Connection Nurse, a memoir

About the days when it is hard be caring.

Nurses are human. Doctors are human. Techs are human. Anyone who works in a caring profession is human.

And humans don’t always have good days.

So what happens if you work in a profession in which you care for other people? And you have a bad day?

Confession: I have had bad days as a nurse.

There are days when I came into work after a fight with my husband. A loss in the family. After dropping off a crying two-year-old who had to be pried off my legs and kept yelling “don’t go mommy, don’t go” as I had to walk out the door to work my shift. Days when I was in pain. Days when I was mildly hungover or sick or had a really bad headache. Days when I just didn’t feel like being there – nothing was wrong – I just didn’t want to be at work that day. Days when it might be harder than normal to care.

So what did I do on the bad days?

I showed up. I remembered that at the end of the day I got to go home to the husband and apologize (or maybe he would apologize to me). I got to pick up the two-year-old and get a gooey hug. I got to sleep in my own bed.

The people I was caring for, they didn’t get those things at the end of the day. They got to stay in the hospital. Fighting the battles to live. Fighting the battles to get through. Fighting the battles to see another day. As a nurse, even on the bad days, my job is to show up and be of service to them in their fight. It is my job but I also see it as a gift. It is a gift that I am given, to be able to provide service to others when they are in need.

And remembering that made all the difference for me on the bad days. I could still be present. I could still provide care. I could still make a difference in the life of one patient lying in a bed, fighting on. It might be harder but no one ever said being a nurse would be easy. What they did say was “you could make a difference.” I could make a difference. So I try to, even on the days when it is harder to be able to care.

5 comments on “About the days when it is hard be caring.

  1. Beautiful. And a good reminder on perspective.

  2. Sue Heatherington

    Hi Rachel

    This is a really powerful piece. Is it part of your book?


    Sue Heatherington M: 0777 571 0240 Sent from my iPhone


    • Hi Sue, It is not part of the book but perhaps I will find a spot for it. Thank you for the suggestion.

  3. Pranjal - Storytounite

    Have been gowing to hospitals lately for my aunt. Can relate this piece.

    • Thank you. It can be so hard to be on either side – as the patient, the family or loved one, or the staff doing the work and providing the care. I wish your aunt well.

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