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Thank a Nurse…

Thank a Nurse…

Looking back through last year’s issue, I was reminded that this week is National Nurses Week. And in case you somehow don’t know, nurses are amazing. They are the first line of defense in your health care and are indispensable members of hospitals, doctors’ offices, hospices, home health services and more. I think they deserve so much more credit and respect than what they get, because in addition to this lengthy list of things they deserve to be thanked for, they are also often the ones that take the brunt of patients’ and patients’ families’ frustrations, and they manage to stay cool, calm and collected throughout, even when it’s generally not their fault.

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

As I noted last year, this isn’t my list. Quite frankly, there is stuff on here I’m not even sure what it is. But, that’s why we should be thankful for nurses, even when you are scared, or in pain, or frustrated, because even while you are all these things, your nurse is going to be there to take care of you, and make sure your health and well being is the top priority. So thank a nurse, be nice to a nurse and remember that they are there to help and possibly save your life!

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