By Ethan W., BSN, RN
Medical Telemetry SPT Chair
Growing up I’m not sure that I ever thought about becoming a nurse. It seemed like a lot of stress and “dirty work” ̶ definitely not glamorous! It wasn’t until my first child was born, and she started having health problems, that I saw firsthand what nurses do.
My daughter’s physician was amazing but he only saw us for a few minutes, in which time he would overwhelm us with information like numbers, medical jargon, new medications and a long list of changes he expected us to understand and undertake. It was a nurse that took us aside as we left the exam room and listened to our story, helped identify barriers and strategize workable solutions that fit into our lives. She really listened, looked at us holistically, and when we left we felt prepared and empowered to do what we had to do.
In surveys regarding professions, year after year, nursing is recognized as the most honest, ethical and trusted in the United States. Nurses walk with people when they are at their most vulnerable. We are present for triumphs and tragedies, for life changing diagnoses, for births and deaths. Nurses are the hub that connects all members of the patient’s care team and often can be a last line of defense for the patient if an error should occur. Patients entrust nurses with their health, safety and dignity, and patients always expect nurses to “get it right.”
Nursing may be the most trusted profession, but nurses do not always receive the level of respect you might expect. Nursing is one of the most likely occupations for a person to experience incivility, even assault, in the workplace. Nevertheless, whether our patient exhibits kindness or anger, calmness or agitation, and even if the our values do not match the patient’s, nurses commit to treat patients professionally and with dignity.
Now that I been a nurse for a while, I must say that there is, indeed, a lot of stress and “dirty work.” The patient care demands do not stop. With mountains of charting to accomplish among other things, most of the time it is anything but glamorous. But, I like challenges and this is the most physically, intellectually and emotionally challenging job I can imagine. Every day brings new surprises and new things to learn. I am a nurse and I cannot think of anything I would rather be.