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The nurses I'm working with are miserable - will I end up that way too?


A student nurse on her first placement is worried that nursing will wear her down… 

“I’m in my first year training and I recently started my first placement.

“I was really excited about it at first, and even though the first couple of days were tough, I knew I had to stick it out and it would get better.

“But it hasn’t. The nurses I work with are mean and unapproachable. Not just to me, but patients too. I am stunned by how cold they can be to people. I’ve seen patients approach nurses in the corridor or the nurse office, only to be ignored or told to stay away.

“I believed I was going into a profession that’s famed for its compassion, that I too could help people and make them feel better, and in turn get satisfaction from a worthwhile job. But all I’ve seen so far tells me that even if these nurses were as positive as me at the start, they’re now miserable and resentful. And that makes me wonder, should I continue with this? Is it inevitable I will end up like that too?”


Readers' comments (2)

  • Dear lovely Student Nurse,

    I have met some wonderful nurses who look after me and my family and they are not miserable and resentful.The nurses may be like this for lots of reasons and may be totally different to being worn down. You are having an awful time but you can learn from this and you'll work hard to be loving and caring and compassionate.

    You are in nursing to care for people and that makes you amazing.
    It just does. You are learning how to do this really well as you notice the lack of compassion and love in your current placement which means you will treat your patients with love and compassion and know the difference it can make.

    One of the best nurses that treated my family was a student. She made tea for us. She went out of her way to make us comfortable with her love and caring nature and you will too.

    PDave Angel

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  • “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound to the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” – Andrew Boyd.

    Cheesy quote, but compassion fatigue/burnout/whatever you want to call it, is very real in nursing unfortunately. I don’t think anyone goes into nursing wanting to end up miserable and resentful, but it’s a pretty tough job; the hours, conditions, work/life balance and pay aren’t the greatest. I think this can take its toll on people over time, and change them from the bright eyed and positive student nurse that they once were.

    Is it inevitable that you yourself will end up like this? Only you can determine the answer to that, but I’ll say no you won’t do, as long as you stay self-aware and find a positive team to work with once you qualify.

    Just remember that it is a privilege to be a nurse, it is your choice to be one; you have to do this because you want to, because some days will probably be awful and thankless. You always have a choice about how you act, good luck x

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