Finding the Silver Lining During a No Good, Very Bad Day

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

If anything helps a person hone in on the things that really matter, it’s nursing. That said, there are still those days when you definitely have to work to see the glass as half full—days when you’ve been giving…and giving…and giving (to the hundredth power), but good karma is apparently backlogged, because nobody is cuttin’ you any slack, not even the vending machine, which ate your change.

And so you slip into a foul mood (you’re only human, after all). That said, it’s important to remember, even during times like these, that there is a bright side. Feel like you could use a little help spotting the silver lining? Let’s break down a typical no good, very bad day on the job with an eye for the good.




Your alarm goes off roughly five hours after you’ve fallen asleep. Your first instinct is panic and confusion.


The bright side?

You were so exhausted when you arrived home from your shift that you fell asleep eating slice #2 of the pizza you ordered. Which leaves EIGHT SLICES for today’s breakfast and lunch.





You were in a rush this morning, and you left your coffee mug on the counter.


However, it could be worse.

You could have remembered said coffee, only to spill it all over your clean scrubs while making a sharp left.




You’ve hardly made it into the building before a disgruntled not-yet-seen patient accosts you, displaying the rash in his armpit and showering you with questions.


Okay, so you weren’t prepared for that conversation (or the flash of skin) at all. Nevertheless, there’s a very good chance that the human obstacle course saved you from having to respond to a code brown that, only minutes ago, had everybody like:




Your unit is short staffed, as usual.

You ask your first patient to describe their symptoms. Only…


So, you have to go full Sherlock Holmes on her.

Which makes it especially satisfying when you’re able to pinpoint an obscure ailment and get the ball rolling on treatment.





The nurse-to-patient ratio is at “contained hysteria” level. You haven’t been able to visit the restroom, well, at all. And you’re three cups of coffee deep.


In a way, however, you’re really grateful for the uncommon strength of your bladder. Elevator gets stuck? No problem. Unsanitary porter potties? You can wait. Any line for the women’s room everywhere? Bring it on.




A woman just asked if you could “hop out” and pick up some fresh bagels.

She’s not even the patient.


On the bright side? Your very best nurse buddy is also working today, so you already know you can walk into the break room like:




As far as the physician on duty goes, you’re really carrying the team.

Then they snap at you when you ask them to clarify a written order because their handwriting has you like:


The silver lining? If patience is a virtue, you have more than enough to spare.

Twelve times over.




Four people are coming at you with requests, all at one time.


The good news?

It feels that much more satisfying when you’re off duty and have every right to be like:




You fell the slightest bit behind on your charting. Okay—really behind.


Now you’re running at least an hour late to meet up with some non-nurse friends who have already begun to suspect you no longer exist.

But it’s been so long, that when they see you, they’re like:


Plus, your late arrival is now perfectly coordinated with the beginning of happy hour, which is kind of unintentionally brilliant.




It’s been a long day. You worked a 12-hour shift. You’re exhausted.

You’re still not even sure what happened.


Then you remember: You’re exhausted because you provided comfort and relief to at least a dozen different people today—and that’s pretty remarkable.



How do you find the silver lining after a hard day?  Share your tips in comment section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.
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1 year ago

It is a choice that I made later in life. Some days I wonder physically what I was thinking after hip replacement but I’m back at it. It takes a special kind of person to be a good nurse. You have to care about people. You have to be compassionate for people. It took me twice as long to get my RN as it does most due to failing twice. I never gave up and never regret it. If you are in this profession for the money then shame on you. If you are in it for the people then… Read more »

Anthony Cardoso
1 year ago

It is long, it is tough, it is crazy! But at the end of my shift, I have made the difference in so many lives and impacted many families and friends in a positive way. At the end of the day, I come home to the comfort of my house, to my partner and my dogs, and I think, “I am so lucky!”

3 years ago

You always have to try to flip your mindset. You have a job, a good paying job, a job that is gratifying, you make a difference! You have the intellectual ability to be a nurse, some are not so fortunate. You have your eyesight (even with though mine is now aided by bifocals), I can walk, I can hear, I can drive and I have a car. Some times you have to really dig deep to find the positive, but its there, you are in a free country where women can have careers, I can breathe with ease, I can… Read more »

4 years ago

I escape into the genre that is called reality TV and thank heaven I have my life instead of the life of those featured.