Thursday, May 10, 2007

Brought to you by Hallmark

Who are these lovely, photogenic, hard-working people? Why, some of my cheery coworkers of course. Since I haven't officially 'outed' my blog at work (nor do I plan to...) that being said I was googling for a 'nursey' type of picture while looking for a modern representation of nurses when I realized I might as well show you there real thing...and here it is. Sorry, dear readers--there are no pictures of me on the homepage; HOWEVER...there were a few pictures taken at work recently that do include me which I may have access to soon.

It's nurse's week! It may have been invented by Hallmark, but the fact remains that there are about 2.5 million registered nurses who work hard everyday to meet the needs of our nation's sick, as well as educate the healthy and practice preventitive care. Although it's hardly the puritanical, angelic profession (or the hootchie-hottie mama with the short white skirt) profession it is sometimes protrayed to be; it certainly is an art form. Sure, there are some nurses who kind of drift through it and who practice safely for their patients without really being 'there', but my coworkers truly work with their head and heart. And I'm sure there's many others out there like them.

Words can't really quite explain what it is like to work at the bedside. A day in the life of a bedside nurse can--and often does--contain scenarios like these:

  • Rounding on your first patient to find her naked, dancing in her room and proclaiming she's at a club in Vegas
  • Participating in an emotional family-conference with the attending doctor, social worker, resident--where a 33 year old father has just learned that he has aggressive, minimally-treatable terminal cancer.
  • Helping a co-worker caring for a patient who suddenly begins to have respiratory distress.
  • Using wound-care skills to carefully clean and re-dress several compliacted wounds.
  • Administering a toxic chemotherapy agent that may help prolong a patient's life with the utmost care and safety precautions. Being prepared to intervene immediately to manage adverse reactions.
  • Reporting and acting on a patient's critical lab results.
  • Collaborating with the physical therapist to help get a patient scared of moving out of bed for the first time since surgery.
  • Listening to and beginning to act on concerns a patient's caregiver has about being able to care for the patient at home.
I could go on, and on...But as you can see by the list above, nursing requires many different skills. It is a job that anyone with the intellect and gumption for schooling can do, but not just anyone can do well. And that's what I see every day I go to work--nurses navigating through the complex problems and using all their many skills to perform their art and help patients in the thousands of ways that their help is needed. And if you'd rather read something that's actually well written =) on what nurses do, try this article: What Do Nurses Really Do? (you do have to register, but's its free and a really oustanding article)

So, is it just another Hallmark holiday? Perhaps. But I'd like to give a shout-out to all my nurse-y friends (especially Jen who is a very faithful reader) and say thanks for all that you do! I'm glad we're in this together.


Jen said...

Yea nurses! :) I went to a class once and a patient gave some closing remarks to us. Her opening line was: "Chemo infusion nurses should run the world", which summed up her high opinion of the important work that you guys do.

raecatherine said...

Those are always the best lectures--where you actually get to hear the patient's perspective (even if their experience is bad. =)