I want to take the time to wish all my friends and colleagues a Happy Nurses Week! The field of nursing is a challenging yet rewarding profession. On an average day nurses see anywhere from 2-8 patients depending on their specialty. Some shifts are smooth sailing while other shifts…the nurse is drowning trying to keep up with the demand.
At the beginning of each shift, the nurse is responsible for receiving a bedside report. The nurse prioritizes care based on patient acuity. We do a health assessment on our patients at the beginning of the shift. Nurses have amazing health assessment skills. Sometimes we don’t even have to see it our touch it to know what’s going wrong. You have to be 95% human and 5% bloodhound to do this job.
We assess everything from head to toe even the areas considered “private”. Don’t worry folks once you have seen one, you have seen them all. I can’t even remember them all… except for the penis that had gun shot holes through it. That one I will never forget.
Sometimes during our shift, we identify problems with our patients. Then we have to notify the physician about this issue. Sometimes you are blessed to speak to a nice doctor who thanks you for calling them and realizes that you are calling because you have the patient’s best interest at heart. Other times, you have to deal with arrogant doctors who are mad that you wake them up in the middle of the night to deal with an issue. Sometimes I want to say…
Some days are great! The nurse actually gets to take an uninterrupted lunch break during their shift. Sometimes as a bonus, we even get to go to the bathroom. It doesn’t happen often but when it does….
But on those good days there is an unspoken rule… no one can ever say the “Q” word. You can think it but never say it. If you do, you will be sent to the guillotine and the entire unit staff will scream “Off with her head!”! It’s pretty serious.
The “Q” word for everyone wondering is quiet. Never ever say quiet at the hospital, ever. The word quiet seems to trigger a switch in the hospital that causes everything to go awry at the same time. I once had a patient have a stroke and one have breathing problems from a blood clot in their lungs within 2 minutes of each other. I was running back and forth between 2 rooms with the rapid response team trying to get them stabilized. It was a nightmare. The team of nurses and doctors actually asked me what time I was going home because they never had a nurse with 2 patients who got critical at the same time. I’m convinced someone said the “Q” word because that evening started off wonderful.
There are other days when you come to work and become the body fluid magnet for all patients. Those days are absolutely wonderful *insert sarcasm here* . Thank God for surgical scrubs!
Although most days in nursing can be stressful and crazy, they can also be quite rewarding. Helping someone feel better after a surgery or a prolonged illness is the best feeling in the world. We are there for their journey emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We cry with our patients. We console and encourage our patients. We become a rock for the families of very ill patients. We make a difference. Not many can say that. So 3 cheers to all of you super heroes out there changing and saving lives.
Do you know a nurse? Are you a nurse? Shout out your favorite nursing memory in honor of Nurses Week.