Top 10 Traits Every Nurse Should Have

by Ryan Winter on April 6, 2009

Nursing is a field that demands much of those who pursue it. Long hours and the strain of working with ill and stressed people on a daily basis can make it a very difficult challenge. If you are currently in the nursing field or are considering pursuing this career, here is a list of the top 10 traits every nurse should have/be:

  1. A Caring Nature:If a person cannot care about the people they are serving, they will not excel as a nurse. Nurses deal with the sick and injured and their families on a daily basis, and they need to be able to show them that they truly care about their situation.caring-nurse
  2. Be Empathetic:Nurses regularly deal with people who are scared and in pain. They must be able to put themselves in their patients’ shoes if they are going to give them the quality of care that a good nurse provides.
  3. Be Detail-Oriented: Nurses must remember to write everything they do on patients’ charts. They must also remember to bring medications at the correct times. Being an organized detail-oriented person is therefore crucial for someone in this career field.
  4. Be Emotionally Stable:Nurses feel the joy of seeing a new baby born, followed by the pain of losing a long-term patient who had become a friend. Emotional stability is crucial in order to survive the roller coaster ride of emotions nurses must endure on a daily basis.Tired nurse
  5. Be Adaptable: No day is quite like the next when you work as a nurse, so they need to be able to adapt to circumstances. People are unpredictable at the best of times, but under stress become even more unpredictable, so a nurse’s typical workday will require flexibility and adaptability.
  6. Have Physical Endurance:Breaks for nurses are few and far between. They are on their feet all day, sometimes for 12 or more hours at a time, so nurses must have good physical endurance to succeed in nursing.
  7. Be a Quick Thinker: When a nurse notices something is not right with a patient, they need to be able to make decisions quickly and put their plans into action instantly. Nursing is not the career for someone who needs time to think about a situation before responding, because even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death.
  8. Have Great Judgement:A nurse must be able to look at a patient’s current state and accurately assess what is or is not needed. This must happen quickly during emergencies. Nurses therefore need sound judgment and maturity.
  9. Be Hard-Working:Nursing is a never ending job. Someone is always ill and in need of some sort of aid or attention. Its also unusual for a hospital or medical centre to be overstaffed, which of course means more workload on each nurse in the unit. Being a hard worker is therefore a very important trait.
  10. Have Great Communication Skills:Nurses communicate with each other, doctors, patients, and patients’ families on a daily basis, so being able to communicate clearly and effectively, and to read people is necessary for people in this career

Conclusion: Nursing is a difficult career. There is no doubt about it. However, it can also be an extremely rewarding career given the right personality. Certainly, the more of the traits above you have as an individual, the more likely nursing is the career for you.

Are there any other traits you believe nurses should have?


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Top Ten Traits Every Nurse Should Have | Nurses' Blog Site
07.09.15 at 3:10 am

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly 04.09.09 at 11:32 am

Don’t forget:

11. Ability to absorb a lot of BS from doctors

12. Skilled at biting your tongue when patients bitch you out

13. Desire to stay at work late every day when inconsiderate co-workers show up late and management doesn’t seem to care

14. Understanding that pay is based on years of experience and NOT talent and hard work

Ryan Winter 04.09.09 at 4:43 pm

Yikes Holly … sounds as though you’d had a difficult time and are frustrated. Have you been able to turn any of these situations around, and if so, how?

I’d also like to hear from others. What do you find the most frustrating part of the job, and how have you been able to rectify the situation, or what can you propose to help prevent the situation from occurring?

anna 04.11.09 at 9:24 am

One of the most important things an RN has to be is: willing to be UNDERcompensated for doing all the things listed above.

Also, willing to be exploited by hospital management and health insurance companies.

Courtney 04.11.09 at 6:43 pm

4) Be Emotionally Stable: Nurses feel the joy of seeing a new baby born, followed by the pain of losing a long-term patient who had become a friend. Emotional stability is crucial in order to survive the roller coaster ride of emotions nurses must endure on a daily basis.

The idea is right, the statement is wrong. You should NEVER be “friends” with any patients, no matter how long you’ve been treating them.

JT 04.11.09 at 9:51 pm

Most important: HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR! And learn to let things slide off your back.

Crystal 04.13.09 at 11:04 pm

Wow…you guys are really making me WANT to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning for my first 12 hour hospital clinical of nursing school.

Ryan Winter 04.14.09 at 11:52 am

Anna: Wow it can’t all be bad, can it? I can’t say every place I’ve worked has been ideal, but I’ve had some good experiences and met some great places along the way.

Courtney: Now that I look back at my post, I think you’re right. Attachments can form, but its best not to be friends with your patients.

JT: I agree about the sense of humor. It is a must!

Crystal: Hang in there! I have a good number of nurse friends and relatives that tell me they love being a nurse (but not always the hours!). How did your first 12 hour hospital clinical go?

Jo Crandall 04.14.09 at 9:27 pm

I’m proud to be a nurse. I didn’t like med/surg nursing because it was impossible to be excellent, you can’t be an excellent nurse when you have too many patients.

I believe a floor nurse should round on every pt at least once every hour throughout the shift. That is rarely possible when you have too many patients. Being part of a patient care team is laughable. Discussing a plan of care with the pt, their family and the PCP is also rare. Discharge planning is often a joke too. Get them out, get the next one in, explain medications and follow-up appointments — sorry — no time.

I went to the ICU and now I am in my niche. If you don’t like the nursing you are doing move in to a different area. Hospice, endoscopy, OR, or refuse to take more patients. Nurses have to unite against nurse to patient ratios that are unsafe.

Go to a Magnet Hospital. I’ve worked in two, (as a traveler) what a difference! I don’t know what their profits look like, but, their patients are well taken care of and so are the nurses and ancillary staff. When I retire and face the possibility of becoming a patient, I plan to seek out a town and a PCP that work with a Magnet Hospital.

Make yourself so good that they want you more than you need them.

Dina 09.21.09 at 7:36 pm

11. Be independently wealthy…as you will need it to pay for you own health insurance premium/copays/etc as you will be getting frequent colds/flus. And yes…you are just an employee….so you wont be getting a savings on your health insurance just because you help save lives….and provide excellent care to patients. You will be neglecting your own needs from here on out!!!!!!! Mandatory!

12. No it’s not unusual to pass a floor of meds on your own…your a big girl you can do it…and chart…and treatsments…and hold the dr by the hand as he/she enters the unit needing to know who their patients even are. (Yes I said FLOOR of patients)

13. Say good bye to your family…and put any needs they may have on hold…because going to your job to be able to provide the minimum for them is all you will be able to do. No there is no light at the end….it’s neglect the one’s you love so you can care for the one’s you dont even know. CRAZY SHIFTS MANDATION!!!!!!

14. Don’t plan on earning what you see on the billboards…those are for off shifts….irregular shifts….temporary assignments….and highly skilled/experienced nurses.

15. Dont disrespect those under you…they may just be the one that needs to do something for you one day!

16. keep the want ads around….cause they are always hiring…somewhere! (I wonder why that is?)

17.Be able to stand longer than you ever thought imaginable while needing to pee….and…..your own blood sugar is dropping because your didnt have time to eat….again.

Loraine 09.27.09 at 11:34 pm

i agree with that Top 10 Traits that Nurse Should Have. i think that is very important. and i think all nurses out there should read this post for them to be aware what the right thing to do. it will be a big help. thanks for this.

Bill 10.22.09 at 12:28 am

In other words be superhman! Be able to cope with demanding patients who have abused their bodies for years. Be able to placate immature physicians who lack commnication skills themselves. How about droid Nurses?

steph 04.15.10 at 11:20 am

Wow. I have a family full of nurses and doctors and I’m studying to become a nurse myself. I also know many nurses who are quite happy with their jobs. What’s wrong with you people? Why are you so bitter? Just because you feel that way doesn’t mean that others do. Anyone reading these comments…don’t let these bad apples make a decision for you on what’s right for you, nor should this be considered the “norm” of thinking. Obviously you guys are in the wrong field. Make a change for yourself and do something you’ll enjoy before you become crotchety and lonely.

Colleen 04.18.10 at 11:11 pm

Steph, maybe once you ARE a nurse for many years and you see how abusive the profession is you will realize why there are so many “bitter” nurses out there. I have been a specialty nurse for 35 yrs in a large hospital. We give up so much of our personal and family time to take care of people we don’t even know, while we sacrifice both ourselves and our families . In return, we get absolutely no respect from hospital administrators,physicians or the patients . We are seen as maids and servants, not as professionals. After decades of service we retire with less than enough money to pay a monthly utility bill. I have seen our profession take a nose-dive since the 1970’s. I’ll give you 5 years of hospital work…mandatory on-call, weekends, holidays,shift rotation and being flexed without pay when the census is low.I can guarantee that YOUR attitude will change.That is ,of course, if you don’t become a “clip-board” nurse. You, my dear, are not in any position as a student nurse, to pass judgement on experienced nurses.

