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If you are a nurse, what do you find is the most difficult part of handling patients?

nursing healthcare
I'm a junior in high school and have been interested in nursing for around 3 years now. I am 17 years old. I'm not completely sure on where I want to go to college but I have been looking at the University of Iowa and the University of Michigan.

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Tonya’s Answer

As a nurse when I was working in the hospital, home-care, clinic, or teaching in the community, the most difficult is seeing patients who do not receive the highest quality healthcare they deserve. This can be due to patient’s lack of health insurance or minimal healthcare insurance coverage, patients live in settings that are difficult to travel to or access a healthcare setting (for example lack of transportation, the health center is so far away from their home where using public transportation may take 1-hour or more), or patient’s struggle to follow recommended healthcare practices to improve their health.

In the hospital setting the challenge for a new nurse caring for patients is in applying the knowledge from school and knowledge, skills, and attitudes/behaviors in the role and responsibilities of a registered nurse. For example critical thinking, demonstration of genuine caring behaviors for the patients, family, and community; focused only on tasks, and communication skills to advocate for safe and high quality care for the patient. This is a challenge part of managing patients because if done incorrectly, there is a risk of harm to the patients.

The third, part is, patients may be depressed, hurting, and/or in pain because of their health condition or have serious challenges in their life. As a result, the patient may not always express kindness in all situations. In those situations, the nurse will need to understand the way the patient is feeling and help the patient work through those emotions. The situation does not mean the nurse should be treated in a disrespectful manner by patients, it means the nurse can see beyond the immediate situation to question what else could be going on for the patient to act in such a manner.

There are many other difficult situations such a patient learning about a diagnosis of cancer or other life altering disease for the first time, residents/patients living in a nursing home with no family or visitors to visit them, or planning for death with the patient and family. The best part of being a nurse is the opportunity to be with patients during difficult times, happy times, or in-between times and identifying what can be done to support the patient, family, and community by being a source of scientific knowledge, caring, advocacy, and strength.

I included links to the rankings of the two nursing schools you mentioned in your post under resources # 3 & 4. You can also search for nursing schools on accreditation resources # 1 & # 2. And, resource # 5, you can search for other nursing schools and look for the schools on the accreditations websites too.

All the Very Best.


# 1 - American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2021). Find Accredited Programs.

# 2 - Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (2021). Search ACEN Accredited Nursing Programs.

# 3 - University of Iowa ranking:

# 4 - University of Michigan ranking:

# 5 - US News and World Report – Find the Best Nursing Schools (2021)