Spending any time at a hospital in a critical care or step down area for patients who need a higher level of monitoring quickly reveals the level of effort, stamina, patience, skills, resilience, and social skills among other qualities necessary to do the job of nurses.
One of the great social past times are people commiserating about how tough or difficult their job is. Either the hours are too long, the boss or co workers can be a pain, the pay isn’t enough, and so on and so forth.
The likely truth is, if most of us had to spend even a day or two having to take on the roles of nurses in critical care areas, the vast majority of folks would see how much easier their job is compared to nursing and go back to their jobs with a new attitude.
Nurses can have the worst bosses of all – bad patients, and they have to treat them with respect and courtesy no matter how surly, insulting, threatening, or condescending the patients attitude, and that’s in addition to the organizational/corporate bad bosses in the medical hierarchy.
Even without problem patients with bad attitudes, there are patients with a host of physical ailments that have to be addressed which many of us would much rather avoid.
A couple of years back I was reading the journal entry of a nurse who noted that she had to clean up after a patient who had explosive diarrhea. That was during the time I was considering a career switch to being an investment adviser- which meant switching gears to sales and cold calls and door knocking on strangers homes depending on which company I would get hired at. I knew the pay would be primarily commission based and it would be a hard slog before building up enough clients to generate enough regular commission to pay all the bills. I was feeling a bit apprehensive about taking this on, but when I read that nurse’s entry, I knew that no matter how many difficulties this new career would entail, it would never be as difficult as cleaning up after someone with explosive diarrhea, and it put all my previous concerns in a different perspective. This is just one of many unsavory jobs that nurses have.
They also have to engage in the drama related to all the patients and their families. Every patient’s problem has a back story and some have very active families worried about their loved one. Nurses have to be the ambassadors for the doctors giving patients and family the latest status on the situation. This is no easy task when a nurse has several patients and they all have family members present and they ALL think they need immediate attention. The fact that nurses can do this without blowing a fuse and running out of the room screaming is a testament to their abilities.
Of course some similar hardships and stresses are shared by other health tech aides dealing with the common denominator of people in need of medical assistance.
They are typically overworked, understaffed, and definitely underpaid. Faced with all the emotional, physical, and psychological duress of dealing with these issues day after day, it’s no wonder some nurses develop a cold exterior and become the prototype for a “Nurse Ratched“.
That said, it is all the more amazing when nurses can encounter all these stressors and challenges and continue to exude all the warm open heart, caring, and grace that they first started out with……angels in our midst.
We the healthy typically take our health for granted until one day we find that it isn’t there anymore and find ourselves at the mercy of getting help from others. We should all be grateful that there are those who chose the healthcare profession to be there for us in our time of need- and so many do it willingly and lovingly despite the numerous challenges they face.
We the healthy should also be cognizant of our good health and give daily thanks for the ability to wake up, rise out of bed, move, and fend for ourselves under our own power and will. These abilities are not a permanent “given” and we need to always remember to enjoy “today” when there are no problems.