So, I work in a level 1 neuro ICU in a large city. Today one of my patients said to another nurse as I was leaving to go home from my overnight shift that, I am “so good, such a great nurse, knows what he is doing, so good . . . . he should be a doctor”.
While this poor elderly woman meant this as a compliment I had a hard time not taking offense to this! My only response to her was, “I chose to become a nurse so that I could actually take CARE of patients”. I wasn’t really sure what to say. I think that the misconception that nurses are simply doctors hand maidens is a fading one, but still is out there among many individuals.
As nurses we truly are on the front lines keeping patients alive. As a night shift nurse in a busy surgical, trauma, medical – – – neuro ICU I am often all alone with critical patients left to make life altering decisions on my own. The docs are home asleep, the patients are hanging on for dear life, and there I am left to keep them alive for 12 more hours. I am proud of my role in the medical field . . . as a nurse we are in the trenches WITH our patients. Physicians have separated themselves so far from actual patient care that some will only see their patient every other day or so from the door way and make changes to care plans on a 5 second head to toe view while we as nurses are in the room every 2 minutes suctioning, pushing meds, adjusting drips, cleaning, feeding, turning, assessing, etc. . .
I am proud of my role as a nurse where I can actually change peoples lives and be there for those critical acute changes. I didn’t become a nurse because I couldn’t get into medical school . . . I became a nurse because I CHOSE to be a nurse.
Patients very seldom recall their doctors name . . . but they will ALWAYS remember the nurse who stayed up all night long with them to see them through a crisis, the nurse who explained what the hell the doctor was even talking about after they leave the room, the nurse who with love is firm in carrying out medical orders for the patients benefit. In my short time as a nurse I know that I have impacted peoples lives, I know that there are families who will always remember me and the care I brought to them.
In fact, this same patients husband left me a kind Christmas card expressing his deep gratitude for the love and compassion showed his wife . . . He will always remember nurse Jon, yet he does not recall the physicians name. If you want to change lives and impact families there is no better calling than nursing.