Nurses are pretty serious about their patients and how we care for them. Many nurses look almost “superhuman” when you watch them work and a lot of the things you see them do you may not understand. But you trust your nurse to make you better and do the right things to help you get well.
Here are some of the things that go on behind the scenes with nurses that most patients don’t know:
1. Nurses are not just nurses at work. They take their jobs home, and they worry about you while they’re spending time with their family. It’s very common for nurses to stress about things they could have done differently during the day, during their commute home. Nurses really do care about you and your health and truly want you to get well.
2. Nurses get tired of paperwork, not because they’re lazy and hate working, but because they want to spend more time helping you get well and doing what they love. But if they don’t do their paperwork properly they are reprimanded by administration.
3. They sometimes don’t pee for their entire shift. Every time they think they have a chance to go, all hell breaks loose.
4. A nurse’s number one responsibility is to be your advocate, and we take this very seriously. We want what’s best for you, and we will go to extreme lengths to make sure you get the best treatment possible.
5. Think your doctor is king of all your medical treatment? Think again! Nurses work behind the scenes to keep many doctors from making mistakes that could be extremely unfavorable for you. We check every single medication order for accuracy before we administer it to you, and we often find mistakes that either pharmacy or your physician has made. If we feel a treatment plan that your doctor ordered for you is not ideal, we will discuss it with your physician and ask for a different treatment plan.
6. Nurses don’t care if you’re naked, bleeding, vomiting or pooping. That doesn’t mean we don’t care that you’re sick because we do. But there’s no reason to be embarrassed. When we tell you we’ve seen it all, we have. Nothing surprises us…nothing!
7. We appreciate respect. We know you’re sick and you may be in pain, but we really appreciate it when you are still courteous. Realize that you may not be our only patient and although you may think you are in dire need of our help, we may have someone that we are caring for that is much more critical than you. Please be patient and understand that while we want to help everyone, some people just need more help than others. Be thankful that you are not that critical patient.
8. We cry all the time. When we are working we often appear harsh or emotionless, but we have a job to do, and we can’t do it if our emotions interfere. We do get attached to our patients, and we cry when we can’t help. We frequently blame ourselves for things that we can’t even control, because we love what we do, and we want you to get well. Seeing you recover is the best reward you can give a nurse.
9. We love it when you thank us. We love our occupation, and that’s rewarding enough for us, but when you thank us or tell our superiors that we did a great job, it’s a wonderful thing to hear. We walk around on cloud nine for at least a week! If we know we’ve made a difference in your life, it thrills us to no end. So go ahead, hug a nurse and thank her for a job well done. She deserves it!
10. Nurses know what may be going on with you most of the time when you ask them. But please realize that we are not allowed (by law) to diagnose you. Asking us what we think is going on with you is a waste of time. We are not trying to be difficult, and we usually know exactly what is going on with you, but we could lose our job for telling you and lose our license to practice nursing. So please, just don’t ask. It makes us very uncomfortable.