How long have you been working as a nurse?

Six years

Describe what you do.

I work in an ICU. Its a 60 bed unit in a 860 bed hospital in Florida. I do bedside nursing and I’m also part of the rapid response team. Typically, I work three 12 hours shifts a week that turn into 13 or 14 hour shifts, but that’s a story for another time. My bedside days entail working with two patients unless one is unstable, and then my time is focused on one. I am responsible for monitoring their vital signs and reporting changes in their status to the doctor as well as coordinating care between the hospital team. One aspect of working as a nurse is interacting with and educating your patient’s family members while their loved one is in the hospital. Sometimes you end up having to have very difficult conversations with them. On rapid response days, if any of the nurses are having trouble with their patients who are more unstable or sicker and need immediate attention I’m able to come to the bedside and evaluate their patient and help coordinate interventions. I’m an extra hand and an extra opinion as needed. For example, if the nurse walks in and see their patient not breathing well or something or doesn’t know who to call or what intervention would be most helpful, that’s when I get a call.

What does it take to be a nurse?

You definitely need to have to ability to multi-task while calmly and precisely handling things and prioritizing what can wait an hour or two – all at the same time. It can be extremely stressful environment. You need to be able to focus and relay information as quickly and precisely as possible. Having that much pressure on you at work makes it very important to find ways to destress. For me that’s running, hanging out with friends, going to the beach, and reading.

Why did you become a nurse?

I always really enjoyed the sciences in school like chemistry anatomy and physiology. I wanted something where I could learn more of that and use it in a practical sense. I actually had a family friend who was a nurse and it sounded like something where I could use my interests and help people. So, I went to school for nursing. I get very bored very easily. Nursing helps with that because every day I come into work I learn something new. You can never know everything. Nursing really keeps you on your toes and helps me not be bored. To be honest, you tend to get jaded seeing all we see, but there are moments where you do feel like you are doing something good for someone else. Its definitely challenging, but can be rewarding at the same time.

What are some first step someone needs to take to become a nurse?

School. A lot of people work as a CNA before or while they’re in nursing school. In my opinion that could be good or bad depending on the CNA experience. It tends to be lots of dirty work with less of the interesting parts. If someone is interested in nursing, I’d suggest they consider being a CNA then evaluating if they are really interested in continuing in the healthcare field. Then they would need to go to nursing school. Programs are at least a two year investment for an RN license. Also, some hospitals are starting to only hire bachelors degree RNs to work in their acute care areas.

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