Working as a Medical-Surgical RN at Summa for the past dozen years, Jenette Leonino, BSN, RN, BSN-BC, reflects on what the current pandemic has taught her. She also shares two lessons she learned from mentors and offers advice for anyone considering a nursing career.
I have been a RN for 12 years. I started my career as a nurse student tech on 7W (a med/surg respiratory unit) and stayed on working as a RN after I graduated.
COVID made me see how essential nurses really are and how we can effect so many lives. I was always proud to be a nurse, but during this pandemic I was so proud of every single person who stepped up and faced this thing no matter how scared some of us were. I realized that being a nurse each of us could overcome and adapt to anything to care for our patients.
The advice I would give to someone who wants to be a nurse would be look deep within yourself and ask yourself why you want to become a nurse? If someone is considering becoming a nurse due to thinking that nurses make good money, or because it is a stable job, or because it seems cool, maybe think again. Getting through school is difficult and it doesn't get any easier after that. The hours are long. Working nights, weekends, and holidays is not fun, and there will be many days when you won't get as much as a thank you. However, we do it because we really want to help and care for all people. Being a nurse isn't about what you do, it's about who you are.
Early in my career I had two experiences that I feel have shaped the nurse I am today. One more experienced nurse on our floor told me to trust my gut. If I feel like something isn't right it probably isn't. She also taught me to be persistent in advocating for my patients. She would tell me "Don't be afraid to kick the beehive." Another NP taught me that when your patient is coming close to death to not be afraid to talk to them about it, and when the time comes don't be afraid to give the meds to help make the dying process a little more comfortable. She taught me that dying is a part of life and as nurses, it isn't always about healing, but sometimes about just easing the pain.