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Tell Us About Your Experiences As a Nurse

Illustration for article titled Tell Us About Your Experiences As a Nurse

When the ladies of The View ran afoul of the nursing profession back in September, the sheer force of the backlash that ensued seemed to catch people by surprise. Unless, of course, you actually know any nurses and understand what they do all day—or through the long, lonely hours of the night, for that matter.

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It’s a physically demanding profession, involving long hours on one’s feet and, in many cases, shifting immobile patients. It often requires quick thinking and a level head in literal life-or-death crises that would freeze most of us in our tracks. Not to mention that it can be downright emotionally grueling, the sort of gig where you evaluate a good day based—quite literally—on whether anybody died. You face people at their most frail, their most vulnerable, their most stressed.

And all too often, it’s thankless. For instance, nurses provide so much of the hands-on care at any hospital, but often people defer to doctors—who’re more powerful in the hospital hierarchy and generally not famous for their humility. I would be remiss if I did not note that the fact that nursing is a field dominated by women, all the frustrations and challenges that entails. Plus there’s the creepy, lingering tendency to fetishize nurses. If you know any nurses, the perpetual nursing shortage isn’t a surprise.

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Are you a nurse? We want to hear about it. RN or LPN, tell us about it. If you’re not comfortable leaving a comment, feel free to email, and we’d be happy to publish your story anonymously. (Just be careful with any identifying details and patient information, of course.) What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job? What do you wish patients, doctors, hospitals, and the general public understood better? What keeps you going?

We’ll select some of the most striking submissions—again, email or comments, whatever works for you—and publish them in follow-up posts.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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DISCUSSION

I am a female physician. I did my residency in the 1990s and I remember the nurses as a godsend. We had to run the ER as residents when we were one year out of medical school. It was a busy urban ER and drug overdoses and end stage HIV (it was during the height of the epidemic and there was no great treatment) as well as the usual heart attacks, diabetic complications etc... were always coming in fast and furiously.

One older nurse came up to me and said.. “he smells like he is in renal failure”.. Sure enough, the patient didn’t know and no physicians knew.. but this nurse knew. The labs came back and his creatinine was 10.0. There were those residents who had to learn everything for themselves and ignored the nurses because they felt that a nurse opinion, no matter how experienced the person was, was not worth paying attention to. I disagreed. Life was easier when I listened to the nurses.