It’s Nurse’s Week!

It nurse’s week! Therefore I’m going to post things about nursing and what we encounter day in and day out. I warn you. My judgement of what is acceptable to say in public may be clouded. I’ve been doing this for four years and have a very small layer of salt on me from the harsh seas.

There are many different kinds of patients out there, much like different kinds of pretty flowers to put so eloquently. I’m going to generalize these different types of patients. And may I reiterate these are just generalizations and are not based upon any particular individual or event I have encountered.

The 300lb guy that has a heart attack

Yes, heart attacks are fairly common in the ICU. What kills me is when people at supremely high risk are in shock that they had a heart attack. The why me attitude. Why did you have a heart attack? I will list some hypotheses.

1. 300lbs bro

2. Smoker. SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING….does that seem at all familiar?

3. McDonald’s breakfast everyday. Doesn’t that get old? I’m sure your gallbladder appreciates working overtime.

4. Have you seen a pair of running or walking shoes lately? And the stairs in your house do not count as exercise unless you do 100 reps 5x daily.

5. Salt shaker….just put it down…slowly…relinquish the salt.

6. And no, you cannot order french fries off the menu. That bare metal stent won’t appreciate. Why do we have those on the menu at a hospital??? Seriously…

7. Bacon, butter, The Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Krispy Kreme, and so on….

The sloth like patient

Yes, the sloth like patients. Nurses are essentially the servants to these ones. Servants doing what you might ask…

**The parentheses are my very sarcastic comments rolling around in my head. I don’t actually say this because I am polite and politically correct. Healthcare is a business after all, and I am not a douche bag. I want patients to feel comfortable and safe in a hospital. I know patients are absolutely miserable at times and I truly feel terrible for you, but we nurses are human and can only take so much call light action.

1. Can you fluff my pillow? (Didn’t you push your call light with your hand?)

2. Can you hold my water cup for me? (How about I just up your IV fluid rate? Will that work?)

3. Sir, you should get up and walk today. “I’m tired. Just a little more sleep.” (I am not a snooze button. I am a drill sergeant. MOVE!)

4. Can you scratch my toes? (WTF, my soul just died a little).

5. Can you turn off my tv? (Again, you pushed your call light to tell me this?)

6. Order breakfast for me. (Yes, I can do that. But first, let me attend to this coding person. Thank you.)

The Type A patient

These patients need everything to fit in their neat little box.

  • My side table goes on this side.
  • I cannot do physical therapy at 8am. That is when I have to eat breakfast and take my stool softener.
  • I must take my water pill after Jeopardy. No sooner.
  • 2 pillows, not 1.
  • Can you adjust my bed for me? Oh, that’s a little too low. (Slight adjustment) Oh, a little high now. (Slight adjustment). Hmmm, I think that’s ok. (Take two steps) Actually, it’s a little low. (Slight adjustment). That should be good.

So this post is for all the nurses that:

  • Work obscure hours, 24/7
  • Miss their families at most holidays
  • Wear MSRA, VRE, C. Dif, ESBL, vomit, stool, saliva, blood, bile, sputum, and urine
  • Run on caffeine
  • Juggle a million tasks at once
  • Get hit, spit at, and called terrible things
  • Love their job despite all these things above.

Cheers to you fellow nurses! Happy Nurses’ Week!

This is an excerpt from Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul (Canfield, J., et. al. , 2001, p. 335)

To the Nurses of the World

You are evangelists of encouragement, you are so much more than you know.

You have never let what you couldn’t do stop you from doing all you could do.

You are salespeople; your briefcases are filled with a product called hope.

You are explorers, knowing that once you have gone as far as you can see, you will still see farther.

You are singers spreading the melody of consideration.

You are lawyers making a case for life.

You are authors helping others add more pages to their book of memories.

You are comedians dispensing the medicine of laughter.

You are magicians creating real miracles that inspire patients and families.

Like King Arthur and Joan of Arc, you are warriors battling against the villains of negativity.

Dorothy would have reached Oz much faster in the company of one nurse.

For no one can practice your profession unless they already possess a brain brimming with wisdom, boundless courage, and heart filled with love.

You are living proof that humanity is created in the image and likeness of God, and that name of that God is Love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~John Wayne Schlatter

Canfield, J., Hansen, M.V., Mitchell-Autio, N., & Thieman, L. (2001). Chicken soup for the nurse’s soul: 101 stories to celebrate, honor, and inspire the nursing profession. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.

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