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Holding on to the Humor and Beauty in Nursing

Nurse with patient in wheelchair

As a 22-year-old new grad nurse, I didn’t have much experience aside from my clinical rotations and my part-time job at a doctor’s office. 

Nicole Innvar, RN

So when I started my career at an ophthalmic ambulatory surgery center, I wasn’t afraid to admit that I had a lot to learn. But I never shied away from constructive criticism and was very eager to absorb any training I received. 

After working there for about a year, I had mastered most of the terminology — or so I thought. 

Rap versus wrap

It was an extremely busy day, and the Central Sterile area was flooded with instruments and trays. They had to quickly sterilize everything because one of the surgeons performing procedures that day was exceptionally fast. 

I was walking to the Central Sterile area to get an instrument for my next case when one of the staff members excitedly began telling me that my nurse manager was about to go back there to “rap.” But there was no time to chat. I had to get back to the case I was working on, so I said my goodbyes. When I walked away, I realized I had no idea what she meant by that. 

My mind went down a hilarious path, as I thought about how odd it was that my nurse manager was going to rap songs and somehow that was going to help the staff. They never covered rap music in nursing school. 

Was she taking requests? Is she more of an old-school rap fan and prefers Run DMC, or is Eminem more her style? Too bad I was going to miss it, I thought, as I smiled to myself. But as entertaining as it was to imagine, I was sure my nurse manager wasn't rapping while on duty!

When the day was over, I ran into the same staff member that I had spoken to earlier. She was so grateful that my nurse manager helped out in the Central Sterile area for most of the day. I finally got the chance to ask her what, exactly, the nurse manager was doing. 

Not surprisingly, it turns out the nurse manager wasn't giving her best Drake impression. She was wrapping the instrument trays to help expedite prepping them for the next procedures on the schedule. Now, that made perfect sense! 

I'm sure everyone who overheard was truly entertained by our conversation. Years have passed and I no longer work at that facility, but the "rap versus wrap" episode of "Funny Things That Happen During a Nursing Shift" still makes me laugh. 

She remembered me

I've been working at my current facility for about a year and a half now. Since we perform GI procedures, we sometimes get the same patients multiple times. Just last week, I was taking care of a patient in post-op. Right before I wheeled her out, she turned to me and said, “You took care of me the first time I came here. You were so sweet then, and you still are now.” 

She was right. I took care of her in pre-op when I was very new at the facility. I stopped what I was doing for a quick minute as I started to remember taking care of her over a year ago. Knowing she not only recognized me, but also remembered me in such a positive light, is beautiful. 

It was such a stressful day, but I'll always have fond memories of it because of her.  

Nursing can be taxing, so it’s important to be able to have a sense of humor and see the light in it all. What I personally try to remember about the shifts I've worked as a nurse is not how tired I was, but all the beautiful and funny moments. 

Although it can be easier said than done, to be able to look past the negative and focus on the positive is an intangible gift in itself.

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