Coastie girl that's a loaded question! Lol
I love and hate my job at the same time. It's hard to explain... I think nurses actually get addicted to their job, it's kind of like an adrenalin rush. Yet a lot of the time the conditions are so terrible that we hate it. I don't think it's going to get better anytime soon. Pretty much everywhere runs their hospitals understaffed. It's stressful and there's a lot of pressure. People crack the shits at you because they don't understand just how much you have to get through, and people ring the bells every few minutes to ask for annoying things like tv remotes, towels and some people will even ask you to make them a cuppa.
You have to grow some balls basically. I was a very shy person once upon a time. But if you don't learn how to say no, you will burn out. Self preservation is a must.
Before I studied I went to our hospital here to do 3 days volunteering so that I could see if I liked it. At that time, it was awesome. There were heaps of staff an I decided to do it. If I know then that it was going to become like this, I probably would have studied teaching or something that allowed me to at least sit down at some stage during my day.
Having said that, it's very rewarding when you make a difference in someone's life. When someone thanks you and you can see that they mean it from the deepest depths of their soul. Or even when someone dies and you are allowed the privelledge of holding the closest loved one while they sob on your shoulder. Some aspects are emotionally difficult to cope with, but its all part and parcel of the job.
Nurses are usually very passionate and very opinionated... With a screwed up sense of humour. The humour comes I think as a coping mechanism. You laugh at inappropriate things when no one can see, it's not that we're insensitive... But you have to be able to laugh throughout your shifts to get through them.
I actually wouldn't recommend doing it if you have something else you wouldn't mind doing. I don't see things getting any better. I also don't know how I will cope with nursing when I'm older, unless I get some cushy community nurse job or something. But the fast pace is not for a retiree so I will have to think about that later on!!