Nurses Appreciation Week begins today. I have never really acknowledged this week before because it forces me to think about being in the hospital. When I think about nurses, I associate them with the hustle and bustle of the hospital, the feeling of being hooked up to tubes and drains, and just generally feel very negative whenever I see a nurse. I actually cannot believe I am saying that publically because I know so many wonderful people who are nurses. But the truth is that anyone who I come across, whether it be in a medical facility or on the street wearing scrubs, it causes me an enormous amount of anxiety.
Today was different though for some reason. I actually have been thinking about all of my interactions with nurses over the years. The difference between a bearable hospital stay and one that had me begging and pleading with my doctor to discharge me every chance I saw him was usually a good nurse. A compassionate person who was on top of his/her game is an invaluable resource to a patient. Nurses are usually more in touch with your care since they have a lot more time. While in most hospitals you see your primary doctor/surgeon once day (if that), a nurse provides continuous care either all day or all night depending on his/her shift. Often times, people are just put in the hospital and given a staff doctor or surgeon. Nurses provide continuity, take the time to explain things and an educated nurse can make you feel at ease. They are there not just to provide medical care but also comfort. I was treated in a teaching hospital where nurses also help bridge the gap between a patient and the doctor.
While this week may be nurses appreciation week, let us all remember how the benefits that nurses bring to the lives of so many people everyday truly cannot be measured.