Perks of a Miserable Job

As some of you know, I’ve left travel nursing and gone permanent! Whaa??! Why would I do such a thing?? Experience. I want to be a flight nurse and after gaining the great ICU training and experiences travel nursing offered, I need ER experience as well. No ER in their right mind would take an agency nurse with no ER experience, so I went perm. Whew. Crazy ride. The ER is a totally different beast than the ICU or OR. They’re all crazy in their own way, but the past month of orientation has been to learn how to deal with the flow of the ER, the turn over, the balancing of three full-blown sepsis workup patients with a code stroke coming in just for giggles. Life has been crazy. And I’m bad at it. I’ll get better with time. I know that logically, but it’s been a while since I’ve been the newbie and it’s caused an amazing amount of stress and mental challenges. I don’t enjoy being bad at something, so jumping out of my comfort zone like this is, while great for me, painful.

That’s why, when my friend Freya RN sent me this list, it came at a perfect time for me. I love nursing. It was a great decision to change careers, and with all the pain, it’s still worth it. Enjoy.


1. I get to do cool shit – chest compressions, advocating for my patients, educating them about something that seems scary and isn’t.
2. Nurses have the best sense of humor, especially the peers you work with at the bedside. Who else is going to come help you clean up poop and silently laugh with you when the patient farts.
3. We have the BEST pranks at bedside. Think of the possibilities – urine specimen cups, chocolate candies, morgue carts.
4. If I get tired of working in the ICU, I can just as easily switch to ER, NICU, L&D, PACU, etc. without getting another degree.
5. I get to be there with my patient and their family for the highs and the lows.
6. I can name every crayon in the Crayola box for nurses – Upper GI bleed red, lower GI bleed maroon, coffee ground emesis, stool sample brown, etc.
7. I can provide comfort to my patients that no one else can, there’s something reassuring about a cool, calm and collected nurse taking care of you.
8. I get to hear the coolest diagnoses (such as, “Big Mac Attack”) and the weirdest stories as to how a patient got sick.
9. I get to work with so many other professions at the bedside and learn from them.
10. Every once in a while, you get a thank you from someone for doing a job that is many times thankless, and I hold those moments near and dear to my heart.


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