I have many years of inpatient and outpatient nursing in multiple specialties. One of the lessons learned from this experience is that it is a privilege to take care of people in their most vulnerable and challenging times.
Countless times I have witnessed my colleagues going above and beyond to help their patients feel better both physically and psychologically.
Amidst the abundant media coverage concerning the nursing shortage, nurse burnout, and the critical condition of healthcare, it is crucial to acknowledge the significant number of dedicated nurses who continue to provide care at the frontline.
During Nurse’s Month, I want to highlight a few nurse/patient stories that emphasize why supporting nurses is crucial to healthcare. The following accounts are true, from nurses who are currently practicing:
“We had an oncology kiddo…lymphoma I believe, who was 10 months old. She had an older sister who was three. She was on the oncology floor for ages and was then moved to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) when she got very sick. She was there with us for several months. The family was phenomenal which seems typical in these cases.
They finally ran out of options for treatment. We really wanted to give the family time together (especially with the three-year-old) but she didn’t qualify for Make-a-Wish. They have rules about how old you need to be and what level of care you require.
The family really wanted to go to the zoo. So, after A LOT of phone calls with the zoo/ child life/etc. …Two nurses came in on their days off and went with the whole family for the day. She had several medication pumps/drips they had to change and lock, they had a wagon of pumps and safety equipment attached to her, it was a HUGE amount of work but they made it happen and family got the spend the whole day there!”
“There was a patient that was with us over Christmas who had no family. I happened to be his nurse at that time, and he and I decorated his room to look like a Christmas wonderland. We used the green oxygen tubing and hung it from the ceiling then made white snowflakes and attached them to the tubing. It was magical, and he said it was the best Christmas he ever had.”
“One of my favorite patients, who I have known since she was 10, is now 16, and has been in and out of the hospital these six years. She has been with us for many of her birthdays and holidays, we have given her some jobs on a unit at times, like stocking. She gets to earn ‘Money’ that she continues to ‘buy’ things from a store that we have created for her. Over Christmas, several of us, when we had time, took her down to the staff entrance during the day to sing Christmas carols to all the staff coming into work.”
These nurse/patient stories serve as a powerful reminder of the compassion and dedication exhibited by nurses in their everyday practice. Despite the challenges in the healthcare system and the ongoing nursing shortage, these accounts highlight the profound impact nurses have on the lives of their patients. From going above and beyond to create joyful experiences during difficult times, to providing emotional support and personalized care, these nurses exemplify the essence of their profession.
It is crucial to recognize and support nurses to maintain the quality and humanity of healthcare. During Nurse's Month and beyond, let us celebrate and appreciate these extraordinary individuals who make a difference in the lives of others.
Thank you Nurses!