7 Things Nurses Deal with that Make Others Freak Out.

By: Lee Nelson

Being a nurse involves seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and dealing with some of life’s not-so-pleasant things. Nurses face it all from the grossest to the most stunning situations that would make the normal person squirm or run. They build up an immunity to it, but it’s still something that can make them very wary. Yet, they never stop a beat of helping the patients that they have been trained to see through it all.

“We see it all,” says Barb Gallogly. She is senior lecturer and coordinator for Post Baccalaureate Nursing Program at Henry Predolin School of Nursing at Edgewood College, Madison, Wis.

“We are the eyes of the physician and the ears of the respiratory therapist. We are in a position of privilege to be with the patients on a minute-to-minute basis. People trust us, and people open up to us,” she says.

And those patients trust them not to run away when things go from bad to worse or when they need them the most.

Things That Nurses Face That Make Them Unique, Strong And Oftentimes – Saints


It’s not pretty. “But sometimes some of us still gag at vomit and other things that come out of bodies,” says Kristin Gundt, chief nursing officer at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. “It all depends on how much you are exposed to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. We all have triggers that makes our own bodies react to it.”

Gallogly agrees that there are still things that make her gag. “But you have to rise above it, and work with it, and not to let your own personal feelings or reactions get in the way of good patient care,” she says. “A nurse must remain respectful of the patient and be calm when all hell breaks loose.” (Is your patient difficult beyond their physical condition?


In Gallogly’s office hangs a lithograph with a person who has germs all around and the words, “Please Wash Your Hands” stamped on it.

“I’m a germaphobe. As a new nursing grad, we didn’t wear gloves or masks back then. We never thought anything about it,” she says. “But now, there is anti-bacterial gel at every entrance – gel in and gel out. That’s hammered into our students now.”

She sees a lot of infected wounds, and a lot of people put into isolation because of infections. “Universal precautions don’t cut it anymore,” she says.


Sometimes when someone else is vomiting, the sound itself can set nurses off with their own gagging reflex. “Or sometimes you hear someone with diarrhea and the gas with it, and it can set something off in you, too,” Gundt says. “But we try to hide our reaction for the patient’s sake.”

She adds that one of the hardest smells to stomach is when a patient is bleeding from their intestines or stomach. “You might have to excuse yourself if you are going to gag or throw up. You don’t want to make the patient feel like even the nurses can’t tolerate it,” she says. “But it smells so bad.”


“We don’t know what death will be like from one person to the next. It can be smooth to really traumatic to really messy. It can be awful,” says Gundt.

One time comes to mind for her when she was a home health care nurse. The elderly lady had a relative come during the last stages of her death. The relative was panicking because she didn’t understand death and all the things that happen when the body shuts down

“People are incontinent. They can’t hold their bowels. Nothing in them is awake anymore,” she says. “So, I kept her clean, changed her and turned her, and made sure she got pain meds. I stayed with her and the relative. It’s the people that are alive that are panicking. People are scared to be alone with the person who is dying.”


“Most people’s jobs aren’t like this,” Gallogly says. “You learn really quickly to become a great multi-tasker and set priorities all the time. You usually have three or four things coming at you. You learn to delegate to others that can help you.”

Some days, it will be overwhelming. You leave work thinking that you didn’t do a good job. “With budget cuts, nurses are expected to do a lot more with less. It’s hard to give quality nursing care, and we want to take care of that whole person, but so much is coming at us. That’s frustrating,” she says.


“We don’t just take care of the person, but the whole person which includes the family,” Gallogly states. “If the family is demonstrating behavior that are precluding progress or treatment for the patient, then we pull them aside. You never know what is going on with them. We don’t know their histories. There is usually a reason for their behavior.”

She says it’s easy to label people as the “crazy daughter” or “hysterical mother.” But that doesn’t solve any problems or help anyone. “We try to explore those dynamics and include them in what we are doing with the patient,” she adds.


When people are sick, their behaviors aren’t necessarily their norm. “They lash out at us, hit us, spit on us and swear at us. There is a lot of physical and emotional abuse,” says Gundt. “Sometimes, it’s very unexpected. You never think some of these people will strike out at you because they seem stable as can be.”

Gundt adds that nurses try very hard to not put themselves in a situation to be hit or hurt. “If it’s a family member that we feel is being obnoxious, abusive or unrealistic, we won’t hesitate to escort them out or get someone to do so,” she says. “But we will start with way less restrictive methods. We try to keep people on our good side.”

