“My nickname, given to me by my patients at work, is ‘Smiley.’
Today, I was asked, ‘Why are you always so happy?’
I do my best to say, ‘Hi’ to everyone and to acknowledge everyone’s presence. I usually start my shift thanking my caregivers and CNAs for showing up.
I literally sing while I work.
I’m basically a Disney character on most days.
I cried in my car for an hour today.
I feel underappreciated sometimes.
Sometimes it’s by patients who are yelling at me because I’m just not moving fast enough refilling their water or dosing them or changing their dressing. They ask me if I even know what I’m doing occasionally.
Sometimes by the family members who yell at me to do things differently and insist I do things the way they want, even as I try to explain it’s not really safe…?
Sometimes by the people who work with me, who seem to never be satisfied no matter how hard you work…how many hours you put in….how much effort it took for you to even get up that day and simply be present. It never seems to be enough. They still stomp and roar and remind me I am dispensable, just a number on payroll and EASILY replaced.
There are days I think, ‘I have NO idea why I became a nurse.’
Today I felt more than under-appreciated. It hurt because I know how much of my heart and soul I put into making sure I am being my best self so I can help others who aren’t their best selves currently.
It hurt because today, and this whole month quite frankly, getting out of bed in the morning has been hard. I need reasons to keep going because I feel like I don’t have enough.
It hurts to feel underappreciated and dispensable. It hurts even more when you know you put your whole heart into it.
Today, it hurt because I’ve been up since 3 in the morning. Because I’ve been working since 4 in the morning. Because I showed up to two of my jobs, smiling even though I was tired, and then got yelled at first thing. Today, I really can’t tell you why I’m a nurse.
Today I’m trying to remember I have little people watching me.
That there is a little blonde hair, blue-eyed girl who, if you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, looks at you and says, ‘A mermaid. And a mom. And a nurse.’
She’s outgrown these scrubs now, but she wore them almost daily for a whole year.
I’m trying to remember how when I picked my kids up from school, Kyle would tell all his friends, ‘My mom’s a nurse! She helps people.’ He was bragging.
How whenever Lonnie or Grayson would get hurt and Jamie tried helping, Jordan was there to remind dad I should do it because, ‘She’s a nurse and you don’t know what you’re doing.’
I’m a nurse. And I’m smiley. And bubbly. I sing while I work like I’m one of the seven dwarfs. I thank you when you come into work when I’m there because I am genuinely grateful you came and I’m happy to see you.
I say, ‘Hi’ to everyone I see because I don’t know your demons. Because I know what it’s like to need something to hang on for, and I know that a simple ‘hi’ and smile can turn a bad day into something a little better.
But I’m still a person before I’m your nurse. I have my own demons. While I’m out here taking care of you, and your loved ones, remember no one’s out here taking care of me.
So before you yell at me or tell me I’m not significant or maybe that I’m ‘just a nurse.’ Before you remind me I could do better, or should do better, or there are better…. before you make me feel less…
Remember that I’m a person. And there’s no one taking care of me but me. And I need all the smiles and ‘Hi’s’ that I’m giving out.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Betsy Hendrickson – Minton, 25, and a mother of 5. Follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Betsy here:
‘When he died, everyone reminded me ‘once an addict, always an addict.’ After 5 years sober, he bought a pill he thought was Percocet. I’ll never know why.’: Mom of 5 says ‘life after addiction can be so, so beautiful if you let it’
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