Nurses are the unsung heroes of the medical industry.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about nurses on social media. Specifically, certain people have been criticizing nurses for what they do on their breaks. Last week was National Nurses Week however, and as an orthopaedic surgeon I am here to say that we should all be more appreciative of what nurses do.
Nurses are some of the hardest working medical professionals in the industry. Many of the nurses I know work terribly long shifts, and many more take on double shifts when needed. They are the first round of defense when you enter an ER, and are well-trained to handle any number of situations. While the doctor may be able to diagnose the problem and write the prescription, many times it is the nurses’ opinion, and feedback that helps the doctor make that decision.
Over the years I have seen time and time again, just how vital and important nurses are to the medical industry, so I wanted to take the time to give you five reasons to thank a nurse today.
Nurses are patient advocates. Any time you visit a doctor or ER, a nurse is one of the first people you see. They use their medical knowledge to help diagnose you, and offer the doctor helpful insight into what is going on with you. They are your best advocate in terms of getting the treatment you need, so you should treat them accordingly. Be kind to a nurse and you will end up with the best possible patient advocate you could ever ask for.
Nurses rarely take holidays. Medical emergencies never take a holiday, and thus, nurses rarely do either. Nursing is an extremely important job around the clock, 24/7, so I know many nurses who work straight through holidays, spending the time they could be enjoying with their families, helping strangers get the medical help they need.
Nurses help people move on. A good friend of mine has told me countless stories about how the nurses who attended his mother in the chemotherapy ward were like angels. They were the last people his mother interacted with at the end of her life. This is the case with many nurses, and their bedside manner, and strength of character is often one of the last kindnesses that a person will experience in their life. That is a job worth of a million thank-yous, in my book.
Nurses are good for mental health. Being in the hospital is a scary thing for many people. For patients who are dealing with a more chronic issue, they may end up staying in the hospital for days or weeks, spending much of that time alone. Nurses provide much needed social interaction, and small acts of kindness during this time which is good for the mental health of the patients. Being sick takes a mental toll on many patients. Nurses help ease that stress.
Nurses see unspeakable things every day, and continue to go back to work. This example refers mostly to emergency room nurses, but the medical horrors they see every day would be enough to turn the average person’s stomach. An ER nurse not only sees that type of thing almost every day, but then goes home to their family (talk about compartmentalizing), and then returns to work the next day to do it all over again.
Nurses save lives. They deserve celebration and respect for doing what they do every single day. So if you would, take the time to thank a nurse in your life today. They never ask for a thank you, but deserve one more than most.