The Nurse Always Takes The Hit

A nurse taking a breath after a long shift.

“The nurse always takes the hit!  Why?  Well, because we’re there to take the hit,” this is what someone recently told me. What a sad sentence.  Sometimes people think the nurse can do it all and should do it all.  in fact, the nurse cannot do enough. Waiting hand and toes for the patient, that’s what we are supposed to be all about…  We give all.  Well, sometimes even denying our own basic necessities and urges (What bathroom break?) to be there when the sick calls.

And when we cannot run to the rhythm of everyone’s call light as quickly as we are beckoned, the basic perception is that the nurse is somewhere in the hallways pulling buggers out of her nose and/or socializing.  To put this preconceived nonsense notion to rest, all you have to do is peak your eyeballs out the doorway and you will see that (except when the cripple doctors are nearby) we are not standing still and being idle, but are mostly on skates or running to and fro carrying out orders from…well…almost everyone (clients, family, doctors, etc).  We also have to be an advocate the client by dealing with the headache idiosyncrasies of pharmacy, lab, management, and ER.

Atropine. A nurse can use some afer a long shift.

This is why I work the ICU where most clients cannot talk (tubes everywhere) and you can find an excuse not to deal with…management (Not now.  I am too busy caring for my patients!) sometimes.  Even though many clients are too sick to press that call light, their families oftentimes are the cause of a nurse loosing her hair and wearing that noxious wig or weave.  Alopecia anyone?  Okay, just kidding.  Working the ICU has always challenged me in the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions.  Besides, running the long hallways on a ward can exhaust a girl more than keeping “an eye on” or caring for a confused or delirious patient sick patient.

People need to know the reality of things which sometimes hurts.  If a nurse cannot talk to you for a long period of time, let’s say–two minutes, without getting short of breath, she is busy!  Keep it simple, and brief.  There are many other people who may have a bit more time to hold your hands and listen to your concerns about your cat, dear family, like….a Social Workers or Physical Therapist.  Not saying that these folks are not busy too, but they are part of the multidisciplinary team and…well, can make good listeners too.

Carrying the load :)

OYE!  I was recently health-coaching a client whom I encourage almost on a daily basis to get in shape and be accountable for her health.  The client, although somewhat receptive to my coaching tells me today, “I forgot to take my blood pressure medicines this morning.  Why didn’t you remind me?”  Yes indeed, no matter where you are and what you are doing, somehow the nurse always takes the hit.  This reminds me, running isn’t easy for many, especially long-distance running.  A running nurse takes a hit from the sun, weather, and the road.  You have to develop many good qualities to succeed and stick with your process.  To begin with, here is a list:

  • Discipline–a system of rule of conduct that governs your decision to run
  • Courage– the ability to run even in the face of challenges
  • Consistency– holding it together without deviating. Sticking to it.
  • Connection– being around people who are also involved in the activity as you do.  These become your support system as well.

Nurses Care!

In the end, these same qualities are what helps to keep that nurse at a client’s bedside in hospitals.  These same principles helped me run six miles today.  Listen, we have learned to take the hit, bear many problems, attend to a client’s needs, and for the most part, we mean well and do our jobs to the best of our abilities.  We don’t necessarily enjoy running up and down a  hallway, but we get a sense of deep satisfaction from…just caring.  This we do very  well.  Not let’s take care of ourselves!