“If nurses could have three wishes, what would they wish for?” Now when I say this, I’m not talking about your personal life; of course, we’d all wish for health and long lives for all our family members, well, with the exception of the annoying, alcoholic distant relative that we all wish would just fall off a cliff, but keeps showing up at each family reunion completely blitzed, telling lewd and unfunny jokes.
Here’s wish #1-Nurses are great healers, and it’s what we do best. In fact, we’d rather heal others than do anything else. The unfortunate thing is that we are often disillusioned when we begin working as nurses and quickly realize that we’re really not permitted to do the job we trained so hard for. In nursing school, we dream of how many people we can help and how we can make a difference. It’s what helps us attain the grades to complete nursing school. But when we graduate and take our first job we learn quickly that the number one priority of most facilities, (non-profit or not) is to make money and avoid lawsuits while doing so.
This creates a dilemma for nurses who are caught in-between the hungry money facilities and our duty to be the patient’s advocate.
It means that we must spend most of our time, not at the bedside of sick patients, but on paperwork that we loathe. It’s important to dot every “i” and cross every “t” and if it isn’t charted it didn’t happen. We become slaves to the computer and are forced to treat patients like cattle, moving them through the system as quickly as we can with as few errors as we can manage. So I believe that most nurses would wish for more time and less paperwork. We want to spend time with patients, not just talking to them and administering medications, but taking our time so we can avoid errors and feel as though we have actually contributed to the patient’s outcome.
Wish #2 is a bit more selfish I suppose. Most nurses spend their shift running around like maniacs trying to accomplish all the tasks that we are assigned and a little time to eat in peace would be totally awesome. Geeze, we don’t get to eat unless we hide in the bathroom and eat, (which I admit, as gross as it sounds, I’ve done this before) but for goodness sakes I was hungry! Either you just don’t get the “luxury” of lunch, you eat it cold because you’ve been interrupted so many times, or you sneak it to the bathroom and eat it there. And I know this is really pushing it, but a pee break would be freaking magnificent once in a blue moon. We don’t have super-human bladders, and we try our best to hold it, but a real break to take care of this would be great.
Wish #3- It would be wonderful to be appreciated once in a while. Now, I’m not saying we need a pat-on-the-back for everything, but a “good job” from the charge nurse here and there would go a long way. I really can’t understand why it’s imperative to inform nurses of the things they do wrong, but it’s not important to compliment them for a job well done. I’m aware that we’re all there to do a good job, but we are all human and people respond well to positive reinforcement. It’s Psych 101, and we’ve all had that course!
We don’t require a “thanks” from patients either. In fact, when we see a patient walk out the door happy and healthier, we are ecstatic, when they thank us too, it’s amazing and that one token of appreciation will get us through some of the toughest parts of our job. So thank your nurse. Nurses are said to be some of the most respected people in the world, so why not let your favorite nurse know how special she is. A simple “thanks” means a lot.
What would you wish for if you had three wishes? comment below