Nursing isn’t all roses and sunshine. But most people understand that when they go into the profession. It’s not easy. It’s not always pretty. But for those who choose it, they say they do it because they want to help people. They want to educate people to live healthier, happier lives no matter what squeamish circumstances they have to confront.

Reposted from: https://nurse.org/articles/things-nurses-deal-with-that-make-others-squirm/

We’re Working Nurses to Death.

By: Jason Silverstein

Nurses do the work that neither hospitals nor patients could live without, which comes at an ever-increasing physical and emotional cost, as they are expected to aid sicker patients for longer hours with less support.

Otherwise, nursing could easily be the best job in the United States—the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than 400,000 new jobs will be created by 2024. In five states, the average pay clears $85,000, with nursing jobs in California crossing into six figures.

Those numbers are no surprise to those who are aware of how much older the nation’s old are, and how much sicker they are, too: By 2030, there will be 70 million people over the age of 65, of which an estimated 14 million will have Alzheimer’s and more than 50 million will have at least two chronic health conditions.

But just as the need for nurses is increasing, so too is the price for devoting one’s life to the direct care of strangers. Nearly a quarter of hospital and nursing home nurses aren’t satisfied with their jobs, according to one study, and more than a third feel burned out. “Burnout is an occupational hazard in nursing,” says Jeanne Geiger-Brown, dean at Stevenson University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions. “It is hard to generate a lot of caring about other people, because you are so depleted yourself.”

Burnout, of course, is caused by overwork, but what causes overwork is more complicated and reveals how the cost-cutting priorities of hospitals force their nurses to pay an emotional tax.

“What’s causing the overwork is the increased acuity of patients,” says Susan Letvak, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing. “You are only in a hospital if you are so acutely sick that you can barely move. The minute you can move, you are kicked out the door.”

“The push is to get everybody out of the hospital as fast as we can,” echoes Bernadette Melnyk, dean of the College of Nursing at the Ohio State University and the university’s Chief Wellness Officer. Melnyk and her colleagues recently published a paper that shows depression among nurses is associated with both burnout and medical errors.

Getting people out of the hospital “quicker and sicker,” as a few Harvard health policy researchers explain, is a response, in part, to Medicare’s prospective payment system, which pays a fixed amount for a diagnosis no matter the length of stay, and the need for open hospital beds. If that formula seems designed to create higher rates of readmission, well…yeah. Even so, there’s also a financial incentive to avoid having people readmitted.

How does the quicker and sicker approach add up for nurses? Physically, it means the shifts themselves are much harder, especially since shifts are often twelve hours to begin with, which itself is a risk factor for burnout and mistakes in a place where patient alarms are constantly sounding. “It’s not healthy for the nurses, it’s not safe for the patients,” Melnyk says.

Emotionally, the quicker and sicker model means the long hours are engineered to be less fulfilling. “It’s not very satisfying to just put bandaids on people who are really quite ill,” Geiger-Brown says.

When the hospital is successful at turfing patients to home or anywhere else, you might expect nurses to benefit somewhat: Fewer patients on a given day could mean a slower shift and a chance for a break. But that’s not how it often plays out.

“Minimum is maximum staffing,” Letvak says. “We don’t have any easy days anymore. If the [patient load] is low, which happens all the time, they send the nurses home, instead of them having a light afternoon. How few do we need? That’s all that you’re getting. Every time you are at work, it is a bad day. There really isn’t a chance of having a lighter day anymore.”

Yet nurses should have the lightest days possible—like air traffic controllers, they do a job in which we accept no room for mistakes. Suppose you know that the ideal number of patients for a nurse is four—would you want to be number five?

While it may seem like a water is wet revelation to say nurses should care for fewer patients rather than get sent home, take a look at the work of Linda Aiken and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania. They have shown just how many lives are on the line when nurses are overworked. Give a nurse just one patient beyond four and the chances of that patient dying shoot up 7 percent and the chances of that nurse getting burned out climbs an astonishing 23 percent.

Overworking nurses extinguishes their lifesaving impact. Aiken and her team have shown elsewhere that every ten percent increase in the proportion of nurses with bachelor’s degrees lowers the risk of death for patients by five percent. A study by a different group found that a 10 percent increase in registered nursing staff saves five lives for every 1,000 people discharged. (If five saved lives doesn’t sound like a lot, try replacing “five” with five names of your loved ones.)

