The occupation of “nurse” is a tough one. The best ones aren’t just nurses, they are warriors. There has to be a certain level of secrecy with some matters. Let’s take a look at some of them.
9. That giving your medicine is a big, frustrating deal.
Okay, okay, giving pills is what nurses do. Some patients may think that’s all they do. But what you will never know, what your nurse will never fully explain, is how really time-consuming and challenging their morning med pass may be.
They don’t just go grab a pile, put them in a cup, and saunter satisfied to your bedside. It’s so much more than that, even if it only takes you a second to swallow them.
Your nurse looks at every medication you have ordered, then makes certain she knows what each med is for. She will check for contraindications, possible side effects, and/or interactions with other meds you are on. She’ll make the decision if you need certain meds given or held until a later date.
There will possibly be phone calls to the physician to clarify an order, and if your nurse seems to be taking a bit to return, it might be because she had to run to the pharmacy for a medication of yours that wasn’t available.
Giving medications is nowhere near as easy as it looks, but your nurse will make it seem like a breeze.
8. When they’re sick.
You might pick-up on when your nurse doesn’t feel well, but the majority of the time your nurse won’t disclose to you their own health. While naturally your nurse will stay home if battling a contagious disease, for most other illnesses your nurse will still show up to care for you.
You won’t know the chronic pain your nurse endures, or about the slipped disc in their back. They might involuntarily wince when they lift without thinking, but if you ask they’ll say, “I’m fine.”
Everyone knows nurses make the worst patients. So while they excel at caring for you, they might neglect themselves, and they’ll seldom let on how bad they feel.
7. That their family is sick.
Working as a nurse usually doesn’t afford you the ability to leave at a moment’s notice when your child falls ill. Nurses will continue to care for their sick patients even when sickness is waiting for them at home.
Your nurse will never let on about their role as a caretaker for an aging parent, or how exhausting it may be to give the attention needed to a chronically sick child at home. They will instead give you 100% while at your bedside, because that’s their job.
They feel that while you’re here getting better that things should be about you. So they’ll probably keep their dealings with sickness away from work a private matter.
6. That they “bend” the rules.
Usually if you ask your nurse for something the legitimate answer may be no, but your nurse will respond, “let me check on that.”
It’s not that your nurse disregards doctor’s orders, but your nurse weighs the pros and cons of the directives set in place for your care. He/she usually knows just how far to push the envelope while maintaining safety, but ensuring patient satisfaction. It’s a fine balance to make certain you’re happy, or as happy as you can be in the hospital.
5. How often they go to bat for you.
Although a part of me would love to brag about it, in the end I do not. At least not to my specific patient.
Everywhere around the world nurses step away from the bedside, and they fight for the best interests of their patients. They go to bat for you always. They go head-to-head with physicians or other health care professionals, and present their case for what they desire for you. You will likely never know it, but they do. That’s their job, so they just keep the particulars to themselves.
4. That their other patient just died.
In the critical care unit the nurse is usually right outside your door, if not right by your side. If you don’t see her for a while that may indicate things are not doing so well in another room.
Upon the return, perhaps visually flustered, she will apologize profusely for ignoring you. Bless your heart for being so understanding most of the time.
She’ll never be able to tell you why she was unavailable for a time, but occasionally it’s because another patient has died. It won’t change how she cares for you, except to make her work harder to get you well.
3. How scared they were when you almost didn’t make it.
Many of my peers might not use the word fear, or say that an acute situation scared them, but most will agree that when a patient crashes and things go bad that their body reacts.
Hearts race, stomachs clinch, and despite the liquid efficiency of the team, there’s a measure, albeit small, of worry. us want you to come back, and it honestly scares them that you might not.
But you will never know this. Not fully. We’ll tell you what happened, and honestly describe the events, but that moment of fear will have faded in the face of victory, and it will be purposely forgotten in favor of mutual rejoicing.
2. How they think about you off the clock.
I’m not sure if you know this or not, but when your nurse leaves your bedside they take a piece of you with them. They will wonder how you’re feeling, and will likely call the other shift on duty to see how you’re doing. They sometimes tell a patient, “I’ll be praying for you,” but will wonder if they realize that it really happens.
Maybe your nurse does keep secrets, but some things are just hard to put into words. Some incidents are indescribable, and other times it’s just best left unsaid.
Don’t worry though. They promise that they’ll tell you most everything else.
1. That they’re exhausted!
Your nurse will never tell you how tired, fatigued or absolutely beat they are. You may say, “you look tired,” and we’ll answer honestly enough, but we’ll mostly make their exhaustion seem like less than it is.
You’ll never know just how much the stress can drain them, or how years of rotating shifts have made them just plain worn out. Cause they’ll never let on. You won’t know their feet are aching, and their brain is aching even more. When you ask surprised, “are you still here?!” they’ll just smile and nod, adding, “I still have four more hours.”