Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Just a nurse"

Yesterday, I was absolutely thrilled when I hear Miss Colorado did a monologue for her talent portion of Miss America. Not only was this a unique talent, but it was about nursing. First of all, what a different thing to do, now I haven't watched regularly but I'm pretty sure this is one of the first times, if not the first time, this was done. If you haven't heard (or read) the ladies that are on the "popular" talk-show The View, criticized Miss Kelly Johnson for doing this. Saying she basically was reading e-mails and wearing a "doctor's stethoscope".

Not only did she dare to try something different, she dawned her nursing scrubs. As a nurse, I know what scrubs can hide. They are not very figure flattering and when I feel a little heavier, I'm happy that I can pull on a baggy pair of scrubs when I go to work, rather than dress clothes. This to me alone is awesome for one of the contestants to do, in a beauty pageant where emphasis is put on looks this was a risk to take.

Miss Colorado's monologue was about not being "just a nurse". She recalled a conversation she had with an Alzheimer's patient and how she told him, he would never be just the disease there would be more to him, and he reiterated the fact to her, she was not "just a nurse" but so much more.  This conversation is one I've had before, as many know, I did apply to medical school and didn't get in. Nursing was not my first career choice, but I now know it is what I am supposed to be doing. I will never be just a nurse.

As much as I want to say I hope those ladies from the View never call 911 or show up in my ER, I actually hope they do so that I can show them that even though they're complete morons, I will treat them with respect and show them compassion even when they were disrespectful and ignorant. I hope they show up, so I can teach them that I, as a nurse, will be the first they talk to (after registration). I will get their story and learn why they came to to the Emergency Room. I will take their vital signs, using MY stethoscope.  I will then go and talk with the ER physician and talk to them about the plan they have. I will also bounce ideas off of them or give them my true impression of what is going on.   Sometimes, before doing this, I will start their IV, draw labs and start fluids running. [I might mention for fun that a physician has jokingly challenged me to see who could get a hard IV stick first, and I beat him multiple times, proving to him my worth and skill] I may even get them medication to accelerate the process of them feeling better because if we're busy, it could be a while before the doctor or mid-level provider has time to get into see them.

My floor nurse co-workers are amazing (actually, all my co-workers are amazing). While their role as a nurse is different than mine, we do many of the same tasks. However, I have the benefit of having a doctor there all the time, when a patient is crashing, they can give me immediate orders for medication or whatever needs to be done (but I also have the ability to make these decisions and be proactive). They do their assessment and if something is out of the ordinary have to call and sometimes wake up providers when they get an inkling of something going wrong. I'm pretty sure if you ask almost anyone in a hospital what keeps it running, they will say the nurses. We are often the eyes and ears of the doctor. We go into patient rooms multiple times an hour, not to annoy you as a patient but to make sure we are doing everything that needs to be done to meet your needs. Yes, we may get annoyed with call lights and joke about patients, but you can believe me that we will always try our hardest to put on a smile (maybe sometimes it's fake ;) ) and do whatever we can to make you feel better.

No, I will never be "just a nurse". I will be a nurse, a caregiver, a medication distributor, a friendly smile, a maid at times, a professional butt wiper, a hand to hold when you're scared and a shoulder to cry on when you're sad and so much more. And you, you will never be "the appendectomy", "they finger laceration", "the 'man-cold'" or any other ailment. You will always be my patient, and I will strive to treat you as a person, not your illness.  In some way, you will make a difference in my life as I hope I do in yours as your nurse.

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