line:

Nurses should be able to experience the love of a dog just like the rest of us—and maybe even more so.

Fortunately, with the rise of online networks like Rover, busy medical professionals can easily book loving, local dog walkingdog boarding, and doggy daycare.

It’s actually that simple. Pet parenthood for busy medical professionals? Seems doable.

This video captures the adorable moment an exhausted nurse dozed off after a busy shift cuddling her two pet bulldogs.

Rachel Martinko, 29, a nurse at Morton Plant Hospital in Florida, had just finished a long shift and returned home exhausted.

As she collapsed in bed she was joined by her dogs Cleatus, nine, and Opie, three.

What are your thoughts and concerns?

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