20 Things Every Nurse Should Experience

In my opinion, there are twenty things that every nurse should experience at one point or another in their career. However, not all of the experiences are positive. Some are uplifting, some are scary, and some are tragic. Yet all will help shape you hopefully to be the best nurse you can be.

  1. The honor of being present when a patient takes their first breath or their last breath.
  2. The joy of a patient requesting you to be their nurse.
  3. The agony of a patient requesting another nurse.
  4. The horror when you realize you have committed an error or omission.
  5. The thrill of being an advocate when you challenge an unsafe order.
  6. The courage of refusing to perform an unsafe order.
  7. The joy of seeing a “hopeless patient” being discharged independently.
  8. The awe of participating in a successful code.
  9. The heartbreak of participating in an unsuccessful code.
  10. Being a hero when you report suspected neglect/abuse.
  11. The awe of sacrifice when you participate in a family honoring their loved one’s wish to be an organ donor.
  12. Being a hero when you save the day by picking up that extra shift for a co-worker in need.
  13. Sacrificing as you donate personal time, money, or effort to a coworker or patient in need.
  14. The gratification of receiving a note from an appreciative patient.
  15. The dilemma of whether to confront a stranger in the grocery store line when you recognize they have a suspicious mole or GI bleed breath.
  16. The fear and accomplishment of performing lifesaving care outside the hospital as a civilian.
  17. The gift of saving a life.
  18. Experiencing the role of being a patient yourself.
  19. Being at the right place at the right time with the right word or action.
  20. Giving back by mentoring the next generation of nurses.

What must-have experiences for nurses do you have to add?

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