The online Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘all in a day’s work” as: “If something difficult, unpleasant, or strange is all in a day’s work for someone, it is a usual part of their job: When you’re a nurse, cleaning up vomit is all in a day’s work.”
As a nurse, as Cambridge states, cleaning up vomit is part of your job. That’s just one of the minor details that we deal with. There is the poop, the pee, vomit, abscess juices, and blood that you are continuously collecting samples of and taking to lab or setting aside for them to pick up. They do not teach you in nursing school the level of “samples” that you will deal with as a nurse…”all in a days work”. I personally do not do poop well. When I say “not well”, I mean running from the room tears streaming from my eyes, dry heaving (sometimes throwing up). I have learned to keep smell good stuff, otherwise known as methanol ointment, that I either stick up my nose or rub inside a surgical mask. I may look like I have snot hanging from my nostrils…but it allows me to do my job, “all in a days work”.
On the other end of the spectrum we have other aspects that we deal with: life, death, raw emotion, feelings, hatred, obnoxiousness, drunkenness, drug overdoses, and family members that are in the medical field. The family members in the “medical field” sometimes end up being in different aspects of the medical field; but since everyone wears scrubs now — from clinical staff and housekeeping to nursing and doctors — they say they “work in the medical field” and they all know what’s going on. There is no aspect of nursing school that teaches you how to deal with the attitude and emotions from your patients and their families. To walk into it and not respond as a human being. Human response is to get an attitude too, to cry, to let your sarcasm leek out, or to be rude back. But it’s “all in a day’s work”. Unfortunately, sometimes I fail at not being human.
With learning to not deal like a human, we become Nursebots. Kinda like a robot, but a nurse who has to go about their daily life separating their self from their self. Yet be pleasant, cheerful, and keep going regardless of what is thrown at us. We go from performing a code to walking in to deal with our pediatric patient making them smile and calming them down because many of them have the “white coat syndrome” and they freak out and cry the whole time you’re performing the exam. To listen to the lungs of a screaming child, and detect if they sound abnormal, is like riding in the car with your windows down trying to talk on the phone while losing cell service. Pert near impossible! But “all in a day’s work”.
I was not adequately prepared for this life as a nurse when I was pinned that night four years ago. They do not give emotions class, they play with your emotions and make you feel like you’re not good enough to be doing the task ahead of you. They tell you to get it together or get out. Nursing school was two of the hardest and stressful years of my life. When I walked across the stage, as a student with MS, my face and arm were numb and had been for two months — the stress of the last semester of school was a training ground. Did not realize how it would shape me as a nurse and train me on how to deal and move on. It’s “all in a days work”.
I know that other jobs have their ups and downs, and everyone that deals with the public deal with the same situations as medical personnel…and to all of you I raise a glass. Keep it up. Do your best. Keep on, keeping on…and just remember it’s “all in a days work”.