Today, we give a shout out, to Baby Nurse, who, apparently is beginning in the challenging world of nursing school, and starting a blog about her nursing school experiences and endeavors. Nursing is a highly gratifying field for a scientifically-minded and empathic male or female. I toot my own horn, and the horns of all nurses around the globe; nurses are a special ‘bunch!’
Hopefully, it hasn’t been necessary, but who sees you first if you go to the ER? A physician, or surgeon? The billing person might be first, but after that your first healthcare encounter is…THE NURSE.
Nurses are on the inside track of health care: but how many people know what we really do? Are you appreciated for what you know? TV shows ‘showcase’ nurses in tight skirts, not their talents. We are technical experts with professional knowledge of nursing and non-nursing tasks, such as secretary, waitress, housekeeper, concierge with diplomacy skills like keeping the peace between irate patients or family members.
Common at social gatherings is the ‘what do you do?’ question. For many years, I’d somewhat meekly respond, “I’m just a nurse.” After all, the banker, construction worker, sales or marketing professional was more important than me. So, I changed my approach to an enlightening one, and now people listen to my “I’m a registered nurse.” When I’m asked about what I do, where did I work, what kind of nursing…all of a sudden, I’m educating! Nurses were born teachers, but unfortunately, many years ago, meekness crept into the nursing world.
We don’t need to talk gruesome ‘nurse speak’ with non-nursing friends, but we can chat intelligently about how we helped a patient recover from a serious accident and walk out of the hospital. Hospice nurses can explain the importance of end-of-life care planning. Med-surg nurses have stories of patients and staffing issues. ER nurses have trauma stories. The list is endless. We all have stories; tell yours and be proud.
After all, nurses know anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition and psychology. We have mastered critical thinking, nursing interventions and
approaches to care. Our assessments are physical and holistic. Nurses know what normal vital signs and lab values are, what deviations might mean, what might need to be done and are when we ought to notify the doctor.
Nurses know normal body systems, and how they heal. We understand the heart, read ECGs, know why and how to treat fatal and other irregular rhythms and have a responsibility to consult with the doctor. Fluid status is evaluated in many ways, sometimes by a gentle pinch of a patient’s skin. We use most of our senses to assess wounds, notifying the doctor of poor healing and signs of infection while at the same time evaluating nutritional status.
Nurses assess and prioritize, and again adjust our priorities because of a changed need or crisis situation. Each of us knows that the list goes on as we help those who can’t help themselves. Frequently, we work late or without breaks to complete and document care. Although our patients may not see us, we’re charting, taking off orders, dashing to pharmacy, caring for other patients, helping coworkers. Although out of sight, we’re never far away. Committed to our profession and devoted to our patients, respect for nurses has been absent for too long.
It is with that introduction that I wish ‘Baby Nurse’ success on her journey.