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15 Struggles Only A True Nurse Will Know

15 Struggles Only A True Nurse Will Know

Photo of Greta

by Greta Kviklyte

Life Saver, AMC
Co-authored by Kim Murray, RN, M.S.

posted on Apr 24, 2016, at 9:39 pm


YOU ARE A NURSE. You have an inimitable career that plays a vital role in medicine. You are proud to be a nurse, but let’s face it – you don’t get enough credit. Your workdays consist of things that “normal people” wouldn’t ever imagine seeing or experiencing. Here are 15 struggles only a true nurse understands.

15 Struggles Only A True Nurse Will Know

1. Things just don’t gross you out anymore

Ever since you began studying and practicing nursing, the word “gross” has vanished from your vocabulary. The things non-nurses couldn’t handle the thought of are responsibilities you don’t think twice about and have to do all day, everyday. The willingness to adapt and try something new are two qualities many people don’t have, and therefore aren’t cut out for the “gross” world of nursing. Happy toileting!

2. What social life?

While this is a struggle you will probably learn to balance out overtime, a social life will probably cease to exist for a while. You’re friends, unfortunately, don’t want to go out at 7 am when you get off work.

3. You can’t “take it easy” at work

Jeans on casual Fridays? Taking the rest of the day off? Hah! This is out of the question because the need for patient care never stops. A nurse’s care is needed 24/7, something that many other professions will never have to deal with. The ability to be completely fine with odd hours and atypical workdays are skills that only nurses require. It’s never on your schedule!

4. Despite the thousands of tasks you are required to do, cleaning up poo is a daily task

You’ve heard it a million times before – everyone poops. You get used to it – trust me!

5. You start work at the exact opposite time of the rest of the world

Especially if you’re a new nurse or dedicated night shift nurse, you probably have to start work while people are preparing their dinners with their families. If you live in a big city, evening rush hour may be the time you’re going into work and morning rush hour may be the time you’re leaving work. Yikes!

6. Nursing school…enough said

Nursing school is hard. Like we stated above… enough said about that.
Check out our blog post: “Your 10-Step Guide to Stress Management in Nursing School”

7. You don’t have a typical day

In fact, you should anticipate that everyday will be very random and different with no expectations whatsoever. In the whirlwind of nursing, you have no clue what you’re walking into everyday. It’s like a game, but it’s not very fun and requires diligence unlike any other career.

8. Becoming a respected nurse is kind of like attempting to joining greek life

Okay this is a little bit of an exaggeration – but the relationship between you and the seasoned nurses can be quite complicated at times. Some more experienced nurses may come across as self-appointed divas who are trying to eat you alive, while others will be so genuinely friendly that you have to second-guess their every move. In addition, some experienced nurses may ask you every question they can think of, while others won’t say a word to you for a while. Through the years though you will find some of your greatest friends.

9. Vicks is your Febreeze and your perfume

Not by choice – but because Vick’s Vapo Rub is the only scent strong enough to mask the smell of well…everything smelly you will experience as a nurse.

10. You have to eat your lunch (or small snack) in minutes

You’re 15-minute lunch break will sometimes be your 5-minute opportunity to shove a bag of Lay’s into your mouth because let’s face it… you have patient’s and co-workers waiting for you.

11. Nudity means something much different to you now

Nowadays nudity is just not that big of a deal, especially when it comes to patients who need your immediate attention.

12. You can’t talk about your day with non-nurses openly

You get home after a long shift and desperately need to talk about a funny or terrifying story that happened during your shift – but guess what? No one really cares and if they do, they can’t relate and you become frustrated. At least you can call mom, an old friend from nursing school or your co-workers!

13. You’ve got to stay on top of things…at all times

Even when you’re scared, exhausted or sad, you’ve got to stay on top of everything. From patients, interns, to new nurses, you have to just deal with the chaos. At the end of the day however, the headache is always worth it.

14. Your emotional persistence is tested on the daily

Like stated above, you have to put your emotions aside when it comes to nursing. Patient care and satisfaction come first, and there is never an excuse. At least nursing teaches you emotional control in everyday situations!

15. You haven’t had a normal sleep schedule in…ever

Unless you have been nursing for nearly half of your life, you probably have a shift schedule that disrupts your sleep. Nursing teaches you to tap into an energy that you didn’t even know existed. Hooray for coffee!

Only you can fathom these struggles, but you’re OK with it because #NursesRock.

Comment below a struggle you find yourself facing the most!

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About Greta

Greta is a dedicated life saver and a distinguished expert in the field of medical content creation and editing. Her impressive array of certifications in ACLS, CPR, PALS, and BLS underscores her commitment to excellence in the medical field. With over four years of invaluable experience in medical education, Greta plays an indispensable role within the Advanced Medical Certification team, shaping the way healthcare professionals around the world acquire and apply vital knowledge.

Greta's profound expertise serves as the driving force behind the development and distribution of medical content that has significantly enhanced the capabilities of countless healthcare practitioners across the globe.

In addition to her medical qualifications, Greta holds a prestigious academic distinction in Marketing and Global Business from Vilnius University. Her academic journey has been enriched by immersive studies in Slovakia and Portugal during her time as an exchange student, providing her with a global perspective that complements her medical expertise.

Beyond her professional commitments, Greta possesses a genuine passion for global exploration, with a particular focus on immersing herself in diverse cultures and appreciating the intricacies of the natural world. While residing in Vilnius, Lithuania, she continues to make substantial contributions to the field of medical education, leaving an indelible mark on the sector.

Reach out to Greta at


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