And while nurses care for a sicker and older population in an environment that is a burnout and depression generator, they may avoid mental health care for themselves, fearing that a hospital concerned first-and-foremost with the bottom line will use a mental health diagnosis against them.

“Think about the legalities,” says Letvak, who teaches on law and policy. “If a nurse made an error and something were to come out that they had depression, and then you can see the research that links depression and errors, that nurse just exposed herself to potential liability.”

Reposted from: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/43nkjd/nurses-overworked-stressed-burnout?utm_source=vicefbus

First Clinical Shift.

I’ve honestly never felt so overwhelmed in my life entering the clinical portion of my program. Friday was my first day as a level 2 clinical student! I finally reached a big milestone in working with actual patients :O

It’s crazzzzzy how much nurse’s know and the things that are expected of us. I mean I always knew it wasn’t an easy jbo, but when you actually see what goes on behind the scenes, it’s eye opening.

Don’t get me wrong, I was completely excited by the opportunity to finally be in hospital, but i’m also so nervous to be seen as incompetent by the veteran nurses on the floor.

I realize it’s pretty normal to have the experience be nerve wrecking, i’m grateful my clinical group and mentor are all very open about our feelings and are all eager to learn and grow from our experiences. I’ve been slowing trying to change my mind set from one of wanting to impress and be the “star” of the group, to one of which I want to try to use these rotations to learn as much as possible.

While I’m happy to have been given my first choice of placement, I knew my instinct it would likely not be an area in which I would want to specialize and focus on in the future. I picked the Chest unit, largely because of the exposure it would given to to common diseases like COPD, asthma, and lung cancers, but also because of the fact I would get to better understand and differentiate between lungs sounds. I wasn’t particularly fond of the respiratory assessments in first year, partially because I don’t really know what i’m supposed to be listening for. While simulated mannequins are great for understanding placements of the stethoscope and palpating, they don’t really give you a realistic understanding of what the lungs actually sounds like in practice. I mean sometimes when you listen the heart sounds can be distracting or sometimes if the patient is wheezing, you might not get a clear picture of the heart beating.

Regardless of whether I love the chest unit by the time December rolls around, I will be grateful for everything i’ve learned. I’m excited to make a difference in patient care. I get being the ‘baby nurse’ i’ll get delegated tasks that aren’t so glamorous (ex. bed washes, cleaning poop/vomit/pus/saliva, inserting catheters), but I do believe every aspect of nursing care has an important place in making a patient feel cared for. Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact, how great does it feel to sit in a clean night gown, have your hair brushed, or even have a cleanly shaven face? While I want to help provide the medical aspects of nursing care, the other aspects are just as or even more important.

They say life is what you make of it, well, it is my opinion that the same is true for clinical and preceptorship experiences.  I know mistakes will happen The important thing to do is to learn from them, and move forward. While I feel overwhelmed now, having never had the chance to perform many of the skills I learned in person (ex. catheter insertions) I know skills will come with time and practice.

While i’ve already had days where I’ve questioned if nursing is for me. I know in time these days will become few and far between, and I will feel the rewards of nursing.  I look forward to the day when a patient’s thanks me and this appreciation will make all the hard work of pushing through nursing school worth it.

While sometimes I want to believe that i’m a super hero and can do everything on the first short, I know everything won’t always be perfect, but with a positive attitude, I can hopefully make my experience this term a great and rewarding one.



Delirium, Dementia, and Depression in Older Adults: Assessment and Care

One of the things I am most proud of in being a McMaster student is being taught in an evidence based manner. All the course work we are given, lectures, and clinical case studies are all based off of current evidence. Therefore, one of the new goals I have in advocating for mental health issues is to share some of the evidence based research I have come across. Working in my Problem Based Learning class I have come across a vast amount of literature pertaining to mental illness.

I have decided to share some of the resources I have accessed in order to help allow people who may not be familiar with searching textbooks, databases, and best practice guidelines,  in hopes that it will make the information a lot more accessible.  The first source of evidence I chose to share is from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and an update to their Depression guidelines.

As the RNAO points out this guideline “is to be used by nurses and other members of the interprofessional health-care team to enhance the quality of their practice pertaining to delirium, dementia, and depression in older adults, ultimately optimizing clinical outcomes through the use of evidence-based practices.”




To All My Fellow Healthcare Professionals.