Rhonda 04.21.10 at 7:28 pm

I am very surprised by all the anger and bitterness expressed here. I have been an ICU nurse for 12 years. During that time I have seen so many positive changes that directly effect the working environment for nurses. We now have mandated staffing ratios making it so much easier to get our breaks, knowing that an RN is watching our assignment. In my hospital our administration is cracking down hard on MDs that lose their cool and act unprofessionally toward the nursing staff. You cannot go into nursing if your sole purpose is to play the role of a martyr. Give of yourself freely, openly, and unconditionally, or don’t give at all. It sounds like many of you are burnt out and should consider making a career change. Your sick and hurting patients do not need a bitter, angry, ‘whoa is me,’ person at their bedside. Get off your ass and make some positive changes in your institution or get the hell out while you still have some semblance of a soul left.

Wendy 04.30.10 at 12:14 pm

Wow! I am surprised and I am sorry for those who have such negative things to say about our profession. I have been a nurse for only four years and have a passion for my job. My educators prepared me well for what to expect, but you have to be able to bring your own positive to the table also. For all of you who are so unhappy with your job as a nurse….your missing the big picture and I wonder if you have considered changing your line work. Your negative attitude towards your job will show in your manner of patient care and their outcome can be negatively impacted because of it. We’re here for the patients and like Jo C had said in an earlier post..if you are unhappy with one nursing position try another, consider also going back to school for a more specialized area which may better suit your career needs.

christy 06.03.10 at 7:27 pm

In other words..if u guys had to do it all over again would u be a nurse and y?

NANCY 06.04.10 at 2:14 am

Yes! Nursing is the noblest of professions as long as motives are not just for a paycheck…. However, we do need more states to follow California and New York in mandating safe patient ratios. All nurses could help their situations and patient outcomes by uniting. National Nurses United [NNU] is a union and movement for RN power and patient advocacy.
Check out their website at;
phone: 800-587-5021;
Thank you in advance for your participation!

Brooke 06.05.10 at 9:51 am

Okay, so I’m in the ninth grade and I’m doing a research project on one of my dream jobs, and nursing is one of them. I found this website, and I read all of the comments, and now I’m kind of freaked. My mom is a charge nurse, and I’m pretty sure she likes her job. The only thing I’ve ever heard her complain about is the long hours. She works from severn in the morning, to seven at night. She also usually works four to five times a week. We have a very good relationship and she has never once complained about any patients. Maybe she just leaves that part out, but I’m sure if it really bothered her, like it does some of you, she would tell me. She always gets rewards from her work, and she even gets gifts from her patients sometimes. Maybe nursing isn’t the right job for you if you really don’t like it that much… but I’m only a teenager, so what do I know, right?

Jolly 07.10.10 at 2:29 am

@ Holly. Sounds like a potential career change and or a different Employer if you don’t feel as though you have the proper support or just can no longer handle the situation. Sit down and have a heart to heart with your Supervisor and see if there is something that can help with the situation and your frustrations. I hope this helps.

Jolly 07.10.10 at 2:31 am

@ Ryan Winter- I enjoyed your article and a simple reminder of traits to keep in mind and in HEART!

Le 07.22.10 at 10:37 pm

Wow. Colleen sounds like one of those bitchy older nurses that everyone says to look out for. Seriously, life is too short to be in a profession that you can’t stand. Anyone who says they can’t do anything else is stupid. Work at a doctor’s office or something. And as far as not having a retirement plan goes, start one for yourself! Get an IRA. It’s a shame that Brooke knows better than some of the bitter nurses here. If you hate what you do for other people that much, leave! You know what you were getting into when you became a nurse. Nursing means putting others before you put yourself. Change your profession or change your attitude!

Lori Ensign RN, MSN 07.31.10 at 4:24 pm

I would like to add that nurse need to truct their instincts (your gut feelings) about a patient. This will always come in handy when you can be proactive for your patients . I also so not think that it is necessairly a bad thing for a nurse to cry or laugh or be happy or sad with patients and their famalies. It is ok to care, to feel, to be vulnerable to situations such as birth, death, devastating diagnosis, etc. After all you are human too..

Lori Ensign RN, MSN 07.31.10 at 4:29 pm

If I had to do it all over again I would not change my profession. I feel that I have been placed in the right profession by a greater being than myself. It is what I was ment to do in life. I could not picture me doing anything other than nursing. There are so many great satisfactions that outweigh a bad day you may be having. Nursing has flexible hours, job stability, you meet some really great people, you use your skills to nurse the ill and the well, and in everything between. It is a privelage for me to be a Nurse. It not only is a profession I enjoy it so much I feel like it is a hobby. It is something I look forward to doing every day.

Danielle 08.10.10 at 7:03 pm

*Brooke- You are very smart for your age, yes every job has its ups and downs. If there are more downs than ups maybe a career change is needed. The profession isnt for everyone and there are some people who wait their whole lives to become and nurse and realize it’s not what they thought. It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to know you help someone and taught someone something. I have heard many nurses complain about where they work. I am not in their shoes but I feel that if the situation was really that bad they would find another job ( almost everywhere you go there is an ad in the paper for nurses). I think some people just like to complain; whether it is for attention or sympathy or something else Im not sure. Take everthing you are ever told in your life with a grain of salt because what is perceived one way to someone else may be totallydifferent to you. If you are really thinking about becoming a nurse get your STNA, volunteer, get involved and see what it is like for yourself. That is the best way to know how you will truely like it :-)

Jennifer 08.20.10 at 11:26 am

After reading some of these comments, I just want to say all of you who have jobs and can get jobs should be thankful. I am an RN, but cannot seem to find a job due to the fact I have less than a year of experience.

RehabRN 08.22.10 at 8:57 pm

We will all get a lot further if we’d stop bashing our fellow nurses, whether he/she carries a clipboard or not.

If you want the opinion of floor nurses, ask a floor nurse. If you want the opinion of a nurse in another setting, including those “clipboard” ones, ask them.

Yes, you do need to care, yes, you definitely cannot survive without a sense of humor and you definitely need a backup plan in case you get a job with lots of mandatory OT and things you don’t like.

The best way to vote on the effectiveness of your manager is with your feet: working, moving up or moving on.

Tera Tuten 08.26.10 at 12:07 pm

Hi Jennifer – I understand your frustration! It’s becoming more common for hospitals to require over two years of RN experience. My suggestion is to look into PRN work. It’s a good option to gain the experience over the next year.

LucyRN 08.28.10 at 3:55 pm

I think what is happening is whether your a staff nurse, clip board nurse, charge nurse, Nurse manager, or any different type of nurse. We have all worked as a bedside nurse one time or another and especially if you work or worked in a med/surg unit, you would know how hard we work and what unrealistic conditions we work under. What bothers me is how does a Nurse who has lived it, then moves up rank and then all of a sudden forgets what we are up against and now she places those unrealistic expectations on us knowing full well it’s impossible to do hourly rounding when you have 7 to 9 patients, and/or one or two patients have dressing changes that could take 45 minutes to an hour, not to mention all the other areas of care that go along with it. We do vac and very large dressing changes on our floor. We also have very sick patients with many different tubes coming out of their bodies. Now the Nurse that has moved up in rank was the same nurse who complained about these very things when she was a bed side nurse but now she has miraculously forgotten about it, brain washed by upper management that really has no clue what it’s like to work the floor under the conditions we work them. I do love my job and all that goes with it. But I have very little patients for who forget what it was like to be you, or especially nurses who eat their young. I will never ever treat a brand new nurse or any new nurse that joins our team like they just came off the stupid boat. You take them under your wings and you give them hands on experience and if they are not doing it right, tell them of another way of doing it that may be easier or better. Well I can go on and on. I truly believe that every charge nurse with no assignment and nurse manager and any other non bedside nurse should take a two week floor assignment every year to bring them back to reality. Just my thoughts please don’t read into it, saying I am not a good nurse, don’t like my job, or am bitter.

Lisa Price 09.22.10 at 12:02 pm

Hellow Everyone! :-)
While doing a research paper on “The traits of an effective nurse,” I came accross this site and decided to read all of your comments. As a senior nursing student, all I can say after reading the posts is WOW!!! Fear of being “eaten”, degraded, overworked, unappreciated, and home-sick is not what I am looking forward to. I have been working as an STNA on a step-down ICU for over three years now and previously worked in a doctor’s office (6 physicians on staff). I really enjoy what I do and the people that benefit from my assistance; nurses and patients alike, but … (I know listening to “bitter” comments should not sway my decision to continue as a RN) but I hear this so often on many other websites, my current and past places of employment, and now on this web site! So …… how do I feel now? ……. Sad & Confused!!! WOW, thanks for all the positive input >:-{

Mj 09.27.10 at 11:03 am

I think, nursing is a calling. If you do not become a nurse from your heart, you will get burned out and even if you become a nurse from the heart, you can still get burned out. DO NOT let this happen! Your career is just like a relationship; it has it’s good and bad points, but the good needs to outweigh the bad for me. If the bad becomes unbearable, then it is time to go. I love everything nursing has to offer, but not every nursing job. Find one that is a good fit for you. And yes, a sense of humor is very important!!!!!

christian leb. 11.27.10 at 7:34 pm

HI everybody i was searching on google,and by accident i found this page,i’m a first year nursing student at university.Althought i made my choice, i find myself many times looking for reasons and insurance that could be helpful for me to assume and secure my position in nursing, to make it best for me.THANKS EVERYONE,for the 10 tips and the experience you’re giving to me in your discussions…

Joey 12.02.10 at 3:29 am

I’m currently a PCA at my hospital. I dearly wanted to become an RN but working at this hospital has showed me being a nurse isn’t everything its cut out to be. They have so much to do and handle its so overwhelming. So i still dont know if i would want to be an RN or maybe look at another career path. Im just having a hard time deciding what i want to do.

