In case you’ve been hiding in a hole away from social media for the past four days, it’s Nurse’s week. Coincidentally, Mother’s Day is also coming up (so a big high five to those of you who are wiping butts on AND off the clock!) You may not feel appreciated at your job, hanging antibiotics and suctioning trachs, wiping poop and dealing with dementia patients who are trying to escape. So I called a few friends and they wanted to express their gratitude. I hope this gives you the satisfaction you’ve been looking for.
That woman who had a husband, two boyfriends, and seven kids and made you update them all (separately) on the phone several times during the day? She called and said she’s grateful. That guy who kept making the crude jokes about nurses giving bed baths? He said thank you (and he’s sorry about that). What about the septic, schizophrenic homeless man who cussed you out for twelve hours while you titrated his Levo and ran his CRRT? He sent a note, very heartfelt thanks (oh, and he wanted to mention that he’ll be back.) And then there’s the belligerent family member who you had to call the police on. Oh wait, everyone else says thank you for that. The family member definitely does not. And then there’s your mom’s friend’s son-in-law. You remember, the intern who didn’t know a head from a foot and you successfully kept from killing anyone for an entire month’s ICU rotation? He’s a plastic surgeon now and he said you’ll be getting a thank you bonus check real soon. And you can’t forget the 400 pound lady who you had to push ALL the way to MRI, TWICE. And the family who asked you 46,578 times for ice chips. (sure, another cup? ok, well just wait a minute, I’m almost done. Can the pca get it? another cup, sure. it’s not cold enough? it’s crushed instead of cubes? it’s not made from fiji water? OH MY GOD DO YOU HAVE PICA?? LET’S GET A CBC STAT YOU CRAZY PERSON.)
And even if they won’t say thank you, I will. For all the times you’ve accidentally gotten splashed with urine a centimeter from your eye, or when that Flexiseal popped out a few inches from your face, or for all the times you’ve had to change scrubs during a shift- I say thanks. For every time you’ve almost gotten slapped by a delirious patient or bore the brunt of a family member’s exasperation with everyone but you, and for every time you got stuck with double isolation… I’m grateful. For every time you sweated through your underwear during that burn dressing change. For the fact that you can smell CDiff from a mile away. For all the TB patients. For all the times you had to travel with a TB patient. For every time the physician opened the wrong door to your TB patient’s room. You’re a rockstar. For comforting that medicine doctor who cried for twenty minutes after sticking himself during a central line insertion (the patient did have Hep C by the way.) For all the times you’ve had to politely say “just a minute!” on the portable phone to your other patient as you do chest compressions. For charting long past your shift. For all the times you’ve had to convince people that Webmd is not the ultimate medical authority. For the number of times you’ve gotten a unit lecture on CLABSI’s. For all the times your friends have texted you photos of their rashes. You’re killing it.
No one can disimpact like you. No one has trach suctioning skills like you. You’re a nursing gem, a diamond in the rough (or at least that’s what you look like most days). You get up at 4:45 am and get home at 8:15 pm. You can think of at least one shift where you didn’t pee. Your family has actually banned you from telling stories at the dinner table. You’re making it, and you’re doing a damn good job.
To the patients and families who actually do say thank you, we appreciate it. We hold on to those moments when someone is yelling at us in a language that we don’t understand or a physician rolls his eyes (yes, you were right. That patient did need to go back to the OR.) And to the ones who don’t, it’s ok. We’re tough enough. We know that what we’re doing is bigger than a thank you. But in case you haven’t heard it in a while, hear me now.
You’re a great nurse. And we’re thankful for you.