I truly admire nurses. I mean, of all professions, I have a healthy respect for them, even more so than doctors. I get that doctors put in a ton more time at school, but you dont see nurses going around correcting people with “It’s Nurse Smith, NOT Ms. Smith”.
If you have ever been in the hospital, you know that they sometimes become an extended part of your family, even if just for a short period of time. After the slightly difficult birth of my first daughter, I couldnt wait to go show my labor nurse our bundle of joy. She left with a shift change about an hour before the birth, so I wanted her to see the fruit of HER labor!
One of the common misconceptions about nurses is that if they dont work in a hospital, they have “left” the profession of nursing. Only real nurses work in hospitals. I’m here to tell you that nurses show up in the most surprising places! Last year I spent a good part of 6 weeks at a cancer center with a family member receiving chemotherapy. I assumed the people helping us would be technicians. They turned out to be real live oncology nurses! These nurses made a difficult time in our lives relatively bearable. One of the ladies was a traveling nurse who followed her husband around the country with his job. Another nurse was putting his oldest son through college and then he was about ready to retire. And the one nurse who always waited for us to come in so she could grab our chart and be the one to help us for the day, was a single mom raising a son. I have no idea how many children my doctor has, or what he plans to do when he retires.
Another misconception is that one of a nurse’s main job responsibilities is to help doctors do their jobs better. The fact of the matter is that nurses are highly educated and make critical decisions in the care of their patient’s every day. In fact there is a strong movement in America towards practicing nurses to help fill the gap of shortage with doctors. I am happy to see a practicing nurse when my children are ill or have a rash, or have some mystery pain in their abdomen.
As a patient, a sense of empathy and compassion is as important as the quality of care. A nursing instructor once explained to new grads, “Patients dont care how much you know until they know how much you care.”June 10, 2010 2:26 pm