I was sitting at my computer charting the other morning, and I looked down the hallway. I was on the Cardiac floor as usual. I saw 3 of the smartest and most hardworking nurses that I know, walking alongside 3 new interns. They were showing the new kids on the block the ropes. Precepting isn’t an easy task. You have to have the patience of a saint, the confidence and knowledge to teach, and the love-tank full enough to not only care for your patients, but your preceptee too. That’s a lot to handle when you’re also overseeing someones life and personal needs!
It hit me big time that day. This profession is so unique. I almost want to go as far as saying it’s one of the hardest out there. As I watch nurses raise up new nurses, lives saved, medications safely passed, water pitchers filled, pain addressed, ambulation completed, bladders held, meals missed, and nurses take the most anxious drive home thinking about all that they didn’t do (after doing SO MUCH), a picture becomes painted about how truly HARD this profession is. In a sense, it is a battlefield. And we are the frontline warriors.
Some days it does feel like a fight. A fight against against time. A fight a fight against death. A fight against hunger. A fight against sadness. A fight to win someone over. A fight to NOT CRY from being overwhelmed. A fight to get out on time. A fight for the doctor to hear you out. A fight for this patient to understand. A fight to beat this BEAST called charting! It can be so physically and emotionally draining, to the point where the thought of going at it again the next day makes you a little sick in the stomach….and then someone walks up to you and asks if you’ve re-assessed your patient’s pain level after you’ve battled all of the above. You then push your computer down, fall on the ground in fetal position, and just scream and cry. Okay…so that doesn’t happen, but that’s totally what you want to do. Trust me, I’ve been there.
We are not dealing with drinks at Starbucks. We’re dealing with lives. We’re dealing with someones mother, father, sister, brother, friend, spouse, and child. If a mistake gets made, there is no re-do. Think about that? We go to work everyday with lives in our hands. We lend hands and support one another because we KNOW the challenge that dealing with a life can be. Sometimes the challenge is related to a negative personalty trait. Sometimes the challenge is related to a difficult family member. Sometimes the challenge is just dealing with a REALLY sick patient. And sometimes the challenge is dealing with all 3 at the SAME TIME.
I look back on my 4 years of nursing, and it almost makes me tearful. I feel so happy, so proud, so thankful, so hurt, so tired, so exhausted, so emotionally drained, and so thankful to be a nurse. That threw you off, didn’t it? Well thats the truth. This job is an emotional and physical battle….and just like our men fighting on the front lines in the midst of danger and the unknown, they wouldn’t choose any other way to serve than to protect their country and its people. And that is why we thank them with every interaction we have.
Because of being in this profession, I have chosen to take a similar view with nursing. Every time I meet a nurse outside of work, I thank them. I thank them the way I would thank any other valiant position in this country. Because as a nurse, I know they deserve that thanks. As a nurse, I know how hard this job is. As a nurse, I understand the SACRIFICE that this position truly is. I know how BEAUTIFUL it can be at times, but I also know how PAINFUL it can be.
So THANK YOU to every single nurse out there who has cried the loss of a patient, the result of a terrible day, or the stress of a first med error. We all know that pain. THANK YOU to the nurse leaders who fight for their team and help them all win at the end of the day. We know the stress it can be. THANK YOU to all of the nurses precepting newbie’s and raising them up to be strong and confident nurses. That patience and strength is like no other. THANK YOU to all of the Nurses who make sacrifices on holidays, family functions, birthday parties, ballet recitals, and sports games to come take care of others. That sacrifice can hurt so deep! THANK YOU to all of the nurses who call docs and FIGHT for their patients as if they were your family. Those families are grateful! THANK YOU to all of the nursing students sacrificing every piece of freedom and sanity to make it through, only to come join in on this battle that I like to refer to as a beautiful mess! THANK YOU for all of the selfless TIME and DEVOTION to your patients and their wellbeing.
No one will every fully comprehend the heroic act that nursing is until they step foot in our shoes, but today I want to encourage everyone to start saying “Thank You” when you meet a nurse. Because they truly are the Unsung Heroes In This World.
Your Heart Is Mine,