nurse leaning against wallOn this National Nurses’ Day, I’m feeling awestruck.  I truly don’t know how nurses have survived this pandemic.  To show up and work under incredibly challenging circumstances day after day, focusing on patients and their families (no matter what personal loss or burnout they may be going through themselves,) it’s just amazing to me.  Much respect for ALL healthcare workers but it’s Nurses’ Week so I’m focusing this blog post on them.

I think about the nurses who’ve cared for and calmed me while I was a nervous patient.  I remember during my parents’ hospital stays how kind and attentive nurses were.  With alarms going off, long hours, and many patients to care for, I consider nurses masters of multitasking.

As a voiceover artist, I record a lot of medical narrations, including eLearning modules that are used to train nurses.  I’ve basically read the symptoms of pretty much every medical condition as well as all the possible treatment options.  I had it easy, having the scripts right in front of me.  But nurses have to absorb and retain all that information and then recall it at the right time in a stressful environment with a million other things going on around them.  Again, I’m in awe.

In addition to nurses’ knowledge and skill in drawing blood, inserting catheters, managing medications, etc., they also need to have that all important “bedside manner.”  I’ve always appreciated when a nurse tried to lift spirits or make a personal connection.  Yet I know “service with a smile” is not always easy, especially with the demands of the pandemic, the doctors, and other patients.

I asked a few nurse friends to share some thoughts today.  They want patients to understand they really care and they’re doing their best under difficult circumstances.  They don’t appreciate being considered “servants” or “doctor’s assistants.”  They do NOT ever want to be slapped or kicked!  (Can you believe that actually happens?)

Despite occasional bad behavior, nurses love helping their patients.  And they’re inspired by their resiliency!  According to Nurse Jennifer, “we are impressed by their ability to push forward and find joy in their lives after suffering so much.”

I asked Nurse Cathy what we patients and family members can do to express our appreciation to nurses.  She said, “Pizza and cookies are always welcome but a letter to the nurse’s boss is EVERYTHING!!”  (You can ask for the name of the Nurse Manager or contact the Patient Services Department.)

I’ve got a few medical appointments coming soon and I’ll be sure to express my gratitude to the nurses I encounter.  I encourage you to do the same. Let’s make it a Nurse Appreciation Year because one day is just not enough.