5 facts new nurses must know before entering the profession

Providing medical care to patients is just one aspect of the day-to-day job of the average nurse. He or she must also have skills as a waiter or waitress as well as a mediator, according to a piece in Cosmopolitan.

Allyson Lenoci, a registered nurse who works at a District of Columbia hospital, writes that she wished she knew the truth about the nursing profession before she entered the workforce. In addition to daily challenges, such as excessive patient loads, staffing shortages, long shifts and workplace bullying. she lists other facts for new nurses, including: 

1. Being a nurse involves more than just medical care. Nurses are patient advocates, waitresses, housekeepers, electricians, technology experts and mediators between not just families and doctors, but between feuding family members, she says. They get asked many times a day to do everything from reheating patients' food to providing them with the Wi-Fi password.

2. It's way more work than it looks like. The job may be advertised as three day a week for 12 hours a shift, but expect to work longer hours, she says. When their shift ends, nurses must provide oncoming nursing staff with a report on their patients. Add in commuting time and days average more like 15 hours, she writes. And nurses are often asked to come in on their "day off" because the hospital is short-staffed.

3. It's also a physical job that takes its toll on the body. Many nurses develop back problems, making it important to use proper body mechanics. A report by the Occupational Health Safety Network found nurses and nursing assistants experienced 57 percent of the overall injuries to healthcare workers.

4. Co-workers truly feel like family. Despite reports that bullying is rampant in the profession, Lenoci writes that nurses grow close to the people they work with faster than any other friend or significant other. Co-workers understand the stress and love of work more than others, she says. 

5. Nurses must make sure they really want to do the job. "This is a very thankless, underappreciated job," she writes. "Your heart has to be in it." Lenoci describes her nursing career as a love-hate relationship. There are the lows that come with the death of a patient and the highs of knowing you helped save someone's life that day. 

To learn more:
- read the article

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