How to Deal with Shit on a Daily Basis

How to Deal with Shit on a Daily Basis

Nurses are “The SHIT!”

Dear fierce ones,

If the word shit offends not keep reading.

I am a Registered nurse. I have worked in the hospital environment for over 25 years. Nurse humor is a little crude sometimes, but this is because our work is pretty shitty sometimes.

A few times it has been so bad, (we affectionately term these events a "CODE BROWN") it has left me with post-traumatic shit disorder. Yeah, PTSD for real! Anytime you-all think you have a shitty job…think of nurses everywhere.

A nurse posted this on Facebook recently…

"I suspect it is hard to love a nurse. We get up early We come home late and are too tired to cook. We work extra because we know there are sick people who need us. We miss weekend events, holidays, birthdays. We don't get too excited over your minor "boo-boo". We have seen far worse. We don't always want to talk when we come home. We have talked all day. We don't always want to move when we come home. We have moved all day. It may seem that we have left all our caring, our heart, and our love at work, they have come home to you empty. We probably have. I guess it is hard to love a nurse but know this: Your nurse still needs your love. Needs your understanding. Needs to know that you "get it". Needs to be the one taken care of every once and a while. Needs someone else to take charge of the details (PLEASE) because constantly doing everything themselves is exhausting. Sometimes she/he needs their feet rubbed. She/he needs a shoulder to cry on when they can't even tell you why they're grieving. She/he needs you to do the hardest work you may ever take on, which love a nurse.
I would like to thank those of you out there who love us and let us do this work, this calling, this life:" Nursing

Over the span of my nursing career, I have dealt with a LOT OF SHIT. When I think about that fact for a moment I am struck by the irony that most people say “I have dealt with a lot of shit in my life,” but…I ACTUALLY have dealt with a lot of shit in my life. That is nursing. It is both literal and figurative.

In the literal sense. All of this shit has been inspected, measured, wiped, cleaned, disposed of, described and documented in the patient’s chart by “Yours Truly”. I once emptied an ENTIRE bucket of shit from one tiny little old lady...(I wouldn't have believed it was possible to produce that much shit in one sitting). I have seen every color, every "style", every consistency and experienced every odor. I once called the maintenance folks because I was convinced that a sewer line had broken.

NOPE, just my patient who took a dump in the commode rather than the toilet...and guess who got to empty that bad boy?

Yup..."Yours truly"...Sigh...I just LOVE my work. (smirk)

BELIEVE ME...I barely kept my shit together emptying that one...I SHUDDER remembering. Every person on the entire unit was gagging and retching, the maintenance people were called and I...

I was the appointed one...(I have the acutest sense of smell...and this super-natural smell-ability is NOT an asset in nurse-world) I was gagging and retching and my eyes were watering. IT TOOK HOURS before the cloying smell dissipated from my nasal passageways. This is a perfect example of PTSD and sharing it in gory detail is part of my healing. It's called a "debrief." 

Nursing has its rewards, I do realize that managing all that shit is an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations self! That is a lot of shit you have handled. 

I have discovered through experience, that quite a few people really are “full of shit” and eventually all shit travels downhill…off the bed and onto the floor (in some cases) Regardless, whether it is your job or not…NOBODY likes a shitty situation.

In the figurative sense...

Well, sick people and families coping with new medical diagnosis', death and dying issues, and stress over the medical bills they are incurring is just a snippet of what many patients and families are experiencing when I meet them. Some handle it well...some don't. We, nurses, are on the front lines. We often bear the brunt of how people respond. wouldn't believe how nasty people are sometimes and this is the worst kind of shit to deal with. Anger. Rage. Fear. Anxiety. Stress. Poor coping skills. No coping skills. Mental illness with behavior disorders. Aggression. Threats. Yelling. Screaming. Kicking. Wailing. Spitting. Grabbing. Hitting. Punching. Pinching. Name calling. Sexual advances. Bullying. 

I have experienced all this in my work as a nurse.

On the opposite melts my heart to witness how amazing people can be in the midst of extremely stressful and heartbreaking circumstances. I have wept with strangers many times. I have seen the love between families and friends. I have witnessed incredible moments of joy, hope, and love.

If I ever say that you are “The SHIT” it’s actually a good thing. It means “YOU ARE AWESOME” and you have got your shit together …and that means there is less of your shit for me to deal with.  


PTSD is real and so is the draining nature of being a caregiver.

Saving lives…dealing with the worst shit imaginable. All in a days’ work…

Be kind to all the nurses you know.

They are “The SHIT”

Thank-you Jenny Sugarbaker,

You are "The Shit"...I love and miss your face!



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