Let me preface this with the fact that I have been up for over 36 hours straight. I haven’t slept since 5 AM Tuesday and worked Tuesday night into Wednesday. I have yet to sleep today. I’ll do my best to keep the rambling to a minimum and maybe its delirium setting in but I truly believe Joy Behar and “The View” may have helped the nursing profession…
Now this is not to say that this woman isn’t a bumbling fool who disgraced nursing and the value of our careers. She obviously has NO idea what nurses do day to day (or night to night). I heard what she said (I did listen, Joy). Immediately upon hearing it I was outraged like everyone else. Typing my two cents onto their Facebook page and tweeting my disgust. However, along with my shock I wondered how she could possibly have this to say about nursing? Truly she must know someone that is a nurse. She must have had someone in life fall ill or at least seek out medical attention at some point in her cushy daytime-talk-show-life…
Why then is this her opinion of us? Let’s say for some reason she really has not had any exposure personally. If so what exposure has she had? Grey’s Anatomy episodes where the nurses come in and fluff a pillow, bring a pitcher of water and exit stage right? Plastic-wrapped white polyester minidresses complete with cap and thigh-highs on Halloween? What other profession is so openly misrepresented? Why have we not been outraged all along?
The initial tweeted response of Michelle Collins called out nurses saying “its a little funny the hidden anger you nurses possess. I never knew”. Ladies of “The View” you don’t know much. We came out swinging at these women to protect Miss Colorado and the 3,908,299 active licensed nurses who bust their backs, give up their weekends and holidays and literally risk their own wellbeing for the health and wellness of their patients. We are outraged and angry because you don’t see this. You don’t know what we see. You have no idea what we do.
The problem with us is that we are modest as a group. We don’t take the credit we deserve. We aren’t “just a nurse”. We are saving our patients lives day in and day out and no one knows. No one knows unless they’ve sat in that room and seen the sweat drip from our foreheads as we perform compressions on their father. Unless they get an update and the nurse translates the medical jargon into something remotely understandable for the eighty year old wife of the newly diagnosed cancer patient.
Even then they don’t see how we blocked that CT with contrast that was ordered on our patient with a rising creatinine. How we’ve made three different phone calls to the pharmacist to discuss that antibiotic we have yet to receive for our septic patient. They don’t see the four pages we’ve sent to the resident who has yet to put the order in for the pain medication you’re yelling about. How we suggested a longer acting med since your regimen obviously isn’t cutting it and maybe a hot pack to help. How the doctor said they’d put it in but they’re with the sicker patient down the hall with another group nurses discussing ideas for sedating the patient with no blood pressure and no access.
We hold hands, we cry with our patients. We provide care to our patients in some of the darkest parts of their lives and in death. We are educated, critically thinking, interdisciplinary team members working WITH not under doctors and alongside equally educated and invested physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists etc. I can go on and on.
Nursing is taboo. We don’t discuss our days because it hurts. We’re mentally and physically exhausted. If you’ve been in the hospital see your family member tucked neatly in bed “sleeping” or doing better and you see us sneak in and give medications and leave. We are the ducks of the medical profession. We float in and out of rooms and seem to have it all together but you can’t see the feverish paddling beneath the surface. We can’t show it. We don’t want you to see. You have your own healing or the healing of your loved one to worry about.
It is our responsibility as nurses to educate people on the importance and the science of the nursing profession. We don’t just pass meds and deliver food trays. We also don’t only hold hands and reminisce with families about that time you tried to shovel after a cardiac cath. While this is one of the most important and fulfilling parts of being a nurse we do more than that. We laugh with them about your stubbornness while assessing you WITH A STETHOSCOPE. We talk to your family while simultaneously using our educated, experienced eyes, hands, and brain to care for your mental, physical and social wellbeing.
We plan your care, we discuss options for medications and procedures with your physicians. We prevent errors from reaching you. We assess you. We should be proud of the work we do. We can’t wait for TV or media to come around. We need to be the face of nursing that people see. Enough of the doctor’s servant, bed-bath-giving pornstar caricature of our profession. Thank you Joy Behar- maybe now we can speak up and educate others on what we really do since we missed the ball with you. We can start here.