Sep 23, 2016

You’re just the nurse. How important could you be?

I spent an entire year of my life defending the intelligence of the nursing profession. The number of people that actually believe we are the sexual, skirt-wearing, coffee-getting, space-takers you see in the media and at Halloween parties is saddening. During my year as Miss Colorado 2015, I met hundreds of incredible nurses. But I also met hundreds of people who have no idea what we do and how educated we are. There are people out there who truly think all we do is take orders, hand pens, wipe butts, and sometimes take a vital sign or two.

Let’s clear this up right now. I’ll make it simple:

To start, the nursing profession is not solely female. We have more than 330,000 males in nursing.

The nursing profession contains many levels of education with varying scopes of practice and licenses. There are Vocational Nurses, Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners with Master’s degrees, and Registered Nurses/Nurse Practitioners with Doctoral and PhD degrees.

In some states, nurses with a Master’s degree or higher, can practice independently. In all states they can diagnose clients, order exams, review diagnostics, prescribe medication, and treat you. Yes, by themselves.

Not all nurses work in hospitals. You need us in your homes, nursing facilities, rehab facilities, outpatient facilities, courtrooms, morgues, ambulances, helicopters, and clinics, too.

Registered Nurses are at the forefront of healthcare. We utilize critical thinking to make clinical judgments about the well-being of our patients and, in some instances, can independently treat according to policy.

Yes, many nurses operate off of the orders written by Medical Doctors. In order to so, nurses must know pharmacology and how to administer the medications that could kill you, evaluate and assess a patient with ANY diagnosis of EVERY age, understand all anatomical systems and what could go wrong with them, and know how to communicate all of the above medically, electronically, and simplified.

We spend hours with patients and take total care of them throughout our shift. We CARE about each and every one of them. We hurt with you, we laugh with you, we cry with you, we celebrate with you. We know your families, we know your children, we know and try to remember everything you share with us. We pray for you. We don’t stop thinking about how you’re doing just because our shift ends.

We (along with most service providers, first responders, firefighters and policemen) miss holidays, time with our families, bathroom breaks, lunches, and important life events to serve you.

We know and perform life saving measures…. All. The. Time.

We are vital to the healthcare team. It simply would not work without us. It wouldn’t work without the rest of the team, either. We are all necessary. We are all needed. We are all important.

Nurses are highly educated healthcare professionals who are absolutely essential to safe and effective patient care.

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