Willie 12.09.10 at 11:50 pm

Nursing as a profession is very hard and time consuming most of the time. It can also feel ‘unuser’ friendly when working among peers who are not kind. However, if the nurse develops higher personal standards, consider his/her work to be a calling to heal and love with no expectations from the earthly relm/environment, and continually seek to educate and create their ‘ideal Self” as a “child of light” whose hand and feet represent the “Creator,” peace, joy and more love can abound. -(even if it is only for that nurse’s sanity). Do not give up on your dream. Become a change agent.

Lori W 12.11.10 at 6:59 pm

Hi All I was looking for some infomation to do a paper and found this site. I have been an LPN for 17 yrs I am currently half way before I receive my BSN.

Lori W 12.11.10 at 7:04 pm

I am going to continue to get my masters in nursing because I want to be a nursing instructor. I am a people person so that make nursing easy for me sure I have had some bad days and some bad experiences and some horrible co-workers but what always turns that around for me if my patients 90% of the time they are wonderful and very appreciative. I worked 6 yrs in Ped. when I got sick of it and started acting grouchy all the time I made the decision it was time for me to leave. I wanted to be happy and continue to make my patients happy not hate to see me coming. I also work for a good company I think that help but the wonderful thing about nursing is the flexiability if you don’t like where you are you can find something else pretty easily

Kayla 01.31.11 at 10:43 am

Life and nursing are what you make of it. You decide every morning weather you are going to be happy or miserable, have a good day or a bad one. The quality of our lives/jobs/experiences does not depend on what happens to us, it depends on how we RESPOND to the things that happen to us. Doctors/patients/families are going yell and/or complain sometimes. You may be blamed for things you didn’t do, or even lose a patient…but every day should NOT be this bad. If you were truly happy at a non-nursing job and are truly miserable now as a nurse… I would suggest looking for a different nursing position. If you have always been a negative unhappy person no matter what’s going on in your life, then there is a good chance your job has nothing to do with your unhappiness.

This quote has a lot to offer independent of anyone’s religious views:

God said “Build a better world.” I said, “How? The world is such a complicated, cold dark place and there is nothing I can do.” God looked down in all of his glory and said “Just build a better you.”

Lukasz Wiezel 02.03.11 at 11:09 pm


I like your post. I think we are individually responsible for making each of our experiences excellent or not so excellent. There are situations that are out of our control but as a whole we are always responsible for ones experience.

Thanks for the fresh perspective.

Maxine 02.06.11 at 12:20 am

I have been an operating room nurse for the majority of my career. I love it 95% of the time. Due to the skills I have been able to aquire due to my job, scrub and circulate, I have volunteered on sugical teams and helped children all over the world who would not have had these procedures otherwise. It is life changing for me as well as these kids.

There are so many avenues for nurses… if you are not happy where you are presently…move on!

ray 02.26.11 at 3:40 pm

watch HOUSE MD

Laina 04.02.11 at 1:34 am

Bitter nurses, I feel you. Naive nurses, I know where you are coming from. I came into this profession with stars in my eyes, believing that only a hospital can understand how to run a business of caring. Of course they treat their employees, who give so much of their hearts to people they only just met, with the utmost of respect. Right? I know now that what it comes down to is the budget. Just like every retail store that I couldn’t wait to get out of so that I could work at a hospital. I am not “bitter,” I just know now, realistically what is happening with the healthcare system. I work in Labor and Delivery and it is truly the most wonderful, challenging, humbling, best thing that I have ever done in my life and I love every second of it. I have never loved a job so much in my life and I am so grateful. These amazing people that I work with never fail to impress me and make me want to be a better nurse and a better person. Does that sound bitter? That is what makes me so sad to see these amazing people, who give so much of themselves to the profession, being mistreated by management and hospital administrators who have never worked at the bedside or have somehow forgotten what it is like. I LOVE my job and rules, regulations, budgeting, cutbacks in staffing, inappropriate patient ratios, etc, etc, etc, make it almost impossible to be the absolute best that we can be and prevents us from doing the job that we actually do want to do, for the rest of our lives, and that is to take care of people the way that they deserve to be taken care of. Not half assed and pressed for time because we have no choice in the matter. It is not right for us to accept abuse in order to care for someone just because this is the career we chose and we all “knew what we were getting into.” That is not what I signed up for. Abuse is never ok, even if you are getting a paycheck for it. Not from a patient, not from an employer, not from anyone. Until you’ve worked in such situations, you can not comment on it. The experienced nurses who deserve more credit than they are given, I know do not mean to sound “bitter,” they are just tired of wanting something that they once had, that passion for a career that you look so highly upon, that disappoints because of the misguided direction of authority figures who do NOT have any clue what we do on the floor, and who have no business making the rules. The only ones who suffer are our patients. Those patients are us sometimes, our parents, our families. We as nurses see their faces, not the higher ups. Any new nurse, do not be discouraged. If nursing is for you, it is truly a beautiful thing and for myself the best decision I have ever made. Any advice I have to give is to be strong, don’t be naive, your bosses are not looking out for you, even if they want to, even if you think they are, they have to bend to the demands of THEIR bosses, and those bosses to THEIR bosses. Know that you can make a change. Be the best person that you know how, be proactive in your career. If you feel that no one is listening, try harder, be a manager yourself to make a difference, go to another hospital if your needs are not met. If you are unhappy in your position, you are just in the wrong place maybe being managed by the wrong manager (and there are a LOT of bad ones out there) . There is someplace out there for you. This is not a job for the weak hearted. This job has taught me to be strong, focused and driven more than I ever have been before. We just have to get the policy makers to start listening to what we have to say and realize that all of our emotions come from a place of deep caring for what we know that this profession can be. We are on a different page from them. Our motto, ” First do no harm.” Their motto, “How much money can we save if…?”

Maria Dante 04.22.11 at 10:29 am

I am learning about ‘the good martyr act’ in second year nursing. but can’t find more information on the web. any clues what to search. thanks

PVC Fonster 04.25.11 at 6:19 am

Nice stuff. There are so many bad posts everywhere but it’s not the case with this one.

Erin 05.04.11 at 12:33 am

I am currently a student nurse. I can see how nurses that have been working for a few or even many years can have a “bitter” attitude. They have probably dealt with things that were hard physically and mentally. I don’t think that we should really be arguing on a .com website. It’s silly. Yet, it is good to see various viewpoints. I have no clinical experience yet, but when I do, I will be sure to post my views.

Allison 05.05.11 at 8:03 am

The reason so many are so bitter is because we ARE undercompensated and over worked. I have met many bitter nurses, I’m one of them, but what I find is that most bitter nurses are bitter because the expectations of them do not allow them to give the kind of care that patients deserve. Nursing is not ‘a calling’ folks, its a job in a business that cares about money. I have worked with excellent coworkers in several hospital settings, but with patient ratios ranging from 6 to 1 on a post op CABG floor to 8 to 1 on a med-surg unit with NO ancillary personnel I can easily see why nurses are pissed. And the more complete picture one has of medicine the more angry they should be if they actually care. People are paying tens of thousands of dollars on a lower middle class income, many out of pocket or with minimal insurance coverage, and getting crappy substandard care. Would you feel satisfied if you went to a 5 star resturant and got served a Big Mac? As the waiter in that resturant would you feel good about serving that Big Mac when people are expecting something better? What pride would you have in being an employee of that resturant? For those of you with good attitudes about nursing, I’m glad you’ve found a work enviornment that is actually caring for people….or that you care less about your patients than I do and are not enraged the poor product you are selling. My Big Mac comparison is not ment to say that medicine should be completely customer service, a hospital is not a hotel. However the majority of people have no choice when it comes to medicine. They do nothing and are finically capable of getting by, but their health worsens until they are at our door step and then we title them ‘non-compliant’ and make their disease their fault. They take action and attempt to get the medicine they need and they can only afford it for a couple of years before they are broke. There is no Applebees when it comes to medicine. You either pay nothing and get sicker or pay for the gormet 5 star dinner that you can’t afford and get a very minimal amount of treatment. I’m all for quality standards of care, but until stupid organizations like JACHO and lawyers quit adding busy paperwork that takes us away from our patients, nothing is going to improve. I say stay out of medicine if you wish to retain any illusion that medicine as it is today does right by it’s patients.

healthcareguide4u 05.05.11 at 10:43 pm

Nurses must remember to write everything they do on patients’ charts. They must also remember to bring medications at the correct times. Being an organized detail-oriented person is therefore crucial for someone in this career field.

