I recently worked as a registered nurse for a local nursing home. I completed my schooling for my nursing degree eight years ago and have been working in the field since then. However, I recently took some time off to spend with my children, so currently, I am not working in the nursing home. I would describe myself as organized, quiet and helpful.
Being a white female has definitely helped in my career. I feel that some of the patients that I work with see me as an equal since most of the patients I care for are Caucasian, as well. Many of the female patients will talk to me about their problems more than I have seen with some of the other ethnicities or genders. The only discrimination I have experienced is when I first came on board as a nurse. I was young and was not really sure what I wanted to do, so some of the older nurses were skeptical of my skills.
My job consists of giving the patients at the nursing home medications and wrapping wounds that they may have. I do not do baths or dress patients, but I will sit and talk to patients if I have the time to do so. I give injections that patients need and I can also start an IV if it is needed. One of the things that people think nurses do not do is take care of the patient. Many people think that the nurse gives the medicines and do the paper work, and that’s it. This is not the case with my job – I love talking with the patients and I will try to help out when I can. If I am not doing anything and have a few minutes, I will help some of the nursing assistants with a patient, as well.
When I was working, I would say that the overall satisfaction of my job was at an eight. Most of my days were filled with people who came to work happy and ready to work with the patients. However, the one thing I would change is the people who come to work in a nursing home and don’t want to be there. If you don’t care about the job, don’t come to work and spread your misery around.
I am a single mother and while I was in nursing school I had a small child and was pregnant with my second. It was difficult having a child while I was getting my nursing degree. But fortunately, my daughter was born in the summer so I did not miss class. My teachers were excellent about my situation and I had great support. Nursing requires at least two years of schooling that can be received at a community college.
I always wanted to work in the medical field in high school. When my mother decided going off to college was not for me, I decided to get my nursing degree instead. It was honestly not what I wanted to do with my life, but since I have been working in the field, I would not change it for anything. If I could turn back time, I would have gone on to medical school after I got my nursing degree.
Nursing is not the easy job that people may think it is. It is hard work and the schooling is hard. I thought that becoming a nurse would be just book work and then sitting back and watching the nursing assistants doing the busywork. I was wrong! Nurses have more responsibility than the nursing assistants because the life of the patient rest with the decisions that you make.
There are a few things that I have seen that are strange working in a nursing home. One of the strangest, and also the sweetest, was a couple who decided to have a sleepover in one of the rooms. They thought no one would catch them but janitors have to clean the rooms even if there is not a patient in them.
Every day is a new challenge. I get up and go to work because I know that I will be a friendly face that patients will see that they may not see in their family or friends. It is comforting to know that I bring a little sunshine into someone’s life.
One of the biggest challenges is when there is a nursing assistant who does not want to pull their weight. This makes my job harder because I have to go back and do the job they were supposed to do. The working world is brutal and you have to know what you want in life in order to succeed at your career.
Death is inevitable at a nursing home. This is the most stressful part of my job and something that I wish I didn’t have to deal with. However, it is okay if people see you cry over a death of a patient; it shows you care about what you do. When a patient passes away, because I know it will happen where I work, it pulls at my heart strings. I know I have had some form of contact with that patient and maybe there was something I could have done to help that person live longer. Then there are those who give you the smile in the morning or during the day after you fluff their pillow or brush their hair. All they want is the attention you give them.
I make about 15 dollars an hour and I work 40 hours a week. Starting salary is about $30,000 depending on where you work and the facility you work in. I would say I can manage my money, but I enjoy the raises I get.
I get two weeks of vacation a year and it is not enough! Seriously, I take my vacation spaced out and I manage it well.
I would tell my best friend to be sure you know what you are getting into. You have to have a heart to be a nurse.
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