The Bones Have It: Tales of an Orthopedic Nurse

Orthopedic nurse

RaeAnn Conroy didn’t know she wanted to be a nurse. “I honestly didn’t know what else to do with my life,” She says. “No way I could handle sitting in an office or at a desk for eight hours a day, and both my parents are teachers, so that was out.” But after taking some time in the job world and then reviewing her options at her local community college, she realized that nursing was the best option for her. “Nursing is based in science enough to be interesting, and allows me to talk to people all day long,” she says.

After finishing nursing school, she began working as an orthopedic nurse and is currently taking continuing education courses and working the required hours needed to complete her Orthopedic Certification.

RaeAnn has found a home in the world of nursing—not just the job itself, but the schedule. “I love working three twelve-hour shifts a week and getting to be home with my kid the other four days of the week while still being full time.” She adds, laughing, “Plus, I like to be needed.”

But what really makes nursing a satisfying career for her is her patients. She speaks fondly of them; “The little old lady today who gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me she loved me for taking such good care of her,” she says, smiling softly. “Seeing someone who has had chronic back pain for years get up and walk. Or the dying old man at the end of the hall who loved the ice cream I brought him.” It’s patients that make it all worthwhile. “It’s great going home at the end of every shift knowing I did something to slightly improve the world around me,” she states. “Sounds cheesy, but it’s a pretty cool feeling, to know that you made someone’s life slightly better for being in it.”

When asked what advice she’d give to future nurses, she laughs. “DONT DO IT!  Just kidding. Seriously, though, it can be tough. Lots of stressors—from patients, family members, doctors, other staff—even the work is hard on your body. But it takes a special kind of person to do it, and if you are one of those people, well, that’s something to be proud of.” She pauses and adds, “Plus the job security is nice too.”