Madge 05.25.11 at 4:15 pm

Time for a reality check…
If you removed empathy and caring from the list of attributes you could be describing any job. Do you people really believe as nurses we have an unending well of empathy and capacity to truly care for every patient we are assigned to? I’m not talking lip-service, but true emotion?
As nurses we are trained in an academic environment, not a seminary or nunnery. We are every- day human beings with a desire to put in an honest days work for a paycheck. I am not capable, as a human being, to give of myself emotionally to 15 strangers (5 patients in 3 twelve hour shifts) every week!! I save my true emotions – my intimate self – for my family and friends. As an every-day human being I do not have an unlimited resource of emotion to bleed all over the healthcare population.
I am driven, however, to give to my patients my clinical expertise while managing their care. That is what I do as a nurse. I will monitor your condition, react appropriately when necessary, maintain your physical comfort and advocate for you when necessary. I am not a surrogate mother, daughter, sister or friend.
What other profession has such unrealistic expectations of their workforce? The time has come for nurses to change the fairy-tale perception of the nursing profession. Our true value in healthcare is undermined by this child-like vision of what a nurse is.
Ryan Winter, I invite you to follow me and witness first hand how a twelve hour shift is spent at the bedside in 2011. I don’t see on your list “expert in time management”, or “deflector of patient angst caused by inefficient systems”, or “receptacle for verbal abuse from physicians, patients and family members” or, my favorite, “capacity to do an inherently stressful job while being subjected to an audial onslaught of monitors, call lights and hospital issue phones” .
This is today’s nurse. I, in my 14 years of nursing, have never worked with a nurse from a religious order. Those days are over. Its time we all moved on.

Jessica 07.18.11 at 8:18 pm

Having a strong belief in a higher power what ever it may be.

For everyone who sounded negative over their jobs. If you are unhappy for the hours or the pay, there is always going back to school to try for something different. No one says you have to be a nurse, choose something you love to do that pays great follow your dreams, and for those nurses that are nurses and love it! Those are great nurses.

Maggie 08.21.11 at 11:28 pm

I remember being a nursing student and even new-grad, full of excitement and more importantly PASSION for my profession. I went and dove head first into ICU nursing and spent about 6 yrs there. What can I say about my time? I can say I learned a lot. I can say I worked with and/or trained under so many fabulously talented and smart people who inspired me and prepared me to be the best nurse I can be. I also got to work with people who were so lazy, incompetent, unintelligent, apathetic, that being lumped into a professional category was embarrassing. I have had great patients and horrible ones, good days and bad ones. Such is life. I think that’s the norm for any job. Healthcare is a business. I have come to realize that when looking for a hospital or organization to work for you really are aiming for a goal of ending up with the lesser evil. In my opinion, they are all pretty bad….pick the one that makes you the least crazy. After 6 yrs of fighting the system, I also learned to walk away and give myself a break from inpatient nursing before I became an old crotch that took out my frustrations on my patients or their families. I now work in medical aesthetics and I am very happy. That is one benefit of the nursing profession: the ability to try another area and switch things up. If your life or your job isn’t working for you, it’s your responsibility to change the situation for yourself and make yourself as happy as you realistically can be.

Chloe 09.09.11 at 12:55 pm

Hmm, the thing is you have to cover your own back as a nurse , doctors can be insensitive and when you as a nurse stop caring, due to the way you are treated its only a matter of time before communication breaks down, and patients suffer,once that happens , expect there to be an ombudsman investigation and thousands of pounds of money given to a patients family because you forgot to write down something you noticed. You just have to grit your teeth or get out, jepordising peoples health and wellbeing is selfish.

chris 09.12.11 at 3:23 am

I’m a nursing student.. how did I get to this site? I googled “nursing might not be for me” and this popped up. I’ve been a pretty good student, and I was once passionate about this profession, but for some odd reason I’m losing that fire. Don’t quite know why, maybe the studying is getting to me.. but I’ve come to realize that the best part of this job is the feeling of making someones day. Its a warm feeling you get when a patient or family is thanking you. And its not that scripted thank you that people say when, for example, you deposit a check at your bank or when a host/ess seats you. Those warm moments in nursing aren’t guaranteed day to day, but when they do come, it makes you proud of yourself and pushes you to be a better nurse and overall person. Maybe that’s why my fire’s dying, I haven’t done much, clinical-wise, since the semester started. Anyways, I guess writing about my thoughts helped me some bit and thank you to whoever read my post. Good luck all, and hope those “burnt out nurses” find something to fire their passion again (that’s if they even had one to begin with).

symptoms 09.13.11 at 10:17 pm

Being part of a patient care team is laughable. Discussing a plan of care with the pt, their family and the PCP is also rare. Discharge planning is often a joke too.

The time has come for nurses to change the fairy-tale perception of the nursing profession. Our true value in healthcare is undermined by this child-like vision of what a nurse is.

not a fairy tale 09.14.11 at 11:57 pm

I like my job now. I like my job because it gives me a chance to be nice to people, and that makes me feel good. I consider myself a professional and I keep my emotions out of my patients’ lives. I’m not in a fairy tale. I’m 47 years old and only been a nurse 5 years. If you asked me 14 months ago I would have been as bitter, crotchety, and disgusted as anyone else in the profession. I was one of the young who got eaten, and I’m not even young! You have to be able make changes when things aren’t working. It’s not perfect, no job is, but I find it rewarding at times. The pay is horrible for what we are expected to know and do and juggle. Nurses treat each other so poorly in some places that I don’t know how they can live with themselves. The worst physician I ever worked with used to be a nurse herself, and she continues to rip nurses some new orifices every time she has a chance. I think nursing is just another job. You do what you can tolerate in the working world. If you can deal with the ups and downs of nursing, for the few benefits- flexible scheduling, more days off- then I guess it’s worth staying. I can tell you this, I have met more personality-disordered, contemptful, controlling, and just plain mean and nasty people in nursing than anywhere else in one place. It’s scary.

Miriam 10.05.11 at 7:13 pm

I just want to add to Dina’s #15… “don’t disrespect those who are under you” , and say “don’t disrespect any of your colleagues, even the doctors”. I have heard many Nurses be pretty hard on Doctors, but we have to remember, they are our colleagues too. Just like we are colleagues of CNA’s, we are all valuable to the degree that our education and background allows us to be. Doctors went to medical school, and have a depth of knowledge that is respectable, just as Nurses have a different kind of depth of knowledge that is patient-based. Don’t tramp on the DR’s too much, they work crappy hours too!

Tiffany 11.04.11 at 11:37 pm

Thanks a lot for this article. I’m 26 and I came upon it after typing “should I have been a nurse?” Into Google. Somehow it’s just become easy for me to rely on Google to answer all my major life questions. lol. But I have to say it did work this time.

I read it and most of the comments, and judging from all the info, I can say that nursing certainly wasn’t my calling. Not because of the negative comments per se, but because working in high stress environments and maintaining emotional stability are two things I wouldn’t be able to do well. I imagine I’d take a lot of things personally and have a panic attack if the situation were really bad. In fact I remember I lost my job as a waitress because I got panicky and dropped a plate of fries and a turkey sandwich during a busy weekday lunch hour. lol.

So I always ask myself if I should have been a nurse, because of the job stability and benefits it offers (and I’ve always related nursing to Carla, the cool sassy nurse from Scrubs. lol). And also because of all the ups and downs I am experiencing as a business owner now. But right now I realize I am closer to my true calling than if I had decided to go the nursing path.

To all nurses, I say God bless you and we would be very lost without you! It takes a special breed of individual to be a nurse.