Yesterday I moaned and complained about having to go to my Community Service Learning class (albeit it’s once a month) because I felt it was completely redundant and useless. No other nursing school starts placement in the community until second year, so why did we have to sit through this? Shouldn’t this just be inherent knowledge? I mean it’s pretty obvious we’re all caring, intuitive, and kind individuals going into a profession that is often taken for granted.

The truth is, no one in nursing school, healthcare aide programs, or even medical school teaches you the skills of compassion or empathy. How can they? I spent the whole class wondering why we were talking about this or the need to embrace diversity in the healthcare setting, seem’s like common sense, no?  The answer to that is a big solid no, and I spent a long drive reflecting on some of the things i’ve come across whether on social media, in class, working with older adults, and even in a book i’m reading called ‘A Nurse’s Story’ by Tilda Shalof (I suggest this book to all!!! I have never laughed, cried, felt so overwhelmed by the job, and appreciated nurse’s as much as a should have prior to reading this).

There’s no memorization from a textbook on what to say to a patient who is dying, a script to cover how to hold the hand of a patient going through a violating and painful procedure on their own, or even a manual on how to console a family who just lost their loved one. There’s no instruction book on what to say to a patient who can’t bathe them self or when you’re cleaning them up after they defecated or threw up all over the place because they can’t control their bowel movements. How do you deal with a patient who is going through  dementia and becomes aggressive with you or starts shouting or trying to place an IV into the restless, frightened and tired child who was kept up all night from being ill? Putting in the IV is textbook, anyone could do it with skill and practice but there’s no textbook on how to interact or console the young child. I don’t find learning the skills to be hard, I mean all we have to do is practice. Anatomy all I need to do is memorize and review. I find the hardest part of nursing to be learning to interact and converse with a patient. How during my own OSCE sitting with a standardized patient going through the early stages of dementia, all I could think about was “what the heck do I talk to you about, I don’t know anything about you and how to comfort you????”, rather than how do I conduct a Mental Status Exam or collect the patient’s blood pressure, O2 saturation, and TPR (temperature, pulse, and respirations).

On another aspect, I came across a picture on Facebook a few days ago of a scantily clad young woman passed out at a party that had defecated herself, while her fellow partygoers mocked her and uploaded pictures to social media. It was incredibly in-dignifying, sad, and messy seeing the young woman in such a vulnerable state. What was even more sickening were the comments of people judging her and making fun of her, it made me angry to see people be so inconsiderate, soulless and cruel. We’re humans, we all make mistakes and this woman while likely made a poor judgement call should never have had her mistake uploaded for the world to see. One thing that did strike me were the comments of fellow healthcare aide’s and professionals because like them my first reaction would have been to find materials to help clean her up, whether it be finding something to dispose of her “waste”, some wipes to helps clean her up, and a fresh set of clothes, as well as checking in on her vitals to make sure she was okay. Regardless of how “disgusting” it is to see human waste coming out of her body, she’s a young woman who deserves the right to her dignity and protection of her privacy. But again, it wasn’t until today that I really appreciated having a lecture on diversity and empathy because I realize those are things that cannot be taught whether it be in a classroom or textbook.

To be honest, it’s scary working in such close quarters with a patients and learning to interact with them, but it’s also incredibly rewarding at the same time when you finally find that grounding. I’m starting to feel more confident in my abilities and willingness to learn to skills and continue to become an empathetic, kind, and compassionate healthcare professional but I also know it’s going to be a work in progress. It’s not easy though to not judge someone or feel like you don’t owe someone something, after all we are all human at the end of the day. As our society becomes more diverse, it’s going to be interesting learning to interact with patients of all ages, sizes, occupations, creeds, and ethnicities. Regardless of whether I agree or not with someone who does not share the same values as me (ex. “White Supremacy”), they are still entitled to a duty of care and respect even if it means putting aside my own thoughts and feelings.

Looking back at my own “practical experiences”, my first shift working at a Senior Care agency with an older gentleman going through the terrible and irreversible condition of dementia was my first eye opening experience. I was told the individual would be pleasant although a bit stubborn, little did I understand how in an instant dementia could change a person’s demeanour in the blink of an eye. I walked in, introduced myself, and sat down to eat lunch with the man, and the first thing the man did was shout at me telling me how much he hated it being in assisted care and wanted to go back to bed. Trying to convince the man to stay in a calm manner, he began to use his wheelchair to return to his room where much to my dismay went to sleep calling me “mean” because I was trying to encourage him to take a few bits of his pudding to get some food into his body. To some this seems like it’s not a big deal, but to any healthcare provider, it’s hard to stay compassionate or kind in situations like this but we do it because we care regardless of whether or not the individual takes a liking to us.

