Breakfast with a new friend, lunch with an old pal, followed by dinner and a movie with a very dear and close friend – That’s how I spent my day! I drove home refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated after a full day enjoying time with some of my favorite folks! (I drove home full too!) And I did so, while reflecting on how blessed I am to have the friends that I do! Another close one is home today recovering from an extensive surgery. I thanked God for her healing as I drove past her house, and pulled in my driveway. “God is good,” I said aloud as I walked into my home. “He’s really, really good!”
But how quickly I was reminded as I nestled into my favorite divot in the couch and turned on the news, that this world is – Well, it’s just not so good now, is it?
And the top story that was airing just as I’d gotten comfortable? A story about a man who was awarded $500,000 for some inappropriate comments made by an anesthesiologist and some nurses that were apparently said while he was undergoing anesthesia for a colonoscopy.
Really? Seriously? Have we run out of more important (or even more entertaining?) stories to tell these days?
Isn’t there ANYTHING good to report? Even for a short minute or two?
And around the table on the news began a tirade from the panel of journalists and news anchors of insults to nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals. The more I listened to them degrade our profession and make assumptions about what we do, the angrier I became. They were hell-bent on focusing on one person’s inappropriate remarks, and then attributing that unprofessionalism to every physician and nurse in the country.
And I couldn’t help but think of so many of the precious, tender moments spent side-by-side with my colleagues at work that have been shared behind curtains while caring for our patients.
A month or so ago, every news story focused on cops! Every local and national television news station has found every negative story about police officers they could get their hands on, and discredited the entire law enforcement profession. And now, it looks as though they are going to attempt to do the same to physicians and nurses.
Well, I guess I’ll just do a little news reporting myself tonight! Because, not only am I a registered nurse, who happens to work alongside some other AMAZING registered nurses, I also work closely with some pretty INCREDIBLE physicians as well. In fact, I spend my days with a variety of healthcare professionals and social workers who are dedicated, hard-working, trustworthy, and selfless people.
I’d like to share with you some of the “inappropriate” behavior I have witnessed from some of those incredible colleagues of mine – those memories that came quickly to the front of my mind as each of the news anchors cracked a physician or nurse joke and talked about our “unprofessionalism!”
Just last week, I dialyzed a patient with bright pink toes. “Your toes look so pretty!” I told her, trying to cheer her up. “The NURSE on the night shift did that last week! Wasn’t that kind?” her sister said.
Oh, and I work with a physician who every single day before going home, would for weeks stop and play catch inside of a Down Syndrome boy’s room. That doctor had a family to go home to, but he sacrificed some time with them each day, just to make that little boy happy despite his illness. (And no, I DON’T think his wife minded. In fact, that heart of his is probably only one of the reasons she married him!)
One gal I know bought a Christmas tree and took up a collection for gifts for a young girl who would spend her final Christmas in the ICU before passing away. She also rounded up a few others to help rearrange the furniture in the room so that the patient could face out the window to watch the sun rise and the snow fall.
And then, there are those physicians’ faces that come to mind, who are always ready and willing to jump in and help us turn very heavy patients, or even clean them up.
I remember one physician who got on her knees, eye-to-eye with a woman who was distraught and in tears over her husband’s imminent death. “How many years have you been married?” she asked, as she held her hand.
Another registered nurse drove 100 miles round trip to pick up a BIPAP machine for a patient who had no one to go and get it. (Oh, and he had to be back to work the next day for another 12-hour shift, too).
Then there is the home care nurse who, anonymously sent an envelope with cash in it to a man who didn’t have enough money to EAT! And that physician who walked down to the cafeteria to get dinner for a patient who had not ordered on time for a meal to arrive before the following morning. He said he couldn’t go home and eat dinner knowing that his patient wouldn’t be able to do the same, just because he hadn’t made a call on time.
MANY nurses call on their days off to check in and see how their patients are doing, and to have someone let them know they are thinking about them! One nurse I used to work alongside once purchased every hand print kit at the craft store so that all of us would be able to provide the hand print of a loved one to the family members suffering their loss.
I have hundreds of stories of amazing nurses and physicians’ selfless, kind acts of compassion, and when I run out of breath from telling them, there are countless nurses and physicians who can, no doubt, come alongside me, who I am sure will be more than willing to jump in and share THEIR stories of selfless, sweet moments spent with those we care for.
You cannot take the inappropriateness of a couple of people and make assumptions about the rest of us. You really have no clue of the enormous compassion that is shared behind each patient’s curtain.
So please, stop reporting that we are all unprofessional and inappropriate losers, and look no further for some GOOD stories. We got em’ and we’ll happen to tell em’!