Off duty nurse reflecting on why she loves nursing

Who Would Want to be a Bedside Nurse?

Bedside Nursing as a Legitimate Career Choice for RNs: Post-pandemic

With the Covid-19 pandemic more than two years behind us, sometimes I wonder whether this career is still a great fit for me. My answer, though it may seem shocking to some, is still yes!

While budgets and planning take up a good bit of my time these days, my heart is still always with the nurses themselves. These are trying times for healthcare professionals. During the pandemic, I’ve seen some amazing, talented, hard-working nurses walk away from their bedside nursing careers. I’ve seen recent graduate nurses come into the profession quickly, then leave just as quickly. I’ve also seen many nurses switch to different jobs as a way to get out of bedside nursing. And on the other side of the pendulum swing, I see many nurses who just continue showing up for their shifts, day after day. 

Everyone has their own reasons for leaving, or for staying. Personally, one of my biggest reasons to keep showing up every day is that I still legitimately love what I do. I still feel grateful for being a small part of someone’s health journey as they go through a difficult time of sickness. And I still appreciate the flexibility afforded to me by bedside nursing. So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I still stand up for the profession of bedside nursing. I continue to see it as an excellent career field with endless opportunities and options. 

There are so many advantages to this vocation: flexibility, job security, and being on the cutting edge of medical advances, just to name a few. Not to mention being part of a community whose shared purpose lies in healing the sick. A nurse is a special type of person – someone who actually chooses to help and serve those who are not having their best day. 

RNs are there as a liaison between the patient and the doctor. They can provide a listening ear in times of distress, and act as a sounding board if a patient is unsure of treatment plans made with the doctor. Nursing is a high calling, to be sure. But it’s definitely one that can fully be embraced. 

Not only is this an emotionally rewarding occupation, but bedside nursing can also be rewarding from the financial aspect and the flexibility aspect. There are lots of nurses who work their three twelve-hour shifts each week to support another passion. Maybe it’s launching a side business based on a newfound love for cake decorating. Or saving those pennies to take that grand trip across the ocean. It could be something as basic as putting money away for a child’s college fund. 

That flexibility is one of the things I love about our industry. You can keep your skills sharp working at the bedside with new innovative technologies while keeping your research abilities updated with the current best practices. And amazingly, you still have the time (and money) to enjoy your outside interests and hobbies. What’s not to love? 

But what about the physical aspect of bedside nursing as a career? We’ve all seen those veteran nurses, some well into their 60s, still working at the bedside – those are the RNs to be praised! It’s never an easy job running around for twelve hours straight. Boosting patients here, bending over to empty foley catheter bags there, hopping up to help another nurse walk a patient down the hall. 

The days can be tiresome and long. But when you’ve finally made that trek back out to your car and are driving home, thinking back over the day, about what could have gone smoother, or which conversation should have happened, you can’t help but feel grateful to be a part of it all. Knowing you’ve played a role in helping someone heal is an extraordinary feeling.  

So yes, some days are more challenging than others. And some are definitely more stressful than others. But most days, I’m filled with a real sense of pride and accomplishment for what we achieved in the space of a 12-hour shift. More than two years into COVID-19, I still believe that our career deserves to be pursued with excitement and respect. 

This is why I’ll keep setting that 5 am alarm, putting those scrubs on, and clocking in ready to face a new day. Whatever challenges may come my way, I know it’ll be worth it.