What are Nurses’ Really Thinking?

Nurses may always seem really nice to patients, but they are people too. They can get tired and emotional at times. There were days when they wanted to tell their patients some things, but they just couldn’t.

1. You might think we don’t care, but we always do

Nurses do a lot of things, and they may be rushing about the ward or flustered. Because nurses care about their patients, the first thing to slip is awareness of how nurses appear to others. Nurses have other, more important, things to think about – like keeping people alive!

2. That said, we don’t want you here

In the nicest possible way, nurses wish that people were at home, where they belong. Hospitals are rubbish places to be, but sometimes nurses need them and they’re the best place for them. However, home is usually more pleasant, so nurses are going to do everything they can to make their patients feel better so that people don’t need to be in the hospital anymore. Not to mention, of course, the fact that nurses want their patients to feel better.

3. We cry at home for you

Sometimes the stress of taking care of patients while they are very critically ill is not only mentally, but also physically exhausting. Nurses spend twelve hours at a time running around to get all of the supplies they need for various tests, procedures, medications, and therapies, but really wish they could spend more time just holding hands of their patients.

4. We are happy to be your shoulder to cry on, but not your punching bag

Nurses prioritize their jobs according to need. They understand patients are in terrible pain, and the last thing they want is to make them wait for medicine and relief. But what the patients don’t know is that when the patients pressed the call bell a few minutes ago, they were actually elbowed deep in helping the bedridden patient who just soiled himself. Nurses can’t always guess when people are going to need us and how much, so we have to think on our feet.

5. We sacrifice for you

Nurses hold their bladders for hours at times during nursing notes to make sure the charting of their patients is an accurate record of proper care. They skip lunch breaks to make sure that their patients’ IV tubing is freshly changed so that it won’t cause any bloodstream infection.

6. We believe you

It’s in human nature to judge those around us, but nurses have to train themselves out of it. Nurses might not give their patients the painkillers they need. Nurses know that pain is subjective, so, please, patients have to be honest with them when they ask you how you are, or for information about life. It may not seem relevant, but nurses don’t ask questions to be nosy, and not telling them things could impact their ability to help patients get better.

7. We don’t want to hurt you or make you uncomfortable

Nurses know taking blood for a test is painful, that blood pressure cuffs are uncomfortably tight, and that patients don’t want to wake up every four hours so nurses can test their vital signs. Nurses know how to protect their patients and practice, and patients must understand that if nurses didn’t have to, they wouldn’t!

8. Always ask the most obvious question

A nurse isn’t just the doctor’s lackey – they should know why each thing is being done, what’s good (and maybe bad) about it, and what the effects of not doing it could be. Patients must ask nurses any questions – because they won’t be the only person to ever want to know.

9. We love you

Yes, nurses love the patient and their families. Patients might be a royal pain to nurses sometimes, but when they get to be the ones who take care of patients during their hardest times, they do it out of pure love. No amount of money could make this heartbreaking work worth it, but the satisfaction nurses get from watching their patients walk out the door healthy and happy on discharge day makes them feel like winning the lottery. And that’s the push nurses make it through their shift each day.

Nurses are amazing. They care when others don’t. They work hard, without a break. Nurses deal with extreme stress, they hide their emotions, and they’re annoyed when patients don’t listen, or when they have to deal with lazy colleagues or doctors. As a result, they’ve seen it all. But despite all the stresses, nurses still love what they do.

“Nurses encompasses an art, a humanistic orientation, a feeling for the value of the individual, and an intuitive sense of ethics, and of the appropriateness of action taken.” –Myrtle Aydelotte

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