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10 Truths About Nurses That Might Disappoint You

10 Truths About Nurses That Might Disappoint You
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No one particularly enjoys spending time within hospitals. Usually, they’re places designed for a sole purpose: to get you better, in both physical and mental health. This doesn”t always translate into the most friendly or welcoming places. After all, you’re not supposed to enjoy being in hospital too much. The hospital is a means to an end, and a service you should hope to avoid as much as possible.

Nurses are the unofficial and official backbone of any hospital. They deal with everything from providing comfort, to supplying medication, to saving lives, to dealing out news – both good and bad. Nurses are often underpaid, underfunded, under-appreciated, and out of the public eye, so it can be hard to actually consider that they have some uncomfortable truths about the reality of their lives and about the true nature of their jobs.

So if you’re looking for some insight into just how nurses really feel and think (some of them at least), then check out our insider’s guide to some disappointing truths that nurses might be hiding from you.

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1 Your feet are always killing you.

It’s just one of those things. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting down and trying to fill out some paperwork, or moving non-stop from one patient to another, your feet will be aching as you move. When you finally get home and rest your feet, the pain can be cripplingly bad. Thank God for orthopedic shoe inserts and foot spas.

2. You know that sometimes there are no winners.

There are very few perfect shifts – shifts where everyone is feeling better, where no one is in pain, where no one dies. A nurse is likely to have a dozen or so in our career. Therefore, one of the fundamental truths of care is driven home: not everyone wins, and sometimes no one wins in the game of life.

3. You don’t spend too much time with doctors.

Everyone seems to think that nurses and doctors spend every hour of their shifts working closely together. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. Doctors have their own huge swathes of work to complete, and nurses do too. Sometimes we run completely interdependently of one another, despite working on the same people and patients.

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4. Your sleep cycle is far from perfect.

If you work night shifts, this is especially prevalent. You start to sleep during the daytime and realize that you do most of your shopping either online or very early in the morning before you go to bed. Despite research that doing this for too long for too many years can actually shorten your lifespan, it keeps on happening for long periods of time.

5. Your life is not Grey’s Anatomy

Believe this. The kind of drama nurses experience is very far from the over-the-top romances and daring plots on television. Most of our drama actually comes from dealing with belligerent patients or family members, trying to juggle long shifts with the rest of our lives, and whether or not you have enough time to actually take a second to breathe, which leads us into…

6. You rarely get actual breaks.

Yeah, actual mandated breaks only happen occasionally. Usually, nurses are too busy actually getting stuff done to take their mandated fifteen minutes for a sandwich, a drink, or a chance to catch your breath. Your body gets used to it – whether or not it should have to is another matter.

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7. You sometimes spend too much time on paperwork than on patients.

The common view of nurses is that we spend most of our time rushing about, saving the lives of patients and tending to their every need. Nowadays, we spend most of our time on paperwork, working hard on the arduous task of completing every piece of paper that we need for our jobs. While paperwork can never trump the needs of patients, more and more demands are being placed on the shoulders of nurses. This means that our pens might get more action on a shift than our syringes.

8. You know that life is short and fleeting.

This isn’t an uncomfortable truth per se, rather it is one that doesn’t get addressed enough in society with any meaning. Nurses see the nitty-gritty, blood, sweat, and tears reality of human existence all boiled down from beginning to end. We know that life isn’t glossed-over or perfect, that not everyone gets resolution or a happy ending, or even a peaceful dignified death. We know that life is short – and you should live to its fullest because of this, not despite this.

9. You ignore your own health issues more than you should.

Pretty bad, but us nurses sometimes ignore our own niggling health issues because we simply don’t have the time to go and get things checked out properly. We’ve seen things from both sides of the healthcare system, as both patient and practitioner, and we might be discouraged by experiences we’ve had to help patients endure.

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10. You might – sometimes – want to discourage people from becoming nurses themselves.

It’s not something a nurse might exactly advertise, but sometimes when we’ve had an awful shift, or we’re feeling particularly down in the world, we want nothing more but to dissuade people from becoming a nurse themselves. The hours are long, and the pay is underwhelming. We deal with people who are scared, upset, angry, mean, and who are a hairs-breadth away from lashing out at us as their first point of contact in a place very few people actually want to be.

Conclusion

It’s not surprising; therefore, that sometimes nurses want to quit everything, and get to a job where we don’t have to deal with the grating minutiae of being someone whose purpose is to provide relief and care all the time. However, we usually don’t. This might be because being a nurse is a selfless vocation. Nurses might not earn a lot of money, or fame, or prestige, but we reap innumerable benefits in positive feeling, in seeing the people whom we help return to health, in knowing that we’re contributing to the world, one person at a time.

So, yes, nurses might sometimes discourage people from becoming nurses themselves – but certainly not all the time. After all, nobody’s perfect.

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More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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