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My daily routine as a male nurse

Steffen Roesel loves being a nurse, even though it’s a demanding job. Here he talks about his daily routine.

Male nurse Steffen Roesel
Male nurse Steffen Roesel © Stephan Pramme

Germany. “I’ve been working as a nurse for 25 years – and I still enjoy it very much. But a nurse’s job is something you really have to enjoy, as the work is mentally and physically demanding. But I always wanted to work with people and help them. There is a very wide range of tasks in a hospital. For example, I have worked in the departments for child and adolescent psychiatry, urology and in intensive care. Two years ago, I moved to the operating theatre, where I am responsible for anaesthesia. Training as a state enrolled nurse takes three years. But nowadays, you can do a nursing degree as an alternative.

You have to learn to be compassionate, yet not let the patients’ suffering affect you too much.
Operating-theatre nurse Steffen Roesel

I’m 50 years old and work shifts. That saps your energy, especially when you are on stand-by duty, which is a 24-hour shift. I sleep at the hospital but can be called at any time. Operations often take a very long time. Some of them are over in half-an-hour; others take 15 or even 19 hours. Then we take breaks in between. During long, not-too-tricky operations we might talk about what we last saw at the cinema. Even so, you are sometimes stretched to your limits.

“Helping people has always been important to me.”
“Helping people has always been important to me.” © Stephan Pramme

My mother was also a nurse. But compared with those days, today you are responsible for many more patients and there is far more bureaucracy. Everything has to be exactly documented – every change of dressing, every tablet. Working at the computer often takes up to three hours of the working day, which means that there is less time for direct contact with the patients.

You have to learn to be compassionate, yet not let the patients’ suffering affect you too much. That’s very important to protect yourself from burnout. Everyone develops their own tricks. For example, my hobby is making films, and I love music. That helps me to switch off.”

Transcript writer: Nicole Sagener