It was a long day at work. Thirteen hours later, my apartment remained just as I’d left it. I placed my empty water bottle and coffee cup on the table and sat down for a moment. A quick scroll through my emails and social media quickly overwhelmed me with news and opinions about the new healthcare bill. Pros, cons, and mostly anger.
I searched for an unbiased report and skimmed a couple articles. So many opinions. So many numbers. So much money. So much talk.
Votes. Parties. Critics. Supporters. Right. Wrong. Pushing. Blocking. Winning, but someone always losing.
It made my head swirl. As I read, I thought of different people I knew who would be affected—and how they would be affected. I thought of friends and family and patients. There was no perfect win-win situation.
“To hell with politics!” I finally said aloud as I tossed my phone down and stood up to head for the shower.
When I walked into the bathroom, the sight in the mirror made me smile and then shake my head. My hair was flying in a hundred directions due to repeatedly donning isolation gowns and an N95, a special mask for airborne diseases. I was a mess!
As I pulled my hair out of a ponytail, I thought again of all the politics surrounding healthcare. I looked again at my reflection in the mirror. I was a mess, but it didn’t matter. I care about healthcare laws, but I care more about people. Isn’t this where my mind had naturally wandered when I read these articles, to real live people and how they would fare with these changes?
Today is National Nurses Day. This is what nurses are about: people.
We care about people. We care about people with no insurance and people with insurance, people receiving Medicaid or Medicare and people paying out of pocket. We care about people who are black, white, green, and blue. We care about people who are Democrats and Republicans and everything in between. We care about people who are born in our country and those who came here later in life. We care about people when they take their first breath and when they take their last. Short, tall, heavy, light; two legs, once leg, no legs, five legs! We care about people.
Because we care about people, we care for people when they are sick. This is what sets nurses apart.
In order to care for people, we set our differences aside and form a team (a family, really) that will do whatever it takes to help people recover: dress wounds, give medications, wipe bottoms, start IVs, perform CPR, call doctors, answer phones, and so much more.
Certainly, we have strong political beliefs and opinions, and we know money is a factor. But if we were called today and told, “A disaster has struck and you will not be paid, but people are dying,” our hospitals would be overflowing with help. With nurses.
As nurses, we care about you! Truly, nursing is an amazing profession. Each nurse makes dozens of sacrifices each shift to care for our patients and for each other. It's quite normal to sacrifice our comfort, our lunch (half) hour, holidays with family, and even our bladders' urges to pee. We do not do what we do for attention or applause (we often encounter more poop than thank-you’s), but we do appreciate knowing others care about us, too!
To all my nursing friends, thank you. You are brilliant, humble humans. Even though I hope I never have to care for you in the hospital, I care about you!
This National Nurses Week (May 6-12), we invite you to celebrate nurses with us! Take time to thank a nurse or tell them how much you appreciate what they do.
However, regardless of whether or not you appreciate a nurse this week, we still care about you. We will still care for you. It’s who we are as nurses. It’s what we’re about.
Happy National Nurses Day & Nurses Week, friends!