Happy Nurse’s Week!

Kinda annoyed that we have to share it with teachers.  They deserve an entire week unto themselves! Dealing with all those snot nosed little whiners.  God bless ’em!

So I’d like to extend a very happy Nurse’s Week nod to each and every nurse and nurses aide out there!!  Every single day I’m honored to work with such amazing human beings that have a limitless capacity for caring, intellect, humor, compassion, critical thinking, quick action, loyalty, vigor, forgiveness, resilience etc etc etc etc.  As the cliche goes, it’s very often a thankless job.  We’re easy targets for both patients and those giving us orders. Because nurses are the front line, we are the ‘do-ers’, the go betweeners, we are the final check before critical medications and interventions.  I wish we did just what some of the public perceived; took blood pressures, refilled water pitchers, held hands, wiped ass and smiled politely while doctors ordered us around….but we don’t.  We work in a world of constant distractions.  We not not only take care of critically ill people but we also take care of their parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins & siblings.  We are constantly asked questions, constantly explaining what we are doing and why, constantly being scrutinized, and I understand because I cannot imagine a greater fear than giving up your body and control to a stranger.  We are constantly getting phone calls from radiology, from ekg techs, from ultrasound sonographers, from pharmacists, from the lab, from the blood bank, from phlebotomy, from social workers, and from families.  We are constantly coordinating everything for every service  We are searching for our patients charts, calling doctors, updating flow sheets, reordering labs that were ordered incorrectly to begin with, and assessing…always assessing.  When we come into the room to ask if you’re comfortable and leave 30 seconds later we’ve scanned your entire body, countenance, and environment making sure everything is status quo and noting even the smallest change.  We know from hour to hour, really from minute to minute, a patient can deteriorate in the blink of an eye.  We are constantly checking orders from physicians, making sure we have orders we need, making sure we get orders we don’t have, and making sure all of these orders are safe for the patient.  We are giving medications, checking and double checking, checking to make sure the 8, 9 and/or 10 medications that are running in with each other are even compatible, checking to make sure some medications don’t run out…because that could be life threatening, making sure doses are correct, and making sure they are being giving to the patient they are intended for.  We are also hunting down family to sign consents, updating them as their loved one is in surgery, and holding them when they watch as Mom has a cardiac arrest.  We are constantly ‘doing’.  We wear 30 different hats.  We are the coordinators, the educators, the advocates, the comforters, the realists, the ‘last check’, the shoulders to cry on, the hands to hold.  We do all of this in 12 hours, because 8 simply isn’t enough.  We do all of this with a smile on our face, because we love what we do.  Every single person I work with absolutely, without a doubt, loves what they do.  We work hard, we don’t take breaks, rarely sit down, we get lunch when we can, we trust each other implicitly, and we rarely complain.  We want to be in the thick of it all and we are always one step ahead.  No matter what happens, we are prepared.  We are the eyes and the ears.  And then we go home and we struggle to find a way to turn off.  Sometimes I can’t.  Sometimes I lie in bed and think about a particular incident that happened during the day, or a particular family member that rode my ass all day and that I have to get up tomorrow morning and face for another 12 hours…and I do it with a smile.  Because when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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