A registered nurse at Covenant Healthcare in Michigan, Andrea Pellerin, decided to pen an unapologetic and honest depiction of what it’s really like to be a nurse.
The nurse’s post about putting bodily fluids into perspective quickly went viral and many were touched by her reality check on becoming a nurse.
“For those who are afraid to become a nurse because they have a weak stomach, it won’t be the vomit or needles or blood or urine or feces that turns your stomach. You’ll get used to that. You’ll come to accept it’s just part of the job and get to the point where you’re thinking of the 38 different things you have to do while absentmindedly cleaning up a bowel movement. What will turn your stomach will be 40 shallow breaths a minute in a patient in respiratory distress. A freshly born infant that is limp and blue and hasn’t cried yet. Tripled troponin levels on your sweating and anxious patient as you realize they’re having a heart attack.”
Pellerin wrote, she continued:
“Feeling cord during a cervical check, then trying to hide from your patient the shaking in your voice as you call for help. The pale skin of a Jehovah’s Witness with a hemoglobin of 4 as she declines a blood transfusion and says goodbye to her family because they haven’t found the source of the bleed and she’s running out of time. A blood alcohol level of .18 on a 4 year old who is barely responsive and being intubated after getting drunk on mouthwash and then hitting his head. An elderly woman in the ICU signing her DNR while her sobbing daughter begs her to reconsider, knowing if treatment is stopped then her mother will die. A child in the pediatric ICU who hasn’t had a visitor in months. Not being able to find the heartbeat on a pregnant mom who hasn’t felt the baby move in a while. In the face of everything else that comes with being a nurses, I promise you’ll get used to the poop.”
“I remember writing the post when I got home from work after resuscitating my first newborn after a delivery,” Andrea shared with Bored Panda. “I cried all the way home and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I just thought to myself that these are the real moments that turn a nurse’s stomach. I thought back to all the times I was really truly scared for my patients – but nurses are so good at their poker face and trying to be the calm in the storm for their patients that it’s no wonder people think that dealing with vomit is the worst part of our job.”
Andrea is both a labor and delivery nurse who believes the best part of her job is being a part of the best moments of people’s lives.
“You see people both at their strongest and at their most vulnerable and you get to be there to support them through moments they don’t think they can make it through,” she said.
“The most difficult part is that when it’s bad, it’s really bad. People going through a loss, when the outcomes aren’t what we wanted – you do everything you can as a nurse and it can be hard not to take some of that heartbreak home with you. I wouldn’t change it for anything else though – this is where I belong. My heart is with nursing and my passion is with women’s health.”
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