At the moment the hospital is full to the brim, the work load is tremendous and everyone is kind of stressed and miserable. The nurses call in sick because nobody wants to face the hell hole that is the hospital and who can blame them? Let’s weigh the options: wake up at 5.30am to work a 12hr shift with chesty and bronchitic patients and deal with fussy and ignorant relatives who believe that their loved one is your one and only patient or stay home in your onesie and watch YouTube videos of cats?

Yesterday my shift consisted of admissions to my ward until we reached full capacity. Most of them had respiratory issues and needed immediate help. This makes doctors nervous, as apart from having to deal with the acute cases, they will have a long list of minor things to do like taking blood and chasing results and online booking of tests which need to be done but all take time. Tempers rise, there are shout-outs between doctors and nurses, as nurse in charge I have to mediate…

The temptation to yell ‘fuck this shit!’ and turn on my heel is very much apparent. But in order to prosper in this career you can’t do that. You have to shoulder responsibility and be aware of the consequences of your actions. You need to be mature and you can’t play the blame game and own your decisions. To make a long story short, you have to care to survive.

Or do you? There are nurses out there who do not care. When their shift is over, that is that, who don’t give a damn that they left a mountain of work for the night nurses, who always make sure to take their break exactly on time even if they are in the middle of something, when there is a difficult relative they instantly defer to me rather than try solve the problem. They do not advise younger colleagues because they feel it isn’t their job or they will not bathe a semi-dependent patient without a carer present, even though we learnt in nursing school that we should. They are the nurses who are extremely aware of their rights, have the union on speed dial for the slightest breach and they do not differentiate between the most practical way to go to get the job done and the so-called ‘right way’ to do things.

Sounds abhorrent, yes? Well, I have to say that these people are the ones who have a better mental state than me. Because they do not shoulder any responsibility.

However, these kind of nurses are very rarely the ones who prosper. Nurses like these hardly get promoted, most of them do not even want to. At the same time, they get less burnt out and have their heart broken much less too.

So really and truly, it’s better to not care in order to survive.

But I can not do that. To be hundred per cent honest, I have tried. I lasted an hour. I simply do not have it in me. That’s not to say that this career hasn’t hardened me. It has. I used to be a sort of passive and go with the flow kind of girl but I’m not anymore. I consider myself now sort of like a tiger, always on the prowl and ready to pounce.

The nurses who do care, and thank God I am surrounded by many, many of them, are the elixir that keeps me going. If it were not for them I probably would have quit a long time ago. They are brilliant, smart, go-getters; they take pride in their work and see authority as an asset rather than an enemy. They’ve got the love to see me through.

Maybe I am not the person I used to be. But let’s face it, at 30 you are meant to be in a different life stage in comparison to when you are 22 and fresh out of university. Being caring, attentive and no-nonsense are not the worst things a person can be.

Being a tiger actually is pretty damn great.

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying, “Lord, I just don’t care.”
But you’ve got the love I need To see me through

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you’ve got the love I need to see me through.