Nursing Reality

You just can’t contain the excitement, today, after years of struggle and sacrifices, is finally your first day of work as a Registered Nurse. You look at your reflection in the mirror and think of how well the white uniform suits you as you reminisce all the sleepless nights you spent burning candles for long exams, nursing care plans, drug studies and quizzes. You look back on the day you finally got hold of your dilemma, proof that you are a survivor, that you have succeeded nursing school and can’t help but smile.

As you step foot on the floors of the hospital, you try to remember that overwhelming feeling of seeing your name on the list of passers of the board exam. Those welcome tears of joy and squeals of happiness.

Now is finally the time to reap what you have sowed. Your dreams have turned into the reality and from being a student nurse aspiring to be a Registered Nurse, you finally are one. The day has been going on well, until something hits you. You slowly realize that nursing isn’t what you always dreamed it would be, nor is it a straight road heading to success, instead, you are bound to have another roller-coaster ride as you go through your journey and the reality of your chosen profession.


We do the dirty jobs

Just because we’re wearing white doesn’t mean we don’t get to do the nasty job. As nurses, as much as we do the cool stuff such as administering IV medications, performing procedures as ECG, Defibrillation and etc, we also do the nasty stuff such as collecting sputum from our patients for a sputum exam, wiping their butts when they defecate, suction their secretions and a whole lot more. However, all of these are done for a purpose. You signed up for this job, helping save people’s lives, and one way to do this is go through unpleasant experiences that would help them get better.

nursesStressful seniors

Every institutions has this scenario wherein the seniors eat their young. You don’t always work with the happy-go-lucky health team you envisioned, in some cases as newbies in the profession, you may get bullied or bossed around by those who were on the job way ahead of you. Oftentimes, this leads to the newbie to give up work early. They tend to get frustrated with the pressures and co-worker troubles and decide that they can’t stand it. Just do not let all the negativity get to you, just perform your job well, if they criticize you, take it constructively. Do not let others make you give up the job you dreamed and worked so hard to achieve, instead let your determination, patience and perseverance rule you.

Low salary

It is quite undeniable that some students choose to enroll in nursing because of the money. Through the years, nursing has grown into a very in-demand profession, promising big salaries and greener pastures abroad. However, every nurse must start from the beginning before they climb to the top. This is especially true in the Philippines wherein the starting salary of a nurse is just low and sometimes a bit unfair. Eventually, as the nurse gains experience and is employed long enough in some hospitals, salary may increase.

Heavy workload

Yes, we are always given with a heavy workload. We tend to divide ourselves from administering due medicines, checking vital signs, doing nurses rounds, assisting doctors and carrying out orders, performing numerous nursing tasks and procedures, assessing the patient, relaying and referring abnormalities to the resident on duty and so on. In this case, the nurse must know how to manage her time wisely and make priorities. That way, nothing will be overlooked and much will be accomplished.

Stressful work environment

Being surrounded with sick people and life and death scenarios isn’t really one of the most pleasant experiences. You get to encounter people from all stages of life, a baby taking her first breath to a cancer patient taking his last. You get to encounter people struggling to recover from an illness and their folks trying really hard to pay for their fees. As nurses, you get to experience all of these. It’s not always the happy scenario you see on TV that you experience in real life. However, don’t get too depressed, as much as nursing can be a stressful professions, it can also be considered as one of the most fulfilling. Imagine an intubated patient finally recovering, breathing on his own and is due for discharge. This is just one of the many miracles you get to see for yourself if you are a nurse.

Just a nurse?

Uh-huh, we get this a lot. “Nurses are just second to doctors, they are just assistants and can’t function without doctors”. Yeah, yeah. That is the common notion of the public, however, as much as we rely on doctor’s orders for some interventions we need to perform such as medications and invasive procedures, we also have our INDEPENDENT roles, we also get to make our own NURSING DIAGNOSES. The negative perception is often due to some nurses acting like those: like robots waiting for a physician’s order to move. Instead of confirming the perception, let us prove to them that they are not right. Like doctors, we have served years of health education, and passed the boards to practice in this profession. We are professionals too, let us act like one.


It may sound cliché already, but nursing is not always what it seems to be. While the realities may shock new graduates and newly Registered Nurses and may even discourage them from pursuing their career, one must also know that some of the best things in life happen in nursing. Ever profession has their fair share when it comes to horrible realities, but if the new employee chooses to avoid them, how would he become successful in that profession in the future? For one to be a good nurse, he/she must first understand the hardships in nursing and learn how to live with it, as sometimes, knowledge and skills are not enough for one to survive in this up and down profession. It should be a combination of Knowledge, Skills, Attitude and a Willing Heart. With that, nothing but a bright future lies ahead for the competent nurse.

Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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