Mommy, When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Nurse Just Like You!

My kids love asking me all about my adventures when I was working in the hospital before they were born. They love to hear all about how I had to work all night long, while the rest of the world was sleeping. They never get tired of asking exactly what kinds of things I did during my shifts as an Orthopedic nurse.I do a pretty good job of glossing over the 3:00 a.m. runs down to the cafeteria for Zingers and instead try to focus on you the, you know, actual work my job entailed.They are endlessly fascinated hearing about the patient I had who required leech therapy to heal his finger wound. They think it is just the coolest thing ever that I had to pluck the engorged leeches off his finger and hand carry them in specimen jars to the lab to be disposed of properly. Honestly, looking back on it now, it is pretty amazing.Because I worked on a post-surgical unit, most of my work stories involve pain management. Let’s just say some patients were easier than others. For instance, we used the standard 0-10 pain scale, known in the medical community as the Wong Baker pain scale. My sister and I get endless enjoyment out of the fact that it took two people apparently to come up with a pain scale that essentially is a bunch of variations of a happy face, but I digress.


I used to tell my patients that a 10 on the pain scale was the equivalent of their hand being in a fire, since a wise mentor nurse once advised me that people do better describing things that they can visualize. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised one night when a patient called out stating his pain was a 12. I quickly gathered his medicine and upon entering his room found him to be sound asleep and snoring. Obviously, he used the “man cold” pain scale to describe the way he was feeling.

While I no longer work the night shift at the hospital, I still keep my nursing license current and use it in a variety of ways to stay active. I enjoy doing flu shot clinics throughout the fall each year. I also love having the opportunity to sub in the health room at my childrens’ school, because that is where I can combine my nursing AND mom skills!

My girls ask me a lot about my decision to become a nurse and tell me all the time that they when they grow up they want to be a nurse just like me! I tell them that they couldn’t make a better career choice!


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Mommy, When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Nurse Just Like You! — 82 Comments

  1. I’m laughing right alongside you and your sister re: the happy-to-sad face pain scale. Loved hearing a little about your nursing career. I think it’s awesome that you keep your license renewed and continue to serve so many. Love that you can go and help out at the kiddos school.

  2. I had no idea there were faces to go along with the pain scale! I had a friend who had surgery and he thought 1 meant the most pain. Let’s just say he ended up a tad more medicated than needed! Luckily his wife is a nurse and caught on quickly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Unfortunately I’ve seen that face scale given to my poor Miles one too many times this past year! Nurses are unbelievable human beings. They were my heroes both times my son was in the hospital and when I was there delivering them. THANK YOU for all that you have done, and continue to do!!

  4. I was in the hospital for 7 weeks with Jack and Ella and if it weren’t for the amazing nurses taking care of me I would have been (more?) crazy. I learned a lot from them and about them. It is definitely a calling because you cannot work that hard and not love what you are doing.

    • I do feel like extensive hospital stays really teach you a lot about nurses. My grandmother was in the ICU for 12 weeks while I was in high school, and the nurses were amazing.

  5. They gave my daughter that happy sad face scale when she was sick about a year ago she pointed to the 1 said she didn’t feel well but she was happy. I said awwwwwww. I could never be a nurse I use to run away from needles….even as an adult sadly. I don’t like needles I would be that nurse that says can’t you take a nap for that or something.

  6. I truly think nursing is a calling, because it’s a tough job trying to help and dealing with people at the same time. You need a lot of patience and a very giving personality. My kids would probably love your stories…the leech one is pretty amazing!

    • It can be really difficult at times Michelle to balance the desire to help with the less than pleasant personalities of patients, but overall it is worth it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Nurses are heroes. Can’t say enough about the NICU nurses who watched over my son for 46 days and all of the potential fires they helped put out when he was in trouble. Nursing is a great career for anyone. And no, it’s never too late for a career change.

  8. That pain scale! When I was in labor they asked me how I felt and told me to look at that stupid sign! WTH?!
    I always thought that as a pizza deliverer in college, and as an Urban Innkeeper after it, I had the best on-the-job stories. I imagine you really do, though..
    You should do a two truths and a lie post on it!

    • LOL Tamara! I totally should do one of those posts! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t know, though, because I would imagine you have some pretty amazing job stories!

  9. Just spent a week with my mom in the ICU, and 99.5% of the nurses were angels. Smart, knowledgeable, assertive advocates for the patients and their families. I could not do that job in a million years, but am thankful that others can.

  10. That pain scale is so ridiculous. I rolled my eyes and sighed every time I was asked in the hospital after a c-section.
    During the few times that I’ve been in the hospital, either the one time when I had my son or when a family member was sick, it was the nurses who were indispensable. Always caring, kind, and knew what to do to get things done.

  11. Nurses are the best! I’m proud you became one, and an RN no less, and that you kept your license.

    I would probably add 2-3 points when reporting on the pain scale just to make sure my suffering was properly acknowledged.

