To the Mom who is also a Nurse: You are incredible.
I recognize your hard work and I empathize with your struggle. And you are holding it together way better then you realize.
Being a nurse is hard work. Being a Mom is hard work. Add the two together and you have one incredibly hard-working, bad ass, multitasking superhero with skills that can actually save lives. Its a pretty awesome combination.
When I first graduated from college with my journalism degree (many years before I went back for my BSN) I entered the field of medical equipment sales. I spent my time selling medical devices to surgeons in operating rooms up and down the west coast. I probably worked with hundreds of nurses during that time, and from and outsiders perspective, I thought the nurse’s job was easy.
Then I went to nursing school. And it pretty much kicked my butt from start to finish. In fact, I can honestly, say it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
There is a nurses code of ethics that require we protect our patients and give them the best care we possibly can. When Nurse Moms leave after a long, often grueling 12 hour shift, their job doesn’t stop. In actuality, they just go home to their other full-time job: motherhood.
In the emergency room I deal with every single type of mental and psychiatric disorder ever documented in literature. Nurses work with everything from homicidal schizophrenia to depression or anxiety and everything in between.
Some of the irrational conversations I have with my two year old remind me of some of the patients I have had to deal with at the hospital. For example, I have watched her throw herself on the floor in a fit of tears because I didn’t peel the banana “the right way.” Sometimes it even happens in public, which is always a fun treat for me!
Nurse Moms learn not to react to these toddler meltdowns because it only makes things worse, just like it does with an irrational patient. Unfortunately, I can’t call a security guard to help me with my toddler like I can with a combative patient (although it would be nice!).
Nurses deal with a lot of poo. Sometimes patients are incontinent, or they have diarrhea, or they just need a help. As a Nurse, its absolutely no big deal to clean and change adult diapers. Its primary care and it is important.
After work, the Nurse Mom with little ones continues to deal with poo. Therefore, poo pretty much exists in every aspect of their life, both at home and work. For that reason I think the Nurse Mom deserves some acknowledgement.
But its OK. Really, its just poo.
Moms who are also nurses are usually more concerned about the things that might actually kill someone.
Sure, a broken arm would suck and NO mom actually wants to see their child in pain. But a broken bone wont kill you. Like, for example, falling out a window in a home that is not childproofed.
Nurse Moms make sure there homes are safe for their kids but don’t helicopter parent them from ever injuring themselves. Kids grow and learn a lot through play and they are going to get hurt once in a while. Minor injuries are a part of childhood.
During my ER nurse training program I got an opportunity to work on our pediatric unit. I assure you pediatric nurses I worked with are nothing short of amazing!
Many pediatric nurses work with parents who practically live at the hospital for weeks, months, or even years at a time because their child is sick. A ‘normal’ crazy busy day with their child at home would be the best gift in the world.
The motherhood/nurse combination is a challenging balance (especially for the pumping mom!), but it is also an honor and a privilege that many women are grateful to have. So next time you run into a Nurse Mom who looks tired, know that its possible that she hasn’t slept in a week. And give her a high-five.
Sarah Jividen is a registered nurse, blogger, writer, wife, and mother with an aspiration to empower nurses and moms to take better care of themselves. Sarah lives with her husband in a beach suburb outside of Los Angeles where they are raising their two-year-old daughter, newborn son and two rescue kitties. In a rare moment of free time you may find Sarah practicing yoga, socializing with friends, sampling dark beers or attending a local concert venue with her husband.