It’s funny because I remember my first day at Western back in 2011 and being asked who wanted to be a doctor that over 300 out of the 340 kids raised their hands and out of this 200 wanted to work with kids. I realize to obtain my goal i’m going to have to work incredibly hard to compete with some of the best and brightest and I realize even when I get there my work will be incredibly hard, depressing, but also rewarding. Like I said in the beginning of my nursing school journey, I would be interested to see where four years will take me in terms of where my interests lie, and it’s already been one term and i’ve started to find my niche. I thought I would never make it to this point going through the personal struggles and self-doubt I encountered late last year, but 2017 has brought a new found confidence and stride in me and I am ready to face the challenges that sit in front of me. I’m doing all of this for me in the hopes that someday I can make a difference in the life’s of people going through what is often a vulnerable, frightening, and tumultuous period in their life.

I’m not sure i’m cut out to work with an older population. I really struggle to find the ability to connect with patients and find common ground. Along with being a labour and delivery nurse, I always thought for some reason geriatrics would be an area that would interest me, after all that is where most of the patient demographic will sit when I finally enter the world as an RN. But after spending weeks working with young kids whether it be in a community hockey program, helping out with a hockey tournament, or even interacting with the children of fellow friends, I have found a new interest in paediatrics and it makes me so excited at the possibility of getting placements in this area in future years. After years of convincing myself I didn’t like kids, I have a new found interest, curiosity, and passion with working with them. I remember growing up being fascinated at working at SickKids Hospital and entering those doors everyday as a doctor saving lives and eventually telling myself I wasn’t good enough to work in healthcare. But now, I found a renewed passion in it and I must say I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but I hope to work my way to getting into a NICU or PICU and helping the sickest of the sick hopefully  be able to go home and grow up to be amazing individuals with all the potential in the world.

But in all honesty i’m incredibly proud to be part of a cohort of people looking to take care of others and for the most part striving to make a difference even though many people often take us for granted. Without these individuals putting aside their judgements and personal problems we would never have a healthcare system like the one we have now and for that I am incredibly proud of the people who put in many hours to take care of us and our loved ones as well as the hours of study and practice to become competent professionals.


Hospitals as a Safe Space for Opioid Injections?

Interesting opinion piece I came across in the NY Times regarding the promotion of safe injection sites in hospitals.

In all honesty, I have the agree with the rationale behind this thought. As healthcare providers we can’t tell our patients to do something and expect them to follow through, particularly when battling addiction. What we can do as professionals is build trust, the foundation of any healthcare provider-patient relationship. It’s the one aspect we can control, by telling or restricting a patient from doing something because of fear, patients will rebel. It’s similar to telling a teenager they can’t drink, chances are when they do have the opportunity to sneak out (which they will) and have the chance to drink they don’t maintain control.

By promoting a safe environment for patients, we can delve deeper into understanding their addiction and working with them to promote health, rather than being seen as the unreasonable dictator. With opioid use on the rise, it’s important our healthcare system is doing what we can in promoting the best interests of our patients. While illegal drug use is obviously not condoned, promoting patient centred health care is, and we need to do a better job at understanding the complexities of treating drug addictions. In health promotion you are taught that you can’t encourage or expect change if someone doesn’t want it or is restricted. So why not start with treating the addiction in a safe space and building patient trust?



HANOVER, N.H. — “How am I feeling, Doc?” my new patient answered. “I’m feeling like a caged dog.”

Hospitalized for a heart-valve infection resulting from injection drug use, my patient had purple hair and arms covered with hand-drawn tattoos. She smelled unwashed.

“I can’t go out to smoke. My boyfriend can’t visit,” she said. She gestured to the security guard in the doorway. “I can’t even pee without her watching me!” The guard rolled her eyes.

So, rather than building a therapeutic bond through small talk or discussion of her symptoms, we spoke of her confinement. The ban on visitors and the other unusually restrictive terms of her hospitalization were not a consequence of her drug addiction. They resulted from her behavior in the hospital.

Once a nurse found the patient in the bathroom shooting heroin into her I.V. line, the sink spotted with blood. A housekeeper changing bedclothes was almost spiked by a used needle hidden under the mattress. A constant influx of boisterous visitors came to her room day and night, some delivering heroin.

