As I celebrate the graduation of a new nurse in my life, I hope I’m always lucky enough to have a one of these pros in my life. I have known some great ones and some others… well let’s just say I wouldn’t let them hand me a Band-Aid.
True nurses are amazing people, born caregivers who have a capacity to offer comfort and encouragement at the worst possible time. When you are sick and scared and a lot is happening quickly.
Good ones are not just clinically competent, there’s an extra something that separates true nurses from other healthcare professionals. It’s as if they take pride in your progress — how well you do. You’re their patient and what happens to you matters. A lot.
My mother, a nurse herself, used to say that nurses are the ones who keep you alive. From what I’ve seen (far too much, I’m afraid) this is true. Doctors and specialists come in, make pronouncements and leave again. Administration imposes rules. The nurses are there with you every hour of every day. When calamity strikes they respond first. If they’re especially good they are already holding your hand, talking directly to you and putting your needs over everything else.
These people take care of us when we’re at our absolute worst. Our sickest and most miserable. Think about that for a second. When you’re sick or in pain you probably aren’t the most charming soul. Maybe a bit sharp or short-tempered. You are in no mood to cooperate with anyone. And they see you’re cared for and medicated anyway.
All the while dealing with families and all the baggage that brings into the picture. The good nurses care for the family too. They learn the names. Look at the pictures. Offer comfort to them too.
Nurses don’t do all this for one patient, but rather many sick people. All sick, vulnerable and in need of care. As they care for patients they’re also expected to carry out the decisions of others (physicians, administrators, legal) and do all the paperwork and answer phone calls too.
That takes special skill. No wonder nurses get a day dedicated to them — they deserve it!