Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thank A Nurse

For me, it was one of those occupations where I thought that I knew what it involved. Sure, nurses help patients and doctors. Simple. Or so I thought. If there's one thing I've learned in my two stays at the hospital, and my current use of home-care services… it's that nurses are awesome. They are heroes. The are the REAL caretakers of patients. If a doctor is the engineer of a skyscraper, nurses are the builders who get their hands dirty and do the real work.

For both of my stays I spent some time in the ER with the ER nurses, and then I was admitted and was under the care of the nurses assigned to my floor and wing. Two shifts- a night nurse and a day nurse. Then there were the nurses who came in for special reasons, like taking blood samples, and the nurses and technicians at the various test labs, like ultrasound, x-ray, etc.

Entirely across the board I was blown away with how hard these men and women work. How kind and patient they are. Being in a hospital is typically unpleasant, but they made it just a little more bearable. Nurses have to do the real dirty work. From bathing the woman in the bed next to me, and helping her use the toilet. To monitoring my bathroom outputs, and answering my endless questions about my IVs, drugs, bandages and more. Doctors may get all the glory (and they have my thanks as well) for pronouncing the diagnosis and prescribing the treatments, but it's the nurses who do the actual CARING for the patient.

My home-care nurses (one main nurse and a few who occasionally sub for her when it's her weekend) are equally kind. They are careful and precise, friendly and knowledgeable. In fact, I've grown quite fond of my primary home-care nurse.

I can't say thank-you enough. In fact, I'm always profuse in my thank-yous. I say please. I ask nicely. I say that I appreciate their help. I give compliments and ask about whether they enjoy their jobs. This in contrast to one woman in the bed next to mine during one of my stays who was outright rude and demanding. I was even told by one nurse who was wheeling me down the hall for yet another test, that she noticed that one nurse had written in my chart: “pleasant”. How sad that a pleasant patient is rare enough that the nurses make note of it.

Being sick sucks. Nothing will change that. But I ask all my readers to try and give a smile and a thank-you to the hard working nurses who are trying to help. I now know how much they deserve our appreciation, and I have a new found respect for the nursing profession. And to all the nurses who have taken care of me, what more can I say, but Thank You.