I read a blog yesterday that made me want to say I am not Just a Nurse. In fact that was the title of it. SO I thought I would do my own blog about my career, what I think about being Just a Nurse.
I have been a nurse for 17 years. Most of which I have spent as a oncology or cancer nurse. So here goes!
Being a nurse is being someone who spends holidays and weekends while most other people are spending time with their families I have been with patients. Patients who needed me. What did they need me for you may ask. Well, they needed me to stand by their sides after the doctor gave them the news that their cancer was terminal. The treatments and medicines that were making them feel sick and taking all their energy did not work. They needed me to help their families now that they were tired of fighting this hard fight and stand beside them when they told them. They needed me to explain the new chemo or medication in English because the doctor told them this was the only way and they did not understand what he or she was saying. They needed me to make sure they were taken care of after that surgery make sure they got better enough to spend the next holiday with their family, because it may be the last time. They needed me to change the dressing on the wound from the surgery, pack it with gauze because it would not heal on its own so it was re-opened and needed to be packed and cleaned twice a day for how ever long it takes to heal. They needed me to clear their airway that was made in their neck, called a trach, because they could not breath without it and it fills up with mucous often they can not do it them selves and neither could their families. They needed me to be the one who took care of them while they had to lay flat for three days because radiation pellets and the apparatus to hold them were inserted into their body. They needed me to administer the chemo therapy that would kill the cancer and make sure it did not kill them in the process. They needed me to follow all the blood test and x-ray, CT and MRI reports and explain in English to them and alert the doctor when they needed more attention.
I am not by any way downgrading what doctors do; but their work is different from mine. Mine is to know how a patient feels and responds to a treatment. To report the side effects, symptoms and know how to take care of them and when to let the doctor know. Which medication to give to help them feel better and stop it. Mine is to sit by the bedside and hold the hand of the patient who has fought the hard fight and now could not fight any more. Mine is to help them stay as comfortable as I possibly can until their last breath.
I am an advocate for the patient. I am a compassionate ear. I am a healing touch. I am a NURSE, not just a nurse I am THE NURSE!