Jenna 11.08.11 at 11:42 am

This is such a great article, thanks for sharing! One thing I’d add to the list, have a sense of humor! Sometimes all you can do is laugh :)


Shanice 11.10.11 at 11:42 am

i love to help other people because im a caring person to everyone i love to work too

Ahmed 12.01.11 at 7:28 pm

I am 20 and am transfering my pre-nursing credit from HCC in seattle to uiversity of washington this fall. but of the thing i read I will never as passionate as i was about nursing. by the way how many do brand new nurses make a year

Allison 12.12.11 at 2:25 am

This list is accurate but not a total story. These list make nurses seem like honorable, respected, medical professionals. We are not. I am a nurse of 4 years and I would say that I have the skills of 70% of this list. Above all else I actually care about my patients and have a great amount of empathy.
What this list doesn’t mention is that even though this list is what nurses are fed, what the current medical profession wants us to be subservient slaves. We are expected to put up with verbal abuse from our co-workers, managers, and other medical professionals without fighting back. We are expected to work like dogs and get paid like fast food workers. We pay out our asses for a degree that gets us crappy careers. All you have to do is look at the numbers. According to the 2009 A.N.A’s nation wide survey 1 in 5 nurses don’t make it five years in nursing before they quit. 47% of all licensed RNs are inactive. The part of care giving that causes people to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others is severely abused in this career path by the majority of hospital administrators, other medical professionals, other nurses, families, and patients.
I love caring for people and would love to have a job that allowed me to do that. I’ve had bad hospitals and not as bad hospitals, but until the significance of the role of nurse is recognized with improved working conditions and pay I will suggest to any one who asked to choose a different career because there are just easier, more satisfying ways to make about the same as a nurse (with in 5 bucks an hour) and still feel like you are helping others. (ie accountant with debt counseling, physical therapists; ultrasound tech, radiology tech, managing a restaurant; working on cars, massage therapy….really I could go on and on and on). Do not go into medicine unless you are going to be a top dog (ie doctor, hospital administrator, CEO) or something along the less responsible jobs (ie nurses’s aid, registration, unit secretary). Please do not take this to mean that those I delegate to (nurses’ aids, secretaries, etc) are not important and do not have jobs that are not stressful; just that the bulk of the responsibility of those jobs falls on the nurses’ shoulders. If something gets missed the aid might get fired; the nurse could end up going to court and losing their license.

Jen 01.12.12 at 1:57 am

As a nurse, I can vouch that ours is indeed a hard profession–yet, to many of us, it is an incredibly rewarding profession that leads us to interactions with humanity and friendships that will touch us forever. Yes–there are horribly difficult days and nights where we feel exhausted and misused, to put it mildly. But this is where self care must play a role–self care during our shifts, self care in our private lives, and even possibly finding a different branch of nursing (as so many on here have suggested) when we reach that burnout point. Interesting

Jen 01.12.12 at 2:13 am

My thought was posted before I was finished–what I was going on to say, is that, interestingly, my husband is in healthcare administration, so I hear both sides of the story. Not all administrators are the heartless jerks we think they are. Administrators are often placed in extremely difficult positions where they are forced to carry out hard decisions that they themselves didn’t even make. They oftentimes answer to a board or a corporation, who sets the budgets, standards, protocols, etc–and it is left to the managers/supervisors/administrators to implement these things. They sometimes don’t agree with the policies they are forced to implement, and while they work to change things (behind the scenes, where you can’t see them), they still are requred to enforce them. They are constantly forced to perform a juggling act between the needs of the providing staff, and the board who is breathing down their neck, threatening their job (or worse, close the facility doors) if they don’t produce “results.” As my husband says–“I have a job where everyone is angry with me, all day long, every day.” I will grant you, there are certainly knuckleheads and bona fide nasty people in administration–but I submit that this is not the majority. They really aren’t looking to trample on nurses (although it feels like anything but when you are forced to take yet another low census day). Healthcare is a demanding profession–for everyone, from the top down. We can choose to let this embitter us–or we can choose to hold on to the positive moments and the rewards, however small they are. It truly is a fight worth fighting.

Samantha 01.15.12 at 10:05 pm

As I am reading each of the subsequent posts, I am unbelievably appaled!!! If many of you nurses hate what you do and how you are treated (and this is abudantly apparent) why don’t you just switch jobs/careers? I mean seriously…you aren’t staying in this field for the money are you??? Because you have made it pretty clear you don’t think you are paid enough!

Instead of gripping about everything that is wrong…long hours without breaks, rude MDs/pts/family members, heavy pt loads with decreased staff, low pay and the list goes on and on for most of you it seems…TRY REMEMBERING WHY YOU GOT INTO THIS FIELD IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!Most likely it was because you wanted to HELP OTHERS…MAKE A DIFFERENCE or Have a CAREER that was REWARDING and always in DEMAND!!!
Stop complaining about your jobs…instead…BE THANKFUL YOU HAVE ONE because there are many people who don’t. FIND YOUR NICHE! Your patients can tell when their nurse is stressed out, over-worked, and overall hates their job…DO NOT let your patients feel this way unless YOU yourself want a nurse like that and would be happy with that type of care! Nursing school was FAR from glorious, did you all honestly think by pasing boards you would have perfection?!
I am sorry to sound so harsh but, stop and look at the situation…
UNDERSTAFFING: who would want to work with a bunch of whiners and complainers…not me
LOW PAY: over abundance of nurses in the field who “whine and complain” and do not have the courage to change careers to something else, so they become expendable and no reason to pay some handsomely to gripe about what they are being PAID to do.
MD/PT/FAMILY RUDENESS: Well if you were my nurse…I would be rude too. (pts can tell when their nurse is unhappy)
Those are just a few of my opinions…take it or leave it but UNDERSTAND THIS… Your nursing career was YOUR CHOICE! You can either learn to love it and deal positively with negative situations or you can continue in the same vicious circle expecting a new result of perfection (which will never happen). If you keep doing the same things expecting a different result, you will always be disappointed! Why do that to your pts and the others that you work with?

I have been an RN for several years and I still go into work each and every day THANKFUL!!! Thankful that I have the ability to do God’s work and touch each life I come into contact with. Thankful that I have the knowledge, strength and compassion required to provide my patients with the holistic care they deserve. Thankful that I chose a career that rewards me in other ways beside monetary gain. Thankful that I am looked at by my pts as a trustworthy, caring and understanding person. But most of all…I am Thankful that I have not forgotten who I am, where I came from, or WHY I BECAME A NURSE!!!!

Jhen 01.16.12 at 5:28 pm

I’m a nurse and I love being a nurse. The one thing I don’t like is with your on colleagues treats you like you don’t know anything, specially when they are ahead of you for how many years, I’m new in my area and it seems one of my colleagues wanted me out of the department because he is only eyeing on my mistakes, that what me hates my job as a nurse in my area… but I do love being a nurse and I understand want a patient needs because somehow we will be a patient too. How can I deal with this kind of persons?? It is really hard for me working with them. :(

kallie 01.18.12 at 11:20 am

um, I’m doing a research project on Registered Nursing, because that’s what I want to major in when I go to college next year, and I am shocked to see all these bad comments about nursing in particular. I don’t think I want to become a nurse anymore, because of all the negativity. I want to go to a job that I love and make a career out of it, because there’s a huge difference between a job and a career. Maybe all of you guys that keep complaining should quit your JOB and start a CAREER doing something you love to do. But, hey, I’m a senior in high school. I don’t know anything about nursing.

Nekol Daley 01.21.12 at 10:48 am

To all you bitter, old,g rumpy, rag, tag, worn-out old nurses! Guess what…
Time to retire, there are more than enough of us who are willing to do this job becuase we love it. The only reason re do not enjoy our jobs is because we have to come and face your insistent and never ending compliants of how horrible things are and how they never change. Well they never change because you never change. You train new nurses to be jsut like you. You are rude anf dismissive to student nurses. You are NOT the rulers of the world, someday you will retire or die and no longer be able to nurse which ever comes first. I pray that it will come sooner than ladder. The people of this world deserve better than you at their bedside barely giving a damn!!! Quit scarring little child out of their dream jobs, nursing is an amazing field and everyday you come close to retirement it improves!!!! So future young nurse, student nurses, and patients rest assure; most of us love are jobs. With that love comes the compassion, empathy, and caring-nature you expect from a nurse!!!!

ED Nurse 01.25.12 at 9:34 pm

After 30 years in the profession, I can understand all the comments posted here. I feel a great deal of sympathy and compassion for nurses who feel less than exhilarated by their day to day jobs…and I feel the same about anyone who isn’t satisfied in their job. It must suck to wake up unhappy before a 12 hour shift. Been there! Done that! When I find myself dreading the day, I change specialties immediately. I’ve also gone back to school (online BSN, thank you…and traditional MSN and PhD). I’m still doing bedside nursing in the ED. Yeah, it’s getting harder as I get older…but I’m finding that being the wise, old nurse on the unit has its perks!! Kids: if you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, go shadow a nurse first. And do it a couple of times. Be absolutely sure you are the type of person who can do it. We don’t need anymore nurses out here who have some fantasy about the career. The first several years of your nursing career will be spent realizing that everything you learned in school is basically the tip of the iceberg. And if you’re comfortable in the notion that it will be hard, you’re in the wrong direction. You should be VERY uncomfortable and respectful of the road ahead. The reward for your discomfort will come when you can BE a nurse and fully participate as an expert nurse. Hopefully, you will find mentors to get you through the rough spots. A tip for nursing students: identify mentor nurses early in your career…role model after the ones you like and admire best. And stick with them.

