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Nurses Week Lookback: As a nurse in 2023, what do you want to share with the world?

December 28, 2023

Back in May, we celebrated nurse’s week by giving nurses a platform to share their thoughts and stories.
One question we asked was:

As a nurse in 2023, what do you want to share with the world?

Their responses were raw, honest, and powerful. As we approach 2024, let’s revisit their voices and reflect on how we can honor them with understanding, appreciation, and maybe even a helping hand. Dive into their stories, their realities, and discover what nurses wanted us to know in 2023.

Samantha, LPN:

“As a nurse working and continuing my education post-pandemic, I want to share with the non-nursing world that nursing is hard!

Nursing isn’t only knowing what to do for the patient if they are sick, committing, or crashing, it’s also being a caring, knowledgeable, kind-hearted, listener.

Some of the patients I have come in contact with over the years are completely stable medically and just need someone to talk to, to share memories, or get something of their mind. A kind, caring nurse takes that home with them at the end of their shift, and for the rest of their life.

I could share many stories of patients sharing heartbreaking stories with me, one in particular stands out. It was mid-pandemic; I was on the COVID unit in full PPE and my patient was a retired nurse. She was VERY hard of hearing so communication with an N95 on was VERY difficult. We used a white board to communicate with her. She was lonely and missed interacting with her peers on the unit and for activities. She was a social butterfly usually but in this seclusion she was digging into past memories. She shared with me her last moments spent with her husband of over 50+ years, after she made the decision to remove him from life support. We spent a lot of time together over the rest of my time on this assignment and both enjoyed our time spent together. She wished me wellness, and safe travels on my last night shift, and I wished her happiness and good health. I still often find myself wondering how she is doing, or even if she is still on the earth.

I don’t think that many non-healthcare workers understand that for most nurses it’s not just a shift, something that happens during that shift can have a lifelong impact on you and the nurse can carry that with them for the entirety of their lives.“

Daniel, RN:

“Having endured the hardships through covid and the changing landscape of healthcare has taught me some important lessons.

Life is too short to worry about the small stuff.

Make time for your family and remember to take care of them and yourself as much as you do your patients.

This job will either make you stronger or make you want to quit. So many nurses that have continued to work through these trying times have grown into excellent leaders. Some of the leaders that thought they knew how to manage these trying times needed to go back to the bedside and find out firsthand what a struggle things still are and were.

Don’t ever give up on nursing, there will always be a field or specialty you might enjoy better than what you’re currently doing. Even through all the struggles it’s still a rewarding field. It’s still worth it“

Anonymous, RN:

“Nurses tend to care for everyone, but they need to take time out for themselves.

Corey, LPN:

As a nurse in 2023, I would like to tell all of my other fellow nurses that your self-care and mental health should always be a major priority for yourself. Our job consists of long hours, physical demands, and emotional involvement. The list can go on and on in our field with the stresses that we deal with on a daily basis.

As nurses, we tend to put everyone else first. When we are at work, we always put our residents and patients’ needs first. I am sure this is also the case when we leave our jobs as well as in our personal lives. Nurses are very giving individuals and often forget about themselves in the grand scheme of things throughout daily life. I believe this is why we need to remember on our days off to always get rest and have down time. Rest during our time off is so important to our body and mind. I also believe having a support system in place is super important. If you are fortunate enough to have one, I recommend using it to the fullest. It is so important to vent or discuss your feelings on things that you have had to see or deal with throughout your day and career. (Within HIPPA guidelines)

I would like to conclude with this: I truthfully can’t imagine working in another field or doing anything else career-wise. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am happy that I took a chance to move forward in my career. This past year working for GHR has been so wonderful and life changing for not only myself, but my family as well. Please, I encourage you all to prioritize the importance of your mind, body, and self-worth in your career. I wish you all the best in your careers and life.”

Anonymous, RN:

Nursing during the pandemic has taught us that we need to take care of ourselves if we want to be effective caregivers. I heard a quote that embodies this mentality which is, ‘don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.’

