Home // Blogs // Previous Blogs // The highs and lows…

The highs and lows…

Hello! I hope everyone had a safe and happy Easter, I know I definitely made the most of it (I’ll take any good excuse to over indulge in some chocolate). I wasn’t kidding in my last blog when I said I would experience a lot of “firsts”, however what I didn’t realise is that it wasn’t just new learning experiences on the skills front, but also a lot of inner self-learning. Now, believe me – I am putting myself out there here. You can ask just about anyone that knows me and they would not call me the “emotional type”, however I am about to get all soppy and tell you there are a lot of emotional experiences that I have faced already in my nursing journey that have made me learn a lot about myself as well as the profession we work in.

One thing I have learnt is that despite trying not to get too close, you do form emotional connections with your patients and you would be lying to suggest that you don’t. Each day we see things that shock, amaze and astonish us, we see the people we look after experience pain and watch as they begin to lose hope and it is impossible to say that we are not affected by it. I know I have shed one too many tears since beginning my grad year (some embarrassingly witnessed, others not) and have had many moments where I have frustratingly thought “c’mon Bianca, hold yourself together.” I have learnt that it is only human to empathise with our patients through their pain and suffering, as after all we are the people caring and advocating for them. (However sometimes I do wish there was some kind of special emotional immunity that they gave you when you became a nurse.)

I thought it may have just been a grad thing, secretly holding hope that one day with a bit more experience I will wake up and it will be all the more easier to deal with the constant fluctuations of emotions we face, but I am almost certain that it doesn’t. I say this because as professionals in the healthcare field we are huge believers in evidence based practice, we really do love having evidence to back up what we say and do. Now, I say it doesn’t get easier because I have seen that it doesn’t get easier. In a recent and unfortunate situation my emotions went wild and I could feel the tears building up – you know that heavy teary feeling where they are all clogging up in the back of your eyes (yep, that one) well that was me and I found myself looking down trying to avoid eye contact with anyone…but when I did look up I found the (more senior) nurse across from me doing the same thing. I am still unsure whether I was shocked or relieved, but I know I was definitely comforted by the fact that it is “okay” to be affected by situations we find ourselves in and that I wasn’t the only one to experience the sense of overwhelming emotions.

It is a bit strange how sometimes you can be faced with a situation that you cope with well (it is important for you all to know I don’t become a blubbering mess everyday), while there are others and be it because it’s too close to home, or even unexpected where you are truly impacted. I’m sure my fellow nurses out there would agree if you throw in the fact that it’s your 6th or 7th day on or you have just finished the good old late-early, your emotions are running quite high.

It is hard to admit you have been affected by the things you have seen or been a part of on a daily basis, and often we don’t even realise it at the time. Sometimes we are so busy or caught up in the moment that it is not until the drive home where you finally get a moment to collect your thoughts, or find yourself a few days later still thinking about a patient or situation that you realise how much it really affected you. I think it is just important to realise that each one of your colleagues might be having “one of those days” and it is important that just as much as caring for our patients we look out for each other.

I should finish by saying that nursing is definitely not that grim… we do cry tears of joy….probably just as much as we cry tears of sadness. Every day we share moments of joy and happiness with our patients as they slowly improve and we do gain great satisfaction when the patient who we admitted days, weeks or even months ago finally leaves those hospital doors.

Christine Belle sums up the exact message I have taken an entire blog to write when she said…… “Our job as nurses is to cushion the sorrow and celebrate the joy every day, while we are just doing our jobs.”

Look after yourselves! Take care.






  1. Rosie Wotherspoon May 10 2014

    Bianca, well done on having the courage to bare your soul so that others will see they are not alone, what a great insight into your year so far. Rosie

    • jhumphreys@phcn.vic.gov.au May 12 2014

      Thank- you Rosie, I am thrilled to have such positive feedback. I was a little nervous about this blog so I am glad that it has been received well.


  2. Wendy May 14 2014

    Hi Bianca, Wow! I loved what you wrote- you sound like you have a wise, mature and compassionate head on your shoulders! Nursing IS hard yakka- not just physically but also emotionally and sometimes this can be so overlooked. I always think that as nurses we are so priviledged to be able to share the vulnerabilities of our patients- the stuff that normally as people we want to mask from others.But in sharing these vulnerabilities, sometimes it means that the emotion of it all can become just a bit too much for us at times. But having said that- if as a patient I am going through a rough patch or have just received bad news, I want to know that the nurse is caring for not just the physical aspect of me, but also caring about my emotional and even spiritual aspect of me. To me, that type of nurse can really make significant and lasting impressions and differences in the lives of our patients. The nurse who is not moved with emotion at times out of compassion for their patients is not the nurse I want looking after me or my family. Never change- you sound like you are doing fabulously well and Penin Health should be so proud to have nurses like you on staff! All the best, Wendy.

    • jhumphreys@phcn.vic.gov.au May 16 2014

      Thank you Wendy I am overwhelmed with your comment. I am so happy that this blog has been so well received and that so many people including yourself have been able to relate and think about their own experiences and challenges they have faced in their nursing career. Thank you again so much for your wonderful comment, I feel I am slowly starting to find my feet and developing into the nurse I want to be.


  3. Congratulations Bianca, you should be very proud of yourself. It is a priviledge to know how passionate and insightful you are. You have obviously followed the right vocation for you and any patient is blessed and truly fortunate to be cared for by you. I hope you continue to enjoy it and be rewarded for your efforts on a daily basis.

Leave a Reply

  • We promise not to publish or share this