By Lauren Brown, BSN, RN-C
As a nurse, there is a powerful feeling I am blessed to wake up with every day. I’ve always thought that at least for a short time, everyone should be able to do something they love. If they are lucky, they start each day excited. I am thankful to be able to look forward to 4:30 am the night before a work day; I cannot wait to see my patients. Though oftentimes a true challenge, it is at work that I am my best self. The days I spend at The Mount Sinai Hospital are my best days.
Over the years I’ve been asked a pretty straightforward and simple question by patients and their family members that I’ve become more and more privileged to answer. “Is your job hard?” I reply, always, with the same response: “Hard is not the right word. If you truly love what you’re doing, it shouldn’t be hard.”
In an advanced, ever-expanding and fast paced health system, my patients serve to remind me of a few of life’s most precious things; the gift of time and the importance of being present. If politics and dollar bills were put aside, the essence of what our profession is all about still remains; we are taking care of people who are sick.
If we lived in a world where there was no money, would you still do what you were doing? When you love your job, it’s almost as though money is an added bonus. Making someone a little more comfortable or better able to understand something he or she has just been told is my reward. I am already being paid.
So despite survey responses and numerical percentages transposing our gold standard level of nursing care, I encourage you not to underestimate the opportunities we’re awarded just to give our time; walking around the hallway with a post operative patient or administering medication to alleviate pain in one’s final moments of life.
Let us never lose sight of the basics; helping, advocating, empathizing. Try and do that to the best of your ability, every day. If just for a moment, detach yourself from the fiscal and fiduciary elements that muddy the fundamental principles of healthcare in nursing. Remember why you are a nurse and stay focused on what your purpose is.
Being a nurse is as much a part of me as being a mother, a wife, and a daughter and I will always be grateful for the feeling I get when I wake up and I cannot wait to go to work.
Lauren Brown is a registered nurse on a gastrointestinal medical/surgical inpatient unit at The Mount Sinai Hospital. She has worked on 9 East for the past eight years.