Nurse, Etc.

Inspired by another article on facebook from a nurse Shelby Marie. I have felt the pressures to fill other professionals shoes. Or at least have been on the recieving end of when a patient is upset wiht another subspeciality. But who is bedside 12+ hours a day? Who is often the messenger? Who is the one paging? Filling holes? Researching answers to questions that may or may not be within our scope?

Bedside nurses.

Bedside nurses are not Social Workers
Bedside nurses are not Care Coordinators.
Bedside nurses are not Housekeepers.
Bedside nurses are not Dining Services.
Bedside nurses are not Administrators.
Bedside nurses are not Secretaries.
Bedside nurses are not Physical Therapists.
Bedside nurses are not Mechanics.
Bedside nurses are not Medical Doctors. 

Hard to believe, but we can’t just give you the medication because ‘you take it at home’. We need a doctor order and a pharmacist to verify it. We can’t just order you up some food even though the doctor said you can eat. We need a doctor order and the kitchen to make and deliver it in about 45 minutes. We can’t just discharge you. We need case management, transport, and the receiving facility on board.

And guess what. We also have 2-4 other patients. Who, YOU GUESSED IT, all have similar demands/questions/medications/family situations. We do our best. We try to check all the boxes, cross our Ts, dot our Is, and somehow manage to eat and pee at least once a shift.

Not only do we have to do it all. We have to chart it all. Because if it wasn’t documented, it didn’t happen. Meds, turns, intake, output. Notes for when patients come and go, become combative, or code. Chances are every time you go into a patient room, you’ve done something chartable. (Thank goodness for back charting, am I right?)

When a patient calls out that they “need their nurse right now”, that can mean a variety of things. Are you bleeding out? Having shortness of breath? Have you fallen and can’t get up? Or do you just need a blanket? Need a water refill? Want the TV channel changed? Believe it or not, not all of these tasks require a bachelors degree in nursing to respond to. But we often oblige.

I will continue to show up, as a nurse, and do what I can for my patients. But for each day I show up, I count on my fellow professionals to do the same. Because we sure couldn’t do this without each other.

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