Nicole 01.31.12 at 7:17 pm

I am a senior nursing student, working as a student nurse. I have gained a little bit of an idea of what nursing will be like through my job and through clinicals. I can only say this based off of what I have observed not what I do. I am not a nurse yet so I don’t know what it is like. What I consistently see is stress, but that’s involved in any job. I feel stressed as a student when I have six patients and feel like I don’t have enough time to get anything done. Not every day is that way but if you have two incontinent patients, one who wants to walk every fifteen minutes and two others who are full feeds and eat like they haven’t ate in months things get a lil dicey. Getting my actual work done that I am expected to do becomes a challenge when I have less help or am interrupted frequently. The patient who wants to talk about their best friend who happens to be a dog doesn’t understand how busy you are, and how are they supposed to. I understand their is stress in every occupation, and I knew that coming in. I like thinking of it as a job, even though I like to consider myself caring I do know I have to think of it that way, or I will become burned out. Not everyone is going to appreciate you, no matter how hard you work. Some people just can’t… I.e. The patient down the hall who as a narcissistic personality disorder and was abused when she was younger…it’s not physically possible for them, they have things going on that cannot be fixed by medicine. But that’s apart of the job. I am so impressed by the nurses I work with every day. Even though it is their job, I can see them putting apart of themselves into their work and patient
care. Even though they know they will most likely get burnt. I can t request anything, but I guess I wonder if we should think about this, because I do all the time. Maybe we should leave the patient out of “it”. And by “it”, I mean the frustration and nasty comments. Like I said I know it’s hard, not from experience, but through observation. I think I feel bits of it while I am at work and am spat on but a patient who is out of their complete mind while trying to feed them. I have yet to defend my clinical judgment against doctors, fellow nurses and supervisors. I have yet to experience the degree of stress knowing you have 8 patients and you are not able to give them the nursing attention they deserve because you are giving to many things to do. What I really want to
know from nurses who have had experience, what is it like out their as far as
the hospital itself is concerned. As a business…. I know everyone is different, but am I setting myself up for a career that is going to not only put slot of stress on me and my body but one that will show no monetary gain or stability? I have considered this question within the last year (wish I would have before I began nursing school) . I am wondering now if I should just finish, become an RN and work as an RN to gain experience in healthcare and just go back and get my masters as a PA… It seems they have a good income and stable jobs, they can even work for multiple physicians. The hospital in some cases doesn’t even have to pay for them, it sounds beautiful… I guess it would be my dream job.. But I thought that was nursing. It would be more school and more money. Just trying to gain some insight I guess before I jump into another profession. With as much influence the business side of things is put onto our jobs I wonder how this will look even more in to the future, looks a little scary to me. Please feel free to reply to my comment with any form of opinion, tell me I’m wrong our right or actually give me your thoughts as to what you would do. I’m used to anything by now, I’m like a beaten dog.. Nothing like turning in a care plan to an instructor thinking it’s beautiful and immaculate to get it back with questions like how does the patient void…. When it is stated several times and it’s not even important to the patients plan of care..(example, voiding per urinal with amazing output, no CHF or underlying input or output issues) Or when you write the hemoglobin out five or more times explaining the value and why you believe it is the way it is to only be asked again, and corrected for not putting it down when they just tell you exactly what you just wrote is the correct answer.. I guess I have come to learn I will never be right.. Not even after I graduate haha so please comment

Bryan BSN 02.02.12 at 12:54 am

I was an autoworker for a very long time before becoming a nurse and WOW you sound like factory rats himming and hawwing about how unfair life is and how they this and they that. Just retire, quit, go away and make room for, well, me! During clinical I heard nurses talking about their patients while checking facebook….i mean REALLY! I’m a factory rat and I was/am apalled. Anyway just love your patients and btw sir this was a great article that some unhappy old bird ruined

Frankie Slade 02.10.12 at 6:18 pm

Travel nurse companies are in cahoots with the hospitals. They are spies and informants, beware.
They don’t care about the working conditions for nurses. Travel nurse companies are puppets on golden strings. If you confide in your recruiter, your recruiter will report all information to your nurse manager and the hospital administration. I have a suspicion that this “Bryan” is a plant.

ghufran 02.14.12 at 4:09 am

i m proud to be a is realy a good profession.

Kaytlin 02.17.12 at 3:00 pm

This was a very helpful site… intresting to hear all the negativity in the posts but it seems 50/50 witht he people who are happy with their decisions to become nurses on here… I am trying to decide if nursing could be my calling and was hoping that some of you could help! ….I am 23 and I do not have any college education. I worked at a grocery store for 6 years and quickly got into management by the time i was 18. I can manage my time well (most days) and im quick on my feet and to make important decisions. Blood and vomit dont really bother me, they can just be gross sometimes depending on the situation but not something that would stop me from getting the job done. I like people and im a natural caregiver but im not a big “chatter” id rather get my work done and move on (although i am not rude, i can carry a conversation and be polite to a patient). My biggest concern is that school scares me. I dont know if i will be able to handle the academic portion of becoming a nurse. You could say I have low confidence when it comes to book smarts but common sense and street smarts (as well as doing things ive been taught) I am considerably more confident in. Is it possible for anyone to learn about nursing and pass with flying colors as long as they study and make sure they understand the material? Am I nurse material???

TammyP 02.22.12 at 11:11 pm

We all have good days and bad. The problem is coming to a public forum and posting your frustrations are not helping the image of nursing.
If you are not happy with your position, seek another. You are not doing yourself or your patients any good. Take care of your mental as well as physical health.
To those who have come to this page to research nursing as a career. It’s hard work, physically, mentally and emotionally. (as you can tell). It is one of the hardest yet most rewarding careers around. It’s not for the faint of heart. You will see life begin and end and all types of hurt and heartache inbetween.
In my 20+ years of nursing there have been days where I have questioned my decision to enter into this profession. But those days are few and far between. Then there will come along a patient who will remind me why I do what I do.
It is worth it.

TammyP 02.22.12 at 11:16 pm

OH – BTW Mr Winter. . . To try to get the discussion back on track. Excellent article! I will agree having a sense of humor needs to be on the list.

ChristineC 02.23.12 at 10:05 pm

A sense of humor is a MUST-from sliding through whatever was deposited on the floor, the little naked lady streaking down the hall, my ladies who have thought their lipstick is lotion….Most days I love my job, and for sure my residents. Many of them I have had for years, and yes, I stand at their bedside and cry with the family when they die. We were always taught it was an honor to be someone’s comfort when they are dying, and an honor to care for the family also. I have been lucky to have some of the wonderful mentors I have had. Do I like some of the recent changes in nursing? Not all, some make me fear for the future. Do I like all the animosity between us? Nope, it kills the teamwork-especially when its between the RN’s and the LPN’s. It’s then when I remember my resident’s-THEY are who remind me of why I have spent the last 20 years doing what I do! And for all you younger nurses out there, just remember- don’t believe everything they tell you in school, (Utopia doesn’t exist), always be kind and considerate to your co-workers (a little honey goes a long way), be respectful of those with experience as there is always something new to learn, and never be afraid to dig in and get to work! (There is always plenty!) It can be a thankless job for sure, but to that one person whom you took a minute to hold a hand, get that extra drink, run down that doctor for pain meds, you mean the world!

Gurpreet Bajwa 03.23.12 at 12:00 pm

Hello everybody……………..
i really feel glad after pursuing nursing field
fortunately get more inspiration to inculcate in my self by learning this page abt the traits of a nurse
i would like to state here that it is only a unique profession in which there is no need to worship god if u r serving care to needy patients from depth of ur heart along with considering patients as their family members…………… are u agree with my viewpoint……………… take care

Kim 03.23.12 at 9:43 pm

Add a sense of humor to the list!

JJ 03.27.12 at 3:20 am

Well I agree with collean and dina everyone is entitled to an opinion and I dont buy into that calling crap. I’d like to see thoses with the ever so glorious “calling” work for free its a calling right yeah. Well I have a calling to be treated fairly for the work I do. These ladies are just stating the facts if u like your job great but there are thousands of people who have left the profession because of working conditions and nurses eating thier young just because they speak up. thats why change is slow, all thoses thinking about becomeing a nurse go for it. What these nurses are saying are the facts nursing shouldnt be sugar coated like thier is no bad side it is so prevalent thats not in other jobs, have u ever heard of horizontal violence people should know both sides. Its a good career for some but seems to be bad for most people. Studies also show most nurses are codependency issues and come from broken homes that should speak for itself. I’m a nurse 26yrs have seen and heard a lot.

Lydea 04.04.12 at 2:24 am

It is so important to have a passion for what you are doing. I knew this going in that it was going to be tough and that I probably would have to sacrifice a lot but I receive so much more in return. I get to hold patients hands through difficult things or I get to be there source of comfort during scary things. There are other professions that are just as tough that deal with the public such as paramedics, fire fighters, police officers. There are many professions that work several hours and are probably paid less than desirable. It’s those who have passion and are dedicated that should be in the field. Nobody likes a negative nancy as their nurse.

Any One 06.11.12 at 4:42 pm

You guys … have given me a headache… more confused. You need to be confident in yourself and know who you when pursuing any career.

