It takes a very special person to become a nurse. It's a tough job that's far from glamorous. Whether it's tending to a sick patient, drawing blood or giving vaccinations—nurses are constantly on the go. Yet despite the workload and long hours, the profession is very rewarding in more ways than one. Life lessons are often learned that can last a lifetime. Below, several real-life nurses share theirs. 1. Learning to forgive will set you free. For hospice nurse Trudy Harris, the dying taught her just how powerful the words "I'm sorry" truly are. According to Harris, when she cares for dying patients, they never wish they had worked longer or even harder. Instead, they wish they had forgiven earlier and been more compassionate. For those who had shown mercy and love for others, they left this world in peace and with no regrets. 2. Don't take yourself or life events too seriously. In today's fast-paced world, people are constantly on the go. For many people, they let their job consume them, in turn, leaving them stressed and burned out. And for some people, when faced with challenges—they just shut down. "I have seen too many patients hospitalized or even institutionalized because they took life too seriously and succumbed to major mental or physical illnesses," says longtime nurse Sue Heacock. While not every day may be rainbows or butterflies, she's learned to find the humor in everyday life. If you don't, it can very well destroy you. 3. Treasure your family. Believe it or not, they're a gift. Sure, we all have siblings, parents, aunts and uncles that can get on every one last of our nerves. But don't take them for granted. Learn to appreciate them—flaws and all. For nurse Tina Lanciault, she has seen what happens when you don't, watching her own patients placed in nursing homes or living assistance facilities because they did not have any relatives to turn to. "Stay close to your family, you may need them one day," a patient once told her. 4. Don't take your body for granted. The body is a powerful thing, but it can fail us if we don't take care of it. Whether it's food, drugs, alcohol or anything used or done in excess—too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Often, bad habits can put us in the hospital or even kill us. Nurse Alicia Palmer knows this all too well. "I have learned the importance of taking care of yourself. I see the ill-effects of not caring, and it's horrible. Diseases are ugly," she's stated. When you're a nurse, there's never a dull moment. Through the craziness of it all, it's a profession that serves as an excellent teacher on life. The longer you stick with it, the wiser you'll become.
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