With quality of care, professional propriety and staff safety at risk, polite conversations escalated to rancorous confrontations. Finally, the patient got an ultimatum: She would receive care with a 24-hour guard in her room, with no exit and no visitors; or she could leave.

It is a new world in health care as America grapples with an epidemic of opioid drug abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that opioid overdoses killed over 28,000 people nationwide in 2014, more than ever before.

From heart-valve infections to drug overdoses, the casualties of this epidemic wash up in our hospitals. It has changed my hospital service significantly. Almost every day, we try to save a young person dying from infectious complications of injection drug use.

Addicted patients usually bond with their providers over the shared goal of healing. Yet these interactions, which often bridge divides of class, culture and personal psychology, can break down. When addicted patients inject drugs in the hospital, doctors and nurses can find themselves cast in the role of disciplinarians, even jailers.

Confining patients to their rooms, restricting their activities and posting guards is expensive. It may also compromise a patient’s well-being: Ambivalent providers may visit less often, educate patients less avidly and spend less time devising the best treatments.

The worst effect of confining addicted patients in the hospital may be the damage to the patient-provider bond. I couldn’t blame my patient for feeling caged, even if she had brought those consequences on herself. Her nurses told me they felt conflicted, too. They wanted the simple bond of caregiving back — and they wanted the patient to stop getting high and jeopardizing staff safety.

The problems presented by injection drug use are legion, but creative solutions exist. One is the provision of safe drug-use rooms. Cities as far-flung as Vancouver, British Columbia, and Paris and Berlin have opened safe, well-lit rooms where addicts can get clean needles and other equipment without fear of incarceration. In New York State, Ithaca and Manhattan are considering similar initiatives. Such facilities can also connect addicts to needed services like preventive testing, acute care and treatment for addiction.

Safe drug-use rooms are typically designed to help keep addicts out of the hospital, but they could work for addicts within hospitals. A safe place to inject for addicted patients in the hospital could reduce conflict with staff, protect patients and providers from dirty needles and other drug hazards, and enable patients to receive respectful, high-quality care when back in their hospital beds. Safe drug-use rooms could also offer treatment for addiction, a step often neglected in hospitals.

The creation of these rooms for hospitalized addicts won’t be easy. There will be legal liability concerns, and hospitals must safeguard against the risk of overdose or unseemly behavior. It will be worthwhile to tackle these issues if it enables the provision of compassionate care for at-risk patients whose treatment would otherwise be endangered by conflict with providers.

As for my patient, I looked her in the eye and told her I was sorry she felt caged, and that I cared. In time, she relaxed, and trust grew. We discussed her symptoms, her life, and how we hoped to get her better.

We hadn’t cured her yet, not even close. Many challenges remained. I was glad we now had a chance to face them together.

Learning to Love What You Do.

It’s only the beginning of working towards my career as a nurse. Oftentimes, I question whether i’m good enough to take on such a large responsibility. Whether I have the capacity to love and care endlessly for all the patients that will come into and out of my life. But then I think about the adrenaline rush I get from reading about treating illness, the mysteries behind disease, meeting new people with interesting stories, and the feel of wearing a uniform that’s well respected.

The first term of nursing school has been hard for many reasons. Going through a break up, working through change and loss, balancing all my commitments, battling depression again, and trying to figure out school again has been difficult. It’s been hard to stay focused and motivated. Fighting my depression again has been difficult. There’s just so much going on and I can’t sleep, eat, or even think straight. I spend my days a waking zombie just trying to make it to the end of the day when I can fall back into my bed and think maybe tomorrow will be better. It’s like groundhog day. There have been many nights where I question ‘why am I even here?’, I didn’t ask to be here, I didn’t ask to take on all these responsibilities and have to grow up, and I didn’t ask to battle depression for 10 years. I’m tired of it all. I’m so tired of thinking and trying to pretending to be happy. I know I have so much to be grateful for in my life, but sometimes (I know it’s selfish), it doesn’t feel like enough to make me want to continue on this path. There have been nights where I read stories of innocent and helpless people dying and I question, why not me? That I don’t want to continue to grow up anymore and it’d be so much easier just to not have to anymore. I would be free at last. But then there is a part of me that is scared of the after life, of where does our soul go when we die. Would I be punished and stuck permanently being unhappy and in limbo leaving on my own time rather than in divine time?

