Whether it’s a simple doctor’s appointment, a visit to the school health clinic, or a longer stay at a hospital, everyone has had countless interactions with nurses. But despite their presence in people’s everyday lives, there is a lot that nurses’ patients don’t understand about the profession. Here are five things the nurses in your life want you to know.
Nurses are the Beating Heart of Hospitals
While doctors and surgeons are often framed as the heroes of healthcare in TV shows and movies, a majority of patient care is handled by nurses. This isn’t to say that physicians aren’t important, but nurses are essentially the beating heart of hospitals.
For example, when a patient comes in for an operation, the procedure may last hours, but nurses are the ones responsible for providing follow-up care for days, weeks, or months as the patient recovers. A nurse’s care can make or break patient outcomes, from the rate at which a patient will recover, to the quality of life a patient will experience post-operation
There are More Nurses Than Doctors
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing constitutes the largest number of American health care professionals, with the current number of registered nurses being more than four times the number of practicing physicians. Nurses are a vital component of any healthcare facility. Research has shown that hospitals that promote better nursing environments with above-average staffing ratios experience lower patient mortality, particularly for patients who are considered “high-risk.”
Nurses Work Long Shifts – Really Long Shifts
Because patients in hospitals need round-the-clock care, nurses usually work in shifts, covering all 24 hours. These shifts generally last 10 to 12 hours. Much of nurses’ time is spent on their feet, and breaks for eating, getting water and going to the bathroom are limited. If you happen to catch them sitting at a computer, they’re probably busy charting patient information. Basically, nurses are non-stop. Before you judge a nurse for not being as chipper as usual, consider the fact that he or she might be on the last hours of a shift or just having an off day.
Trust Your Nurse
A lot of the procedures nurses perform can be unpleasant for patients (and sometimes the nurse as well). Nonetheless, they aren’t trying to torture you. Every process is a necessary step in helping you get better.
It’s also important to be honest with the nurses who are treating you. Chances are, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may be for you, they’ve seen it before. Telling the truth about how you’re feeling, concerns you have, etc. will make their job easier. Trust nurses. They are there to help you.
Nurses Really Do Care
As challenging as the nursing profession can be, nurses really do love their jobs, and they really do care about their patients. Be kind, say thank you, and show nurses that you appreciate all that they do for you. It means more to them than you may think.
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