18 September, 2015 § Leave a comment
The Washington Post published “Is nursing a talent? You can bet your life on it.” The article is very well written and it confirms what many of us already know: it is a skill that we continually work to keep sharp and update. In some ways, it is a lot like many of the other talents that were displayed in the Miss America pageant. We juggle a patient load, orders, varying degrees of patient acuity and needs. We move so quickly up and down the unit that we often feel like we are on (and sometimes need) roller skates. We have sung to our patients. We have read poetry to them. We tell them jokes. We often work magic. Indeed, we have many of the same talents as pageant contestants, but we also have so many more talents and skills that are necessary to be a Nurse.
Since the jokes made by the hosts of the View, I have used my skills and talents as a nurse to perform CPR, stabilize a cervical spine with my hands until we were able to place a collar, managed the trach of patients so that they may continue to breath, placed an IV so that a patient could receive live saving medications, comforted and calmed scared and confused patients, decreased someone’s pain, increased someone’s hope, and gave families peace of mind that their loved ones were in good and caring hands. That is only a small fraction of what I and my 3 million colleagues have done.
17 September, 2015 § Leave a comment
To the Hosts of The View
It has taken me a few days to come up with exactly what I wanted to say. I have expressed my opinion on social media, joined Facebook groups in protest and camaraderie, and discussed the remarks made by you on The View. I have sat down and though long and hard about what I was seeing happening in the aftermath of the remarks that you had made about myself and my colleagues. Initially my letter to you was filled with anger over your ignorant comments, but as the hours have passed, some of my anger has passed as well. Undoubtedly, the ability to continue to move forward, even while angry and hurt over the remarks of another person, is something that I have learned as a Registered Nurse. It is one of my many skills, but it is by no means my only skill that I utilize as a Nurse. I assess, investigate, advocate for my patients. I comfort my patients when they are having the worst times of their lives and provide them with hope. I offer them assistance and encouragement in order to help them move forward through recovery. I educate them on their diagnosis, and how to become more healthy. I have held the hand of dying patients, made them comfortable after I advocated for more medications, and yes, I have used my stethoscope to listen to them take their last breath, to listen to their heart beat its’ last beat as they left this world and because of my stethoscope I was able to pronounce the patient which required that I put my name is credentials on their death certificate.
While you joked on your show about my colleagues, countless numbers of us were saving lives. Many of us were in Codes, performing chest compressions, inserting IV lines, and delivering medications in order to save the loved one of another. Some of us may not have even known the patient or the family, but when the call for help rang out, we responded quickly because that is what we do as Nurses. We often move towards what others will run away from because, like many others of the healthcare team, we have seen life and death and understand that someone must move towards the most horrific parts of the human experience.
As a Nurse, I am also a scientist and a scholar. I use the most recent scientific research, conducted by Nurses, to implement Evidence Based Practice, so that I can ensure that I provide the absolute best care possible. While your jokes, and your subsequent “apology” make it apparent that you think that we are also stupid, many of us hold multiple degrees, multiple certifications, and have thousands of hours of education under our belts.
We are women. We are men. We come in all ages, colors, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. We have various levels of education and certification from Associate Degrees right up to Doctorate Degrees in our field. We are in the community at schools and people’s homes, in Operating Rooms, in Clinics and Family Practices, in Emergency Departments, in Medical Surgical wings, in Rehabs, in Long Term Care facilities, in Critical Care, at your birth and at your death. We are everywhere. We are Nurses.
If you do not know a Nurse, please find one. Perhaps reach out and ask to shadow a Nurse while they work their 8, 12, or 16 hour shift. Don’t worry, we will be compassionate towards you and do not expect you to be able to keep up. However perhaps you will be able to learn something about what we do. While we work, you might even be able to find yourself speaking with a Doctor, trust me they will set you straight in your remarks towards Nurses.
I wish you all well. I hope none of you ever have to meet any of my colleagues due to an illness, but if you do, just know that we will comfort you, care for you, advocate for you, because we are Nurses and that is what we do and it is just one of our many talents.
Anthony, BA, RN