Soliant Health interviewed nurses Steven Long and Joey Ellerbee to learn more about their careers, including powerful stories, advice for those looking to enter the field, how communities can help their local nurses, and insight into the most rewarding and challenging aspects of the jobs.
Today, over three million registered nurses play a crucial role in providing quality healthcare to countless individuals in communities across the nation. The patience, selflessness, and unwavering quality of care that nurses provide—even throughout a global pandemic and a national staffing shortage—deserves significant appreciation. Be sure to thank your local nurses for all they do to ensure quality care for their communities.
Learn five key insights into the work that Steven and Joey do below.
1. There are moments every day that confirm the job was meant for you.
Joey Ellerbee is a former ICU nurse who now works as an ER nurse in Texas. He said he always knew he wanted to be a nurse, and every day there are moments that reinforce the idea that this career was meant for him.
“There’s a lot of those [moments],” said Joey Ellerbee. “I think probably the first moment where I felt like I knew I was in the right spot was when a patient came in probably about three in the morning … I looked at the patient and he was basically dead already.”
“When I walked into that room and saw that, everything just clicked, and I just took control of the situation. I felt like I knew what I was doing, and that patient walked out of the hospital two weeks later.”
Steven Long has worked as an RN for 25 years and was an oncology nurse early in his nursing career. Today, he’s a nurse in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Getting to know not just patients, but the patient’s family as well, is what made me know I made the right decision. I still have family members [who] recognize me and thank me for the care I gave. That, to me, is the best reward you can receive,” said Steven.
2. Knowing that you’re making a difference is the most rewarding part of the job.
When the nurses were asked what the most rewarding part of the job was, they both provided a clear, selfless answer: helping others.
“It’s rewarding knowing you’re the first one to see the patient, and you’re the one that gets them to the next step,” Joey Ellerbee said. “To know you fixed them as best as you can … that’s rewarding enough right there.”
Steven added that seeing relief from patients who originally came in with fear and pain is extremely rewarding.
“What’s rewarding in my career now is being able to take a patient [from] very anxious and worried about having a procedure to thanking me,” said Steven Long. “To be able to have a patient smile and be overjoyed that the worry they were going through is gone [and] to help a patient through that is very rewarding.”
3. The most challenging part of the job is not seeing the patient outcomes you hoped for.
While many nurses are familiar with juggling long hours, schedule changes, full workloads, and staff shortages, Steven and Joey said that the emotional toll of poor patient outcomes is the most challenging part of the job. Joey noted that this is especially difficult in pediatric care:
“The most challenging [aspect] is working with pediatrics, and when things don’t go the way that you want them to, you see that child suffer.”
4. Advice for new nurses: trust your gut and get ready to learn.
“I still ask questions and I’ve been doing this for twelve years. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions,” said Joey Ellerbee. “And don’t be afraid to ask the doctor and confirm an order if you think it’s not right … Nurses are always that person in between the patient and everything else, and the most dangerous nurses are the ones that never ask any questions.”
Steven Long noted the importance of getting the most experience you can early in your career:
“I always tell new nurses to work in the emergency room or an ICU and get as much experience as you can. I think no matter what you do in your nursing career, that’s the best starting experience you can get. And listen to your patients.”
5. Patience and saying “thanks” go a long way.
When the nurses were asked how the community can best show their appreciation to nurses, both Steven and Joey noted that a simple display of appreciation, such as a “thank you,” is all they need to hear sometimes.
“We’re working as hard as we can. Understanding that everyone is moving and acting as quickly as they can would make things a lot easier as far as mental stress for the staff,” said Joey Ellerbee.
“A simple thank you goes a long way to anyone in healthcare,” said Steven Long.
More Ways to Show Appreciation this National Nurses Week
While many nurses, like Steven and Joey, feel appreciated simply by hearing “thanks,” we understand there are still so many other special ways to show gratitude to the nurses in our communities.
If you’re looking for fun ideas on how to show appreciation to nurse friends, family members, and community members, or want to thank a nurse who has cared for you recently, below are some additional ways you can say thanks:
- Write and deliver thank you notes to facilities and hospitals.
- Build goodie bags with nurse must-have items, like snacks, energy drinks, comfortable socks, and relaxation goodies like bath bombs and face masks.
- If you’re a business owner, offer discounts to nurses in your community during National Nurses Week or National Nurses Day.
- Take your appreciation to social media by sharing a positive post.
- Donate blood and make a difference in patient care.
- Send an edible or flower arrangement for the whole staff to enjoy.
- Cater lunch or drop-off special treats and snacks.
Find the Nursing Career You Deserve
At Soliant, we applaud your dedication to nursing. To reciprocate, we offer jobs for nurses that ensure your nursing career the same level of professional dedication and care you offer patients.
Just as you’re driven to assist others, let Soliant assist you in finding the nursing job of your dreams—from permanent jobs, nursing contract jobs and travel jobs across the country. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, you can still find a nursing job, and we’re here to help! Find your ideal nursing job today by exploring our nursing posts.