Since starting with my facility four months ago, I have sent my share of residents to the hospital, medicated according to their symptoms, informed family on incidents or resident concerns, conversed with physicians and ancillary staff to ensure the residents are being cared for appropriately. I have smiled. I have giggled. I have hugged and blown kisses. I’ve sung. I’ve danced through the hall ways and held lots of hands. I have advocated. I am proud to be a nurse caring for one of the most delicate and most complex populations; the elderly.
I have been approached many times by coworkers, the majority of them being licensed practical nurses and have been told I shouldn’t be working here. I’ve even been laughed at a few times.
“Why do you even work here? You have your bachelors and you work in a nursing home?”
“If I had my bachelors I surely wouldn’t be working here.”
“Shouldn’t you be working in a hospital?”
Unamused I usually ask why they feel like that is such a big concern of theirs.
Do the elderly not deserve a bachelors prepared nurse? I’m not tooting my own horn here, please don’t get me wrong. I work with very smart LPNs and RNs alike. I am however one of the only bachelors prepared nurses that works in the facility.
It’s not uncommon for me to be called to insert an IV, to help with an assessment, asked questions regarding medications and resident conditions. I have sent multiple residents out to the hospital by using my assessment skills I learned working in the emergency department. My education has benefitted the residents I care for on a daily basis.
So why shouldn’t I be working there? The elderly are a special population; they are aging, and so are their body. They have comorbities, multiple diagnoses, complex conditions & medication regimens. They have wounds that need the best of care. Why shouldn’t your grandma be cared for by someone who went to school for four years to obtain their degree?
It’s a frustrating set of comments that I have heard more times than I can count. Why do I work at my facility? Because I give a shit. I really do. I believe that every resident in that facility deserves a shoulder to cry on, hugs, conversation, appropriate medications and care. They deserve to have someone watching over their delicate state of health.
I’m learning slowly that I should disregard those nah-sayers that can’t possibly understand my reasoning for working for the elderly. It’s obvious that they have yet to find their calling in life, especially since most of the people who ask me why I work there, also say in the same breath how badly they hate their job. And sadly it shows in their comments and their lack of caring.
Taking care of aging adults is not a burden for me to bear, it is a flag that I proudly wave. I’m caring for men and women who depend on me. I’ve grown to love them, even the most difficult residents. In return I have been told how much I am appreciated, that my smiling face is contagious, that I’m so “smart” with my explanations when the residents have questions, and that my assessment skills that could help save their lives or ease their pain while dying are valued.
Every nurse has their calling. Unfortunately, it took me 5 years to find mine. I have worked as an Emergency Room Nurse, NICU Nurse, Pediatric Nurse, and a Nurse Analyst for an insurance company. All of which had their ups and downs (not gonna lie, mostly downs, don’t worry I’ll share those juicy details in another post). I’m grateful for my vast experience I have obtained working in all these areas. But there is just something about working for these residents that hits me where it counts!
I have never been happier working as a registered nurse. I am appreciated, I have changed lives for residents and their family members. I get to brighten people’s day. I get to make residents smile and feel loved despite many of them feeling like they’ve been left behind.
So this year for Nurses’ Week I’m proud to say that I am a nurse, with my bachelors and that I work for the elderly… and last but not least, I am finally happy.
Peace & Love,