I try to remain positive and push through but it’s been incredibly overwhelming at times. Somedays are terrible, somedays are okay, and once in a while I have a day where I am so grateful for being here. Lately, I have questioned whether i’m to weak to push through all of this, the immense pressure I feel to get maintain a 3.7 GPA, balance work and volunteering, trying to keep up with classes and falling behind, balancing a social life, all while trying to learn to adult at the same time. To try to build the “perfect” life it seems everyone around me strives to achieve. I question if I can’t even handle these simple stressors, how can I handle a job that will oftentimes be stressful, frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming. What if I get to the end of all of this and it turns out it isn’t even something I want anymore? What if I realize i’m not good enough to take on this job or that it’s not what I thought it would be like? I get scared thinking maybe the job I think I want is all an idea in my head. I try to think back to what made me want to get here. I was the kid growing up taking all the pamphlets from the pharmacy trying to understand “how to treat asthma”, “diabetes prevention”, and “what to do when you have severe migraines”. The kid that would go to the library every weekend and take out all the books on health because it made me excited to learn about the human body. The teen that left her program in her first term because I so badly wanted to be in a health program in hopes it would get me into nursing or even medical school when I was done. But that person that every time I passed a hospital my heart would light up because I knew it’s where I wanted to be one day. I try to focus on this and remember I am where I am because I chose to be here.

I know I should be proud of how far i’ve come and how hard i’ve worked to get here. I know there are so many others who would kill to be in my place in getting into a strong nursing school. That even getting into nursing school is a feat in itself. I recently found out over 1000 people applied to be where I am right now, and only 140 of us were selected because it was felt we possessed the skills, intelligence, and maturity to take on this challenge. I know I should be thankful, and I know over the past year the universe has given me many signs of what is to expect when I ask for signs, but I sometimes find it hard to trust my own intuition even though it’s never led me astray. I chose this path for a reason, because I want to be passionate about what I do and to pursue a dream i’ve longed to achieve since high school but never had the courage to do so. Largely because I thought I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to compete with the best and so I thought giving up my goal would help me find my happiness, instead it just made me more unhappy to know I was moving towards something I wasn’t passionate about, the typical 9-5  desk job.

Slowly, i’m finding my footing again. It’s been fun actually learning hands on knowledge. It makes me excited for next term when we actually get to begin learning and practicing nursing skills. What keeps me going is trying to make it to second year, to find the strength to finally get out into placement. I want to make a difference in the life of another person.  I’ve been reminding myself that I knew that nursing school would be full of blood (hopefully my own), sweat, tears and failure, but that when I finish this tough program I would be so proud of my self for succeeding and pushing through. That after many years of hard work, I was always known to persevere in whatever I do just to know I stuck it to the man and proved people wrong.




Sick Not Weak.

What an inspiring and fierce campaign that was launched by the SickKids Foundation. It’s empowering in a sense, in that there’s been a shift from sickness being seen as a weakness to battling sickness being seen as fierce.  Wonderful to see both patients and the staff who provide the necessary and often life-saving care presented in such a brave manner.

From the traditional heart-string provoking videos using song’s like Fix You by Coldplay to draw more sympathetic emotions from viewers, it’s a bold move in my opinion to set the background music to the rap song “Undeniable” by Donnie Daydream. It’s awesome seeing such an innovative organization taking strides away from traditional campaigns in gaining support for their fight and still tugging on the emotions of viewers. It’s touching to know that each of the kids featured in the video all have a story with their own illness and being a showcase of the amazing work SickKids has been able to accomplish in making a significant difference in not only their lives, but the lives of their families.

Only makes me more excited to enter a profession in which I can help be apart of a team that empowers patients into believing they are more than just their illness. Modern medicine has made so many advancements in healthcare technology, medicine, and in patient care, but the video is a great reminder in bringing forth the reality that the fight is not over.

What an inspiring campaign from a phenomenal organization. Just to put things in perspective at SickKids, more than 80 per cent of patients battling cancer survive, about 98.5 per cent of heart surgeries performed are successful, and the mortality rate from liver failure for intestinal diseases has dropped to less than 1 per cent, from what was about 22 per cent in 2000. Within 16 years, that’s a 21% drop!

I really encourage everyone to check out the relatively short video. Be inspired and in awe of the battle patients, researchers, and  their healthcare providers fight everyday. Without the funds that are raised through these campaigns the fight would not be possible.