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……