If, as nurses, we don’t maintain a healthy work life balance and care for our mental health, we will inevitably burn out and our patients will suffer. It’s the reason that more nurses than ever before are leaving the workforce.”

Nancy, RN:

“I have been a nurse for 47 years and have worked in various specialties according to the needs of my family. Over the years my love for nursing has never changed, it has just evolved with the changing times. One aspect that has not changed is loving what you do and why you do it.

If I have one thing to share with the modern nurses of today is to forget technology for a moment and take a real look at your patient. Do not forget they are a person just like you, scared, vulnerable, and needy. All they really want is a friendly face, reassurance, and kindness!

Take it from me, it does not matter how skilled you are, nothing is more rememberable than the KIND NURSE! Caring is the greatest gift you can give someone. Be that nurse!”

Ashley, RN:

“We are trying our best! In a difficult healthcare system, nurses are trying so hard to make sure our patients are safe and taken care of!”

Jill, RN:

“I want to share the world that nurses made everything possible to work during pandemic. I am so proud as a nurse during the Covid pandemic, when there was only nurses working on the whole units taking care of the covid patients. To me, that was being brave to face one of the major challenges in health care.”

Anonymous, RN:

“We survived a pandemic, and as a nurse, there has always been short staffing and high demands. Being brave enough to be on the frontlines increased demands even more. The spotlight highlighted the tasks that nurses put above themselves and their families and loved ones to care for others and other families and loved ones. As the nursing shortage remains, I feel more appreciated by companies like GHR who allow flexibility with great benefits. I am proud to care for others and I know that I made the right decision in my career path!”

Casey, RN:

“Please be kind. This is what I’d like to share with fellow nurses and patients throughout the world.

Nursing is such a thankless job, and that’s okay – we know that going into the long hours and the difficult shifts working so hard to save lives – but families need to remember that we’re people too. We are people struggling just as they are. We are people who are still battling the depression and burnout from Covid that feels as though it’ll never go away.

Be kind to each other, uplift each other as nurses and make for a positive and fun working atmosphere. Overall, just be kind.”

Anonymous, RN:

“Give love and compassion to everyone, even when you get annoyed.”

Debbie, LPN:

“The world of health care is changing. We need to change with it to survive. I am not liking the way things are going but as a nurse I feel we don’t have much choice.

Nurses need to remain compassionate and caring with everyone they meet. We need to care for these people the best we can.

I have worked in all departments but for the last couple of years it’s been LTC. These elderly need us to care for all their needs good or bad!!! I share their good times and bad times. I love rehab and get to see them either get better or turn to an SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility) side. I have seen life and death. Both happen as a circle of life. I laugh with them I cry with them. Every day I show up because they need us. I think we all need to stand together and make a change. We can talk daily with our residents, we can with their families. We can do whatever we put our minds to. Thank you for being in the health care system.”

Priscilla, RN:

“Be kind to everyone.“

Rose, LPN:

“I like the opportunities nurses are offered to choose how they want to work.

They can choose to work full-time, part-time, per-diem, etc.

Nurses can work directly for nursing homes, staffing companies (agencies), etc.

Nurses also have the opportunity to work in different facilities such as in the hospitals, LTC nursing homes, rehab settings, group homes, home care, etc. Nurses can work in different departments like geriatrics, pediatrics, maternities, ICU, ER, etc. MCU (Memory Care Unite), personal care, LTC, rehab, doctor’s offices, etc.

Nurses can work locally or work as travel nurses, work from home, etc.

There are so many opportunities offered to nurses in 2023.”

Moriam, RN:

“Let’s be in the habit of providing care to our populations by using the acronym CARE to support our treatment for greater outcome.

C: Communicate by explaining the care you are giving, reason, duration, and end your service by thanking the patient/family that chose your hospital.

A: Aspire.

R: Respond in a timely manner.

E: Engage patient/family per consent.”

Self-care, kindness, bravery, and opportunity. These are the words that came up the most when we asked nurses what they wanted the world to know in 2023. Let us all take that to heart into 2024 and show gratitude for our nation’s frontline caregivers. ♡

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