Why I Celebrate Nurse’s Week

No, No No……that is why my husband celebrates Nurse‘s Week.

In all seriousness though…

I think that nursing is a mis-understood profession. It’s respected, for the most part, by the general public, but it seems to me that in most people’s minds, nursing is a medical career. We help doctors take care of patients. To be sure, we often get credit for being at the bedside more and for doing a lot of the work, which isn’t really fair to a doctor (or worse a poor resident) who may have many more patients to care for at once.

But nursing is not medical….it’s nursing. There is a whole different philosophy and perception behind it than there is in medicine. Medicine is very task oriented. You find what’s wrong and you fix it. You try your damnedest not to do any harm in the process. Illness is bad; health is good, and obviously we need people for whom that philosophy works. We need good doctors.

We also need good nurses. Like medicine, there are aspects of nursing that are task oriented and technical, but it has a depth to it that goes beyond the illness is bad, health is good equation. There is a nurturing element to it, a holistic perspective that is unique to nursing.

To give you a simple example of what I mean, think about this. When you are looking for a recommendation for a doctor how often have you heard something along the lines of “He/She is a great doctor (is brilliant, is the top of their field, etc.), but he/she does’t have the best bedside manner.” I know I’ve heard it (or thought it) often. You never hear someone say that about a nurse. If a nurse has a bad bedside manner, then he/she is a bad nurse. That’s all there is to it. Nursing is about possessing certain knowledge and skills, but it is also very much about the personal touch.

So with that in mind I have to give a shout out to all of my sisters and brothers in the nursing profession. I have worked with amazing, competent and compassionate nurses, both RNs and Advanced Practice Nurses. I have been the benefactor of their care. I have been lucky enough to have nurses around me who have taken the time to teach and encourage me in my career. I work every day to live up to their standards of care and remember that while my job is a job, what I do impacts my patients’ lives. That knowledge is very humbling.

In my particular area of labor and delivery, there is no way that I will remember every person I care for, but I can be pretty darn sure that they remember the care they got during one of the most special (or difficult) days of their lives. I owe it to every one of them to be as close to the perfect nurse as I can get; they deserve nothing less. And the amazing thing is, I am not a standout in my career. Most of the nurses I know feel and conduct themselves in the same way.

That is a special thing. Nursing is a special thing. Happy Nurse’s Week!

I’m so proud to be part of an amazing tradition of caring.

PS: Nurses also tend to have a sick sense of humor……

6 thoughts on “Why I Celebrate Nurse’s Week

  1. trustlifetoday says:

    Great post, Kristen. I have to admit, I had never thought of it that way — making the distinction between medicine and nurturing that way. (I’m going to pass this along to Mallorie, for sure.)

    You reminded me of something I recently experienced when you wrote about not being able to remember each patient, but that *they* will remember the type of care they received at a critical time….

    So the other day, I was walking through Medical City, and I caught a glimpse of one of the nurses that took care of me after my double mastectomy. They were all great nurses, but this one, well, you know how it goes, there was just something in her demeanor that made her stand out. Well, when I saw her, my face lit up and I almost charged her with a hug. At the last minute I had to pull myself back, realizing, she doesn’t know me from Adam.

    Instead, I decided to walk like a normal person, take down my ear to ear grin a few notches (afraid I might scare her). I proceeded to thank her for taking such good care of me. I know she didn’t remember me, but before we parted, I asked her how her boyfriend was doing, and if they were still doing CrossFit together. Now, HER face lit up! She said, “Yes! You were the one with the botched catheter!”

    Anyway, I could go on, but let’s just say, We Had a Moment. It felt nice.


    And thank YOU, Kristen. You may not believe you’re a standout nurse (which I’m guessing your humbleness is showing up here), but I can tell you firsthand, you’re a standout PERSON.

    Love, Leslie

  2. Thank you Leslie! I’m sure that nurse was so happy to have you thank her for her care. It’s always nice to know when you’ve done a good job. 🙂

  3. So, my ignorant self didn’t even know there was a nurses week – but having sat under your care I’d definitely say you fit the bill of a FABULOUS NURSE! Thanks for all you do!

  4. E says:

    Happy Nurse’s Week! I think medicine needs to take a few cues from the nursing profession regarding exactly what this post is about — not just fixing what is wrong but treating the whole patient!

  5. Thanks for the comment E. I LOVE your blog by the way. I’m glad you commented so I could find it.

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