One of my closest friends recently qualified as a nurse and her main gripe is the effect it has on her marriage, and this got me thinking - what's it like being married to a nurse?
For many spouses of nurses, time is a huge factor with work often coming before the relationship. Time spent with their significant other is much less than a 'normal' relationship. This is a difficult thing for many people to wrap their minds around however it is also admirable. The husbands and wives of nurses have not only committed to the relationship but they have also committed to supporting one of the most incredible jobs in the world.
The truth of the matter is that nurses work long and ridiculously unsociable hours. Their schedules are not always set in stone either, with one week being a collection of night shifts and the other being long days.
Those who are married to a nurse will quite often find themselves twiddling their thumbs in anticipation of their other half clocking off, and many times will take themselves off to bed before that time comes. It doesn't matter if their shift was due to finish at 10 pm, they'll likely not walk out of the door until 1 a.m. Another night alone for the spouse!
And if you thought that this loneliness might be alleviated for Christmas lunch or a birthday party, you can think again. Nursing stops for no one and regardless of the time of year, husbands and wives may find themselves celebrating alone.
I'd been wondering about some of the things that my nurse friend got up to at work, and whilst she can't share names and faces, she can share gory details. I called her up to ask about how her husband handles the constant barrage of blood, sweat, and poop tales that she so often regales me with, and she gave a hearty laugh. "He's not one for gore - so that's why I keep telling him my stories."
The partners of our wonderful nurses are subjected to some horrific gross-out tales of an elderly lady's leg ulcers or how a child pooped on the floor and their colleague stepped in it. "The more disgusting, the better." laughs my friend, as she continues to tell me how he recoils in horror at every vile little detail.
Alongside this, the nurse will never just leave work at the door when they come home. Some of the things that nurses are exposed to are truly horrific and it's hard not to form an emotional attachment to those they are treating. For many partners of nurses, the little time that they do have with their loved ones is spent discussing the hardships of the job. If you're going to marry a nurse, be prepared to marry their job too!
One of the most prominent things that I see when talking to my nurse friend is that she will not allow her husband to see a doctor, unless his leg is falling off, and even then she might not deem it necessary.
If you are married to a nurse, you should be prepared to undergo a medical assessment in the comfort of your own home before being allowed to take a trip to the doctor. The nurse will assure their partner that their experience and knowledge will be enough to determine whether you genuinely need medical attention or are simply being a baby. For the most part it's the latter. All too often I have heard my friend telling her other half to 'man up' and that she has seen so much worse. It brings to mind that famous scene from Monty Python where the knight utters the phrase 'Tis but a scratch!' as his arm is cut off.
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