Martina 06.16.12 at 5:49 pm

Everyone, let’s keep it real. No matter what profession you are in, you ALWAYS feel unappreciated and undercompensated. That’s just how the world works. I have just started my education in the nursing field, its tough…but not impossible. I have worked in a retail management position for the past 7 years, 50 hours per week, running around on my feet all day, hearing people whining and complaining all day about nonsense, and having to just shut up, smile, and agree with them while making just a smidge over minimum wage. It’s great acting experience! I would much rather be spending my time and energy on people that desperately need and DESERVE my help and attention. If you can’t handle the workload, choose a different career. You don’t deserve it, but the patients do.

Luke 07.09.12 at 5:02 am

I stumbled onto this site trying to make up my mind whether nursing is a career line for me. I consider sites like this a must-read (another training ground) for every nurse, indeed every worker. Every post up there, whether praising or castigating the nursing profession, has its merit. No field of work is a play ground. I haven’t come across anyone who comes home from work reeling with happiness from the day’s experience at work. HARDLY, at least. Job satisfaction comes with a mixture of your general attitude to life, your relationship with colleagues, your working environment and much more. Apart from your pay cheque (which you are entitled to) and ‘THANK YOU’ notes from patients and family (which you are not necessarily entitled to), nursing rewards you in many other ways – tasking your full wit and developing all aspects of your life. Nursing is a NOBLE profession. Savour the benefits and learn from the drawbacks.

Ravinder 07.27.12 at 10:41 pm

i like your page and i proud to be nurse

Cat Lew 09.04.12 at 1:44 am

Be realistic with the situation, and learn how to compromise. Another good advice is don’t put yourself through martyrdom, and suffering. In other words, don’t sacrifice who you are, yet be flexible enough to listen and adapt. Do listen to your needs, and if you feel that the place that you are is chipping away at your personal well-being and the belief that you are making a change, move to another area. By not listening to your own internal signals, not only will you burn-out yourself, you will also burn-out your patients, colleagues, friends and family. Balance is key. Good luck to all nurses, the experienced and the new. Getting burned-out is not weakness, but it is weakness if you stay there. Also you can catch more flies with honey then with vinegar.

Jay Khan 09.13.12 at 2:03 am

I was really looking forward to becoming a registered nurse and saving patients and providing the care that they despirately need. Both my parents are doctors and I wanted a career in the healthcare field which has job security and balance of life. I thought nursing was that career. But after reading so much on forums about nurses who hate their jobs I have realized that its not the same profession it used to be. Because of budget restraints and strict hippa laws nurses are basically puppets who are trained to do what they are told. All hospitals and clinics care about is making money, giving you the max load you can possibly handle. You will constantly get bashed about anything and everything you do from the hospital administrator to the physician on the floor. Nursing used to be a golden career and a career where patient care was the top priority. Not anymore, nurses are puppets and hospital adminstrators are the ones who pull the strings and make you work like a dog for every penny that you earn.

Old Timer 11.09.12 at 3:13 pm

“its not the same profession it used to be….Nursing used to be a golden career and a career where patient care was the top priority. ”
Hah–*NOT!* I quit nursing in 1980 along with millions of other women, and we had ALL the same complaints that the previous posters are voicing! The details have changed but the nature of the unhappiness, and its level, has apparently not changed.
I don’t know when this Golden Age of nursing was. It was lousy when my own mom was a nurse, in the early 50s. Same overwork. Same understaffing. Same complaints and poor treatment by patients (who feel sick and sad and afraid and angry–the bitter sadness of being sick has not changed!). Same management expectation that you will be happy to be a self-sacrificing handmaiden. Vastly worse relations with (the 99% male) doctors, though. Docs were openly contemptuous of nurses then, freely insulting us, mocking us, and yelling at us, in front of patients. It was a point of masculine pride. At least nurses aren’t forced anymore to drop everything and follow Dr. God around on rounds, taking dictation, following him from room to room pushing a metal cart full of pt charts.
I’ve been in the corporate world since 1980 and learned this: Those who pay the checks call the tune. Your job is not, as you were mistakenly told in school, to do the best work you can do. Your job is to do the least amount of work that is possible and still sell the product. This is how money is made. If you are lucky, you are in a business where the purchasing customer demands great work. If the purchasing customer does not care or is powerless to demand it (that would be the avg. hospital/clinic patient), then the business managers will cut corners as far back as they safely can to maximize quarterly profits.
Happy nurses, have some compassion. A lot of people are stuck by geography and finances in working situations where the corporate managers are able and willing to deceive themselves that they are delivering good healthcare while cutting corners. It’s miserable.
Stuck nurses, realize that you did not create this situation. It is much bigger than you. You are doing the best that you can. You are not really free to tell the truth to the patients, because they don’t need the extra pain. IF you can’t quit or change positions, try not to blame yourselves.

Hannah 03.20.13 at 4:02 am

I’m a bitter nurse here. I have not even been in nursing for a full 3 years yet. I have primarily worked med surg, a little PRN in ICU, and will soon orient to an ER. I think there are 2 things which mainly are causing my bitterness.
1.) It is impossible to be excelent at nursing (med surg, at least).
Nurses are expected to get high patient satifaction scores for the hospital, follow all core measures, make hourly roundings, prevent falls, prevent pressure sores, pass meds, know all the details of your patient’s condition, make time for patient safety huddles, ect. To do all of these things for 7 patient’s of the course of 12 hours means you have only 1 hour and 48 minutes per patient and that includes charting. Something is going to get neglected.
2.) Overtime makes you burn out faster.
I wish I didn’t have to work so many hours, but I have worked 48-60 hours a week my whole nursing career. At first it was because if I didn’t schedule an extra shift there was a good chance of being on call and having a SHORT check. I couldn’t afford that. I currently work full time days in med surg at one hospital (because appearently I wasn’t nice to my family when I worked nights, so they won’t let me go back full time) and I work PRN (usually once a week) nights in ICU at another hospital. Working in 2 different areas is limiting the burn out for now because it gives more variety. I tried to get a job in something non-med surg, but they only wanted me for med surg because I have experiance. My ICU experiance is only a small hospital, so I don’t feel like it compares to the ICU at the larger hospital where I work med surg.

Somedays I hate nursing because I feel like I never do a good job. Somedays I feel like I actually make a difference, and then I love it. My husband is in school full time right now, learning about IT work which he actually loves. I want to give him the opportunity to excel in that, so currently there is no slowing down for the next year and a half. But I can do anything for a year, right? My real question is once that year is over, what do I do? Do I keep persueing nursing? There are a lot of different fields of nursing, however I am so frustrated with not being able to be a nurse because I’m too busy doing paperwork that I am not sure I want to do it at all. I feel like I am a good nurse, but I think that paperwork permeates all nursing, and maybe the only way to get away from it is to do something else. I keep flipping back and forth between leaving nursing or fighting for something better in nursing. I am just not sure it is a fight that can be won.

To address some of the other bitter complaints:
The doctors at my small hospital are jerks and I thought that was just the way it would be, but at my larger hospital they are very nice and respectful, mostly. It really confused me when I first started working there. I think it depends on what admin allows and how desperate the hospital is for doctors.

This is the only “real” (non minimum wage job) I have every had, but I didn’t think the pay was bad. It was why a picked nursing in high school. It was the quickest degree I could get at my local community college that would give me the financial stability I needed to take care of a family if I had too. I started at $21/h at the small hospital $25.5/h at the bigger one and make a nice $40/h now at the small hospital since I’m PRN (this is in Texas).

EZNursing 04.02.13 at 6:23 pm

Career: 1st 10 years – consulting (traveling all over the place working with numerous clients, 10-20:1 ratio – no life – 70-80hr workweek), 2nd 10 years – Wall St. (working all hours, numerous clients 15-30:1 ratio – no life – 75-90hr workweek); in both jobs made $125k+/yr

Last 10 years? Nursing (work 3 12s – we call that “full-time”), 2:1 patient ratio (ICU), full life w/4 days off each week, making $130k+ in California.

I’ve worked in dozens of jobs, am in my 50s, and nursing is the easiest work for the most money I’ve ever made. Most of the bitter nurses I’ve seen have only been in nursing. No other profession. They just don’t realize how good they have it.

Happily off to my last “12” of the week and then off to Vegas baby!

