Why Am I Still a Nurse Anyway? Part 1 of 2

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, August 30th, 2012

Most nurses didn’t choose this career because of great hours and working conditions. As trite as it may sound, most of us entered the profession of caring to help people…in their toughest times.  I often say that nursing is a calling. That’s why we sign on and stay on.

Yet on the days when the workload is too great, on the occasions that we can’t take all the pain away, after the shift when we go home with achy feet and achy hearts, those are the days we need to be reminded of why we do what we do. We need to reignite our passion for nursing.

One of the best ways to do that is by recalling and sharing our stories. I learned the crucial importance of this when I read over 2000 stories to select the top 101 for Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, then 2000 more for the second edition, the Second Dose. Clearly, when nurses share their stories, they remember why they entered this profession, and why they stay.

What are your stories? To put the fire back in your belly for nursing, take time to recall them. Use these 11 questions to get back to the basics of why you do what you do:

  • When did you know you wanted to be a nurse? Was it when you bandaged the neighborhood cats or reluctant little brothers? Was it when you saw someone role modeling what it was like to be a great nurse? Did you watch a compassionate nurse care for someone you love?
  • What is your best story about being a student? What was your first day of nursing school like? Who was the first patient you ever cared for?
  • When was the first time you (nearly) fainted? (Or better yet, when your classmate did!)
  • For us “seasoned” nurses, how did you feel when you received your nursing pin or donned your cap for the first time? (Tell the “young” nurses what a cap was!)
  • What was the funniest thing that has ever happened to you as a nurse? What was the scariest? What was one of the most emotional moments?
  • What patient left an impression on you? Which one “healed” you or taught you an important life lesson?
  • What patient family member impressed you the most?
  • Who was a favorite mentor or the one who “showed you the ropes?” Why was he or she so special?
  • How have you grown as a person because you are a nurse?
  • When did a doctor teach you a lesson or two? When did you teach a doctor a lesson or two?
  • What are other special memories about people or medical circumstances?

As a nurse speaker, I specialize in nurse recruitment, nurse retention, and work life balance and can help improve morale, retention and recruitment. CONTACT ME TODAY to talk about my powerful keynotes, workshops and programs. I look forward to helping your organization achieve its goals.


2 responses to “Why Am I Still a Nurse Anyway? Part 1 of 2”

  1. IHNA says:

    Thanks for the useful article. The questions mentioned above really prompts us to come up with more beautiful story related to our nursing career. May more nurses be encouraged with this article and keep up the good work.

  2. Cathi says:

    I’m not sure which heading this would go under. I still remember a certain patient I had in ICU. I don’t remember his name, only that he was under my care. His family had just left to go home. I was doing my assessment of him and just “had a feeling.” Nothing I could put my finger on. I called his daughter and told her this. She came back in. He died shortly thereafter. She was so thankful I had called for and she got to spend a few last minutes with her dad. While I don’t remember all the details of that night, I will never forget how I felt I helped a family say their last goodbyes.

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