No Substitute For A Good Nurse

We had a great shift today. The patients were difficult, the consultants were slow to answer, and the hospital was full, again. But, the shift was smooth and I was able to navigate the waters of emergency medicine without difficulty. Why? Great nursing.

Our patients had needs, many of them. Difficult access, multiple meds, redraws of various tests for the admitting teams, complex discharges with the need for multiple conditions to be met. Despite that, how many times did I have to go find a nurse to do something I had ordered? None. How many times did I have to track down a nurse for another set of vital signs ? None. Meds were given and labs were drawn, on time. My nurses even made me aware of completed CT reports ! They told me about critical patients before they arrived and reminded me when they got to a room. They tracked down techs and even helped with social work. And through it all, I heard not a single complaint. In fact, each time I asked “who has room x ?” The response was either a quick “I do” or “It isn’t me but how can I help?”

As the line of nurses leaving bedside care to peruse advanced degrees grows, I think it is important to highlight the significant impact that good bedside nursing care makes on patients, physicians, and all of us in the healthcare system. There is honor, respect, and skill in administering good nursing care. Patients know it and physicians appreciate it. There is nothing like a good nurse.

Having spent a significant amount of time recently in the hospital with family, I experienced first hand what a good nurse can bring to a patient’s experience. And today, I was reminded just how much I take for granted excellent nursing care.

So, to all the nurses I worked alongside in the emergency department today, thank you. For your patience, persistence, advocacy, and assistance, thank you. An army of techs, scribes, and administrators could not do what you do.  Know that you are appreciated. We need more nurses like you at the front lines of care.

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