  12. I am too soft hearted for real. I used to think I wanted to be a nurse and work in a senior citizen facility.. then realized I would get attached and be a basket case if one passed. Then I thought ohh labor and delivery, but then the thought of trying to maintain composure with a family who lost their baby was an impossibility. I can’t stand needles or to see my kids get shots or blood drawn yeah I so would have sucked as a nurse..

  13. Girl, tell the real reason you keep that nursing license!!! We couldn’t pass the test if we had to take it again! HA!!! LOL. I’m not kidding, am I? That thing was AW.ful! Leeches? Gross. Not my bag, but I had a kid barf into my underwear. That’s for another blog.

    • I BURST out laughing at this comment Stacey! You are SO RIGHT. I cannot imagine trying to do that exam again!! Barfing is your underwear is awesome in every way, and you must write about it!

  14. Typical guy for sure!!! “Man cold syndrome” hits everywhere eh? LOL

    I bet you were the BEST nurse, Ashley!!! Such a great shout out for incredibly talented and needed Nurses. I am proud to know so many who have hearts of GOLD. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Reading this makes me happy all over!! I love that your daughters want to be nurses, too!!!
    And – a 12, really?! I think even at my worst I never go higher than 7 because I know that there are so many people in much worse pain.

  16. Amazing! Seriously. I have a friend who was a nurse on the cancer floor for years, and she was ALWAYS smiling, which I found so wonderful because it surely could bring you down doing that job day in and day out. She had a great attitude in general.

    I LOVE that he said he was a 12 and then was snoring. Men are dramatic about pain, whereas women tend to downplay such things.

  17. I hate that pain scale!! Actually, I think it actually helps a bit. I concentrate so hard on trying to decide which number to accurately show my pain, and I forget some of the pain! Kinda like when I was a kid and I would stub my toe. My mom would say, “Do you want me to pinch your arm? Then your toe won’t hurt!”
    We are a very sarcastic family!

    • Oh my God, my dad used to say the EXACT SAME THING to me whenever I was hurt! This comment totally made me laugh! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I worked as a phlebotomist for years while I was in college (Nursing school until I found out how miserable all of the floor nurses were….then I switched over to business!) I loved some of my “regular” patients I would see every day and rejoiced with them when they were discharged. It’s the one’s who didn’t make it that stuck with me. It takes a special person to be a nurse, and I have a ton of friends who are and enjoy it.

  19. Anyone who is a nurse gets my “hat off to them!” My mom was a nurse for over 15 years and I knew I’d never make a good nurse. Your job requires things that I definitely do not possess. This is such a great post.

  20. From personal experience I know that nurses are the best people in the world.
    I don’t quite understand man cold. Men are tough and wouldn’t complain unless it was extremely bad.

  21. My mother was a midwife, and I remember her stories about riding her bike to deliver someone’s baby. This was in ’50s England. If you have ever watched the show “Call the midwife” my mum looked just like the title character.
    Nurses rule.

  22. My 15 year old has been talking about going into nursing lately. She has the compassion to do it, but I’m not sure about the patience…but time will tell!

  23. I admire nurses so much, because they have a thankless but incredibly important job. But it’s one that I could never do. Especially considering that I fainted when I watched one insert an IV into my arm once. Oh, by the way, a big thank you to that nurse for catching me before I fell and did anymore damage to myself. She’s my hero!

    • They should probably have a man cold scale. For reals. Lisa and I should totally invent it. We could call it The Dose Girls man cold scale! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. My dad is a doctor, and when I was little I would tell him I wanted to be a Mommy Doctor: a mommy AND a doctor (not an Ob/Gyn). I think that was partially because I understood what doctors did, as opposed to social workers (which my mom was…and ironically what I actually considered doing as an adult). That would be awesome, though, if one (or both!) of your kids followed in your footsteps ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Nurses sure are the front line heroes. But leeches? Really? I think that would creep me out. But then again, a lot of things that you brave and wonderful nurses do are things that I couldn’t do. You and your fellow nurses have my admiration and gratitude.

    • Thanks Mo! Given my normal fear of all things bug related, I am kind of surprised it didn’t freak me out as much as I thought it would!

  26. Nurses are such an important part of our society. We take them for granted a lot, but I will never forget the nurses who took care of me and my daughter during our hospital stays!

  27. Haha! The man-pain scale is so different than the woman pain scale! My mother was an ICU nurse…and honestly I never wanted to be a nurse. She does have some pretty interesting stories though – even including one near-death-experience. How many people can say they saw that in their job?

    • So cute! A doctor fairy! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love it! And yes, I have seen that pain chart before, and it made me cry with laughter!!

  28. So cool learning about your nursing career!! I have the greatest respect for nurses, they world so hard and really are the backbone of the entire medical field. I love that you sub at the school so nice! It’s so great that you keep your license current because you never know when you might need it!

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