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Thank a Nurse…


May 6th is National Nurses Day. Actually May 6th-May 12th is National Nurses Week. The week ends on Florence Nightingale’s Birthday.
For whatever reason, I happen to be friends with a good number of nurses. I also happen to know that they are overworked and under appreciated most of the time. I also happen to think there are a lot of reasons to take moment to thank a nurse. Any nurse. Whether it is the NICU nurse that is keeping watch over your preemie, the home health RN that is keeping watch over your aging grandmother, or the ER nurse that is doing everything he or she can to get you treatment as quickly as possible. So here are a bunch of things that nurses do every day that they rarely receive recognition for.
So thank your nurses for:
• Getting the crash cart ready on a hunch
• Performing effective chest compressions
• Noticing decreased urinary output in a patient with congestive heart failure
• Making the doctor stop in for a face-to-face discussion
• Answering the patient’s questions after the doctor has left
• Administering pain medication before repositioning a patient
• Getting a patient out of bed even when the patient doesn’t want to
• Holding a patient in C-Spine to prevent spinal injury
• Noticing a subtle change in pupil reactivity
• Providing post-mortem care
• Initiating the DNR talk
• Listening to what patients say
• Gently helping a new mother to get her baby to latch
• Asking a patient if she feels safe at home
• Holding a baby in the middle of the night when no one else can
• Asking a mother with post-partum if she’s having difficulty
• Asking a patient if he has thoughts of hurting himself
• Calling that difficult doctor in the middle of the night because the patient needs it
• Letting a family member stay a few minutes past visiting hours
• Noticing an unusual decrease in chest tube output
• Noticing a slight change in a patient’s EKG
• Giving a potassium infusion as slowly as possible because it’s painful to the patient’s vein
• Suggesting a doctor order an appropriate medication they hadn’t thought of yet
• Teaching the patient how to care for themselves at home
• Making sure the patient has appropriate medical needs at home
• Dispelling myths about treating pain with narcotics
• Handing a tissue to a grieving spouse
• Taking an unusual headache seriously
• Hearing a new heart murmur
• Getting a patient to try one more time to urinate so they don’t need to be catheterized
• Telling a patient it’s OK to be vulnerable
• Reassuring a patient there’s nothing you haven’t seen before
• Telling a patient, “I’m here to take care of you.”
• Working a holiday
• Bringing a blanket for the family member asleep at the patient’s bedside
• Helping a new resident learn the tricks of the trade
• Speaking up when witnessing a sterile field become contaminated
• Picking up overtime to alleviate short staffing
• Recognizing the early signs of a blood transfusion reaction
• Administering the Epi pen to the school child experiencing anaphylaxis
• Keeping a child and their parent calm during an asthma attack
• Getting that IV in when no one else could
Now obviously I didn’t come up with this list, but that’s kind of the point. Nurses often go so unappreciated that people have to make lists on the internet to remind people of the things nurses consider ‘just doing their job’. But for nurses, just doing their job, is saving people’s lives.