– Joe

DBriggs 07.01.14 at 8:26 am

I have been in nursing for 33 years… Ive been the stressed out nurse at the bedside and I have also been the nurse who contributes positive changes for better patient outcomes. Administration is KEY for providing tools for nurses to excel. Leadership in my opinion is what drives team members to do and be their best.. this trickles down upon the patient population. Every nurse needs to know she is VALUED and praised for her work. I am a nurse administrator and furthering my education. education is only one piece… A license without compassion is an incomplete tool… Administrators need to be tested for personality traits that BUILD TEAM..Not authoritarian despots with zero compassion on power trips. Leadership takes much more than experience and education .. it takes the personality of a loving lion who protects not just patience but AWESOME STAFF !

joyce 10.31.14 at 1:25 am

Very encouraging I love nursing and treat every patient as though am the one on that bed .our reward for what we do is waiting for us somewhere and can Never ne équivalent to any money whatsoever

victoria 11.14.14 at 2:50 pm

I have read some of the comments. Been a RN for 30+years thankful for some it regret the last 10 years of it now in a clinic they treat me as if I am idiot the 1 yr new graduates are promtoed to managers immediately and they stick the 50 something yr olds in a corner to answer phones then ride them all day (unless you brown noise everyone in admin) or if you happen to know more than the new nurses or god forbid the managers then they take the policies you wrote and put there names on them. Thankless wish I could redo my life. Also look at other professions you get phenominal raises but nurses nope they plateu at about 50-70 if your lucky

Melanie 11.16.14 at 3:56 am

I am a student in the 11th grade completing an assignment for my leadership class. I was to write down a few skills/traits necessary to become a successful nurse. I read some of the comments and… Wow. It really sounds like some of you need a career change. Or maybe even a new personality. I’m not judging the “experienced” nurses here or anything. Yeah, I understand the work gets difficult and stressful, and most of the time you may or may not receive the respect that you usually expect, but who says you should let that get in the way? Why are some of you acting as if you didn’t know that being a nurse would involve this? Surely if you wanted to become a nurse you would’ve known that the career would be tough in the first place. But some of you are complaining as if you had no idea it’d be like this. Just because it frustrates you doesn’t mean you should allow that get in the way of your career. Some of you really need a sense of humor as well. Find your way out of that old lady grumpyness! Make the best of your career! Have your tough, harsh days but don’t forget your positive, rewarding days as well! I’ve been a patient in several hospitals multiple times due to kidney problems, and let me tell you, I always forgot about my nervousness in the hospital because I had many positive, dedicated nurses. They had that original type of personality that pushed them away from being that “typical” kind of nurse. That’s what really makes them special. Although quite a few times I’ve had very grumpy nurses who were always in a hurry and pretended to care when they never really do. It actually made me feel pretty bad because I felt like nobody in the hospital actually really cared about how my condition was making me feel. I understand there is a lot of work involved but isn’t actually “caring” for the patient a huge part of nursing? It kinda seems to me as if “caring” for the patient is giving them whatever crap they need so they could get the hell out of the hospital already because you have a crapload of work to do. I mean that’s how it felt for me as a patient. Seeing this made me want to become a great, positive nurse myself because I’ve noticed many, many times where patients don’t usually feel like they actually being “cared” for. Once again, I’m not saying nursing is all happiness and perfection, I’m saying push yourself through it, don’t let the negative parts of the career bring you down. Simply saying “Oh nursing is stressful. It’s not what you think” is enough to bring you all down and stop you from continuing to become amazing and positive nurses. Remember you were the one who chose this career. You knew what it would bring and you SHOULD HAVE been expecting it. But you know, whatever, you’re “experienced” so you have the right to be as grumpy as you feel. Just keep on telling yourself that. I’m sure your career will work out just lovely for you

Nancy Nurse 11.29.14 at 8:39 pm

Did you forget to make numer 11? It should read as such:
“Be everyone’s whipping boy and be everything for everybody. No complaining ladies.”

The expectations of nursing are unrealistic and in humane. And, as long as there exists a dollar to be made in healthcare anywhere, it will never be realistic or humane.

Anyone who is considering nursing?

Nancy Nurse 11.29.14 at 8:49 pm

You have no right to tell nurses who or how to be unless you have walked in their shoes. Your message just struck me like a cat who had been stroked the wrong way! You have NO idea what nursing is. A lot of nurses were taught prior to computers and all of the BS paperwork that I am sure that your leadership class is filling you in on. When they went to school, their job was to take care of patients and THAT is what they signed up for. They did not sign up to do bucket loads of random paperwork to keep sue happy patients and lawyers at bay. Now, they cannot find the time to take care of the patient because their every 5 minute or 15 minute or hourly charting has to be taken care of. YES, I said EVERY 5 MINUTE charting. Please, by all means, go get your nursing, and come back here one year to the day that you finish to see how many nurses you can relate to. Maybe you will need a career change or a sense of humor…..actually, I will give you 3 months from the day that you are released from your mandatory orientation period-if you make it that long……..

Linda 01.17.15 at 4:09 pm

I have been a Nurse for 26 years since I was 22 years old. One most important trait is always being nice to your patients. You have to know what you are doing and you have to be nice too. If you cannot be nice along with being competent, it is time to hang up your stethoscope.

Danielle 03.13.15 at 3:25 am

Before deciding on entering nursing school, beware. Make sure it’s something you really want to do from somewhere deep in your heart, and not for any superficial reason like stable job, money, etc…That’s what I did and I didn’t make it through nursing school. They kicked me out for trying to turn my last paper in late, which was due the same day of my final exam. My teacher also wanted to fail before that situation even happened, because she said I didn’t have a “sense of urgency.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I guess it’s something to do with time management, or trying to get things done ahead of time?? I still don’t quite understand the concept. I realized that I am a slow-paced person naturally, ever since my 2nd grade report card with my teacher telling me to work faster. I am very detailed and meticulous, but slow indeed like the turtle. In a way, I am glad that I failed nursing school. I was miserable the whole way through and my passion lies in learning languages and cultures. I loved the patient contact, but not so much the job…Also don’t underestimate a nurse’s intelligence, because they need to be very smart (I know because I was in school). I don’t understand why the doctors yell at nurses, but I did see it happen once during my clinical. My classmates were really sad to see me fail, calling me the kindest and most caring person they ever met, but I guess my personality in the end just didn’t suit nursing, and that is what all my teachers and counselors told me. My mom tells me that I am too compassionate…whatever that means. I don’t like this article because I DO have all the traits that it listed, or at least most of them, and nursing school ended up as a big disaster for me. Please don’t make the same mistake as I did…Nursing is DIFFICULT, and if you even think about turning in a paper late, they will fail you. If they don’t like your type of personality, they will fail you, and it doesn’t matter what your theory grade is. I think this is a sad fact of life and a hidden part of the nursing education programs that is not “advertised.” Then with the F that they gave me for failing clinical, my GPA wasn’t high enough for the school to enter into their slower paced traditional program. Basically I was kicked out of the entire nursing college for just one late paper. But I understand the reason why. I’m not blaming them. I understand that being late can make the difference between life and death, and yeah, nursing probably does not suit me. I will never know for sure, but that is what all the teachers and counselors told me, even though they barely know me, and only say it based off of my clinical evaluation. Oh well. The past is in the past. Goodbye nursing school. And my idea of a nurse completely changed as well.

ticia 03.23.15 at 8:49 am

I really love to be a nurse and ve applied for it. Am waiting to be called for an interview,what are some likely questions ?

adriana 03.24.15 at 1:52 am

I have been in nursing for almost 14 years, and I am so in love with my profession , I enjoy my job just like the first day, no joke, I really do!! I am so passionate about my job that I can’t picture myself doing something different. Yes, it is true about the long hours and possibly true the petty stuff some ppl complain about it, but as somebody mentioned we knew what we’re getting into it. I can only say that all the satisfaction we obtain at the professional and personal level highly compensate for everything. The call for this profession have to come from your heart not from the pay check. And, please, to every nurse out there that is bitter and unhappy about his/her job, please move on so you will be happy and leave your place to somebody who really have the desire to honor the principles of nursing.

Amanda 05.03.15 at 9:01 am

I’ve been a nurse for 18 years and there’s good days and bad days. First of all, it’s important to keep a positive attitude even on the bad days. It not only makes the bad situations better, but it also increases better chances for support from other nurses as well. I always start off with prayer in the morning with devotion. I try to wake up with a positive attitude and it makes a huge difference in the day. If there are negative nurses or staff, pray for them, and give them a hug just to show you care. Choose to be a role model for everyone and see if that doesn’t change the whole atmosphere for everyone:)

Bob 06.15.15 at 6:34 pm

What a great discussion. Never would have expected a naïve depiction of the ten traits of nursing to unleash such passionate and provocative posts.
I am a nurse for 5 years and have worked positions in medsurg, ER and ICU. I’m proud to be a nurse. And yes, I have had good days and much less fortunate days.
I believe the qualities presented by Mr. Winter are quite safe and predictable. What the author doesn’t tell you about is presented candidly in the comments section by real nurses.
Sure, some of us may have chosen this career path for altruistic reasons, others as an avenue to advanced opportunity, but none of us chose this profession to become an object of derision or face conflicts regarding profits before patients. I’ve been in nasty situations, and I’ve been in uplifting ones. I have found though, that life as a nurse becomes a lot easier with experience.
For those considering becoming a nurse, realize that it will come with inherent risks. Just always be prepared, pay attention and be the best you can be. The truth is, beginning a career in nursing can be like treading water for the first time.


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