August Nurse Feature: The Journey of a Lifetime


This month’s feature is more a dedication or tribute to one of the best nurses I have ever worked with.  I think nurses can do a better job of lifting each other up and supporting one another, so here goes…..

Anders, a Swedish nurse I have had the pleasure to work with for the past two years, is the chupacabra of nurses-he is a rare gem of a nurse.  He has every quality a nurse should strive for.  He is experienced, knowledgeable, pedagogic, calm, kind, and always helpful.  He anticipates others’ needs sometimes before they anticipate them themselves.

He, his wife, and five children recently made the big move from Sweden to the U.S. where they will settle in Colorado and start a new life together.  Before he left, we had a few moments at the end of one of our last shifts together where I was able to pick his brain over fika, Sweden’s sacred coffee break.

Where are you from?


In what area of nursing do you work?

I  specialized in pediatric nursing  and am currently working in a highly specialized Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

What inspired you to be a nurse?

I  worked in ambulance care as a nursing assistant for a total of 17 years.  I realized that with more knowledge I could do more for the patients and that always inspired me.  I enrolled in nursing school and got my license to work as a nurse 2003.  When I got my license, I quit working in ambulance care and took a job in a pediatric unit in a hospital.

What advice would you give to a new nurse?

 First of all “hang in there.”  It will get better when you have more experience and you know more what to do.  Second, and this goes for all nurses, don`t be afraid to ask someone else for advice if you are uncertain what to do (or think that you know enough not to).  In sweden we have a mentality that alows us to ask for a second opinion-either we want to ask for advice on some matter or we would like to confirm that we are doing the right thing, before we start doing it.
When I was new to the nursing profession, I was surprised that my fellow nurses that worked for many years asked me for advice or wanted me to check their med calculations. It was not until later that I realized that this was a good way of learning things. I had their trust to help them at the same time that they trained/educated me.
A few times when I practiced I would meet some “grumpy” nurse that would tell me that I should already know the answer.  In those cases I turned to another nurse and got an answer that made me certain I was doing the best for the patient (which is our mission).
What advice would you give to a tired nurse?
Don`t ever forget that it is not the core nursing (probably the reason why you became a nurse) that burned you out. It is most certainly external circumstances (lack of staff, high work load, etc.) that got you there. I have talked to some colleagues that were really tired of their work, but we all agreed that we love our profession, just not how we sometimes are supposed to perform it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love working with my hands and with my head. When I was in high school, I took a vocational course in carpenty. I have never worked professional as one, but it has helped my during my life. I have a large family and during these years we have owned two houses that I renovated from top to bottom during my spare time. It is satisfying to create something with my hands that would last and that  I had to use my head figuring out how to do it and calculating what I would need.
Thanks for sharing, Anders!!  Wishing you and your family all the best in your new home!  To read more about his big move to the U.S. and get some tips if you are contemplating international travel, check out my interview with him for Mighty Nurse.  Be kind to one another ❤

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