You've probably heard the figure of speech "you've just got to rip off the bandage." It's a way of saying that there are some things that just have to be done -- there's no use in delaying them or taking them slow. In fact, going about them slowly or tentatively makes the situation worse. That's life as a nurse.
Tenderness is required one moment and absolute grit and toughness the next [source: Head Nurse]. A person who can't clean a painful wound when the patient is wincing can't help that patient. Likewise, a nurse who becomes incapacitated each time she witnesses a death won't last long in the profession.