‘Nursing is in my genes’

Posted on 22 May 2018

Mediclinic Professional Nurse, Karen Briton, says you have to love what you’re doing if you’re a nurse.

‘When I went to hospital as a child for a tonsillectomy, I thought it was the most wonderful place. Coming from a family of six children, I was struck by how quiet and efficient everything was.’

‘Now that I’m a nurse, my colleagues have become second family to me. We spend more time at the hospital than we do at home, so we all know each others’ histories and we lean on each other quite a lot. It’s like a big support network – some of us talk to each other more than we talk to our families!’

‘Being a nurse is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Of course it’s about helping people, but there is a great deal more emotional strain than I expected. In the medical wards, you become attached to patients and their families. And it’s always difficult saying goodbye. In the Emergency Centre, it’s less emotional because you treat the patients quickly and there’s usually a good outcome.’

‘Nursing is incredibly rewarding. But you have to love what you’re doing in order to do it well. You couldn’t stay in this profession – and be happy – if it weren’t a calling. The shifts are long and you often sacrifice social engagements and important milestones.’

‘One of my sisters who used to dismiss nursing as being ‘all about bedpans’, eventually left her career in journalism to become a nurse: it must be in our genes. I’ve been nursing since 1987 and wouldn’t have it any other way!’

Published in Emergency

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