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Critical care nurse blog: Appreciating the finer things in life


Critical care nurse blogger Cassandra Leese on her generous benefits package

It is widely acknowledged that you don’t go into nursing for the money. Certainly not for the wildly unsociable hours, the tyranny of night shifts or the benefits package.

Free gym membership and private healthcare? Not a chance. A friend recently expressed horror on hearing about the length of the breaks, and almost fell off his chair when I mentioned we don’t get free tea and coffee.

Despite this, there are small and seemingly inconsequential perks to the job that I imagine people working in the more sedate professions rarely relish in quite the same way.

Yes, I’m talking about finally getting to go to the toilet after hours of putting it off to accomplish just one more task; lying down after a 13-hour shift and discovering a whole new appreciation of your bed; the taste of fresh air and the breeze on your face when you leave the hospital - particularly first thing on a frosty winter’s morning, and last thing at night when the stars are out and a glass of your favourite tipple is beckoning.

Driving to work in the wee hours when everyone is safely tucked up and the roads are clear can be especially pleasant. As can a drink of water when you’ve been frothing at the mouth for hours.

Coming home after every single working day knowing, without doubt, that the work you do is valuable can keep you going after a particularly bad day. As can the high after a crazy shift and the utter, utter, bliss of knowing you have a few days off in a row.


Readers' comments (7)

  • how very true if only all the people were aware of all this tragedy in the beauty of this profession

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  • Phil Dup

    I love the Staff shower - its much hotter and more powerful than my home shower - its the main thing that keeps me working in A&E.
    If they ever take away my shower I'm going on the dole.

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  • I can very much relate to your experiences as a nurse. Yeah, oftentimes it's exhausting but once we get to appreciate the "little" things in life or in our profession, we realize what we are doing is actually noble. And that realization keeps us going. God bless all nurses!

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  • I smiled reading your blog today as is absolutly correct, I was walking to my early shift in the pitch black while it was snowing and it looked beautiful at 6.45am yesturday, I wouldn't have swapped that for an extra half an hour in bed!

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  • as an irish nurse im looking at a 10% pay reduction, thanks to our parliment, the early part of ur blogg is most helpful when defending against this injustice, iwont mention the little things in life that do make our job worthwhile lol

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  • I totally agree!
    I am amazed that we STILL DO NOT get discount on prescriptions!!!!!!!
    Have just had to fill out a questionnaire, given out by my trust, regarding theft and fraud in the NHS. If the staff were given prescription discounts and a better paydeal, then things wouldn't 'go missing' would they? It's not rocket science!!!

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  • I love this and I too smiled when I read it.

    I loved leaving the hospital after a night shift and that first smell of the new morning, driving home while everyone else was driving to work, and getting into a (thoughtfully warmed due to my partner leaving on the electric blanket for me) bed when it was freezing outside.

    And the joy of knowing that on a hectic shift when all the team had been rushing around for many hours, that you had all actually made a difference and done something worthwhile. How satisfying is that? This is what keeps many nurses going I'm sure. (Probably the only thing because as Cassandra rightly points out no-one goes into nursing for the pay).

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