Why being a nurse isn’t just a job

I totally get the gravity of my job, it isn’t just a job, it is people’s lives and I think that is what makes being a nurse so very hard. We were assured there would be nursing jobs out the rear when we graduated in May 05. I was hired as a critical care nurse on a day shift (I was impressed too) almost two months before graduating.
My instructors warned us of the horror of nursing and our class felt better prepared. We were given the worst of the worst during clinicals and Lord help you if you didn’t know everything about that patient before your shift. We did a lot of critical care and unit clinicals which I loved, but it still somehow never fully prepares you.
I knew it would be hard, I knew it would be a challenge, the good days I love, but the bad ones…you know the ones…. leave you feeling drained and so very tired and sometimes ready to scream and cry all at once after it is finally over. I thank God it is 3 days a week…really, that is all anyone should ever ask of a nurse. What really gets me is when you have a day off and they insist on calling. Here is the low down….get caller ID and never answer if it is a hospital number, after you have reviewed the message, then decide whether you are out and about or able to return that call before your next shift arrives. Saves you trouble everytime.
But when you are in the middle of your shift, you can’t just not pick up the phone when the secretary is taking a personal call (that lasts her whole shift)or answer the call lights (even when it isn’t your patients’ light half the time.) You can’t just wiggle your nose and magically have a aid there to take your vital signs, do your BG’s, and answer those call lights so you can go hang another drip, give those antibiotics every 4 hours and all that other fun fun stuff. You can’t just tell the recovery room that it is 1 hour before shift change, you have 3 nurses on your floor with enough patients already, and the 7 patients they want to send you all at once really need to wait. No, you take what comes your way and do the best job you can for the hand you are dealt,you stay over your shift and try to make sure things run as smoothly as possible, then you go home, get that nice hot shower, and go to bed after you eat what food you can find in your fridge.
I do have one question though…..how is it that some nurses can sit and talk for extended periods of time and the only time I ever end up sitting is when I am charting (and sometimes I even do that standing). Any answers out there???
Enjoy your next shift,