Nurses are the unsung heroes of the healthcare system. The doctors are the heroes who help those who need it: the patients. In this narrative, much like in reality, the nurses are forgotten. Now let’s not take anything from doctors. They go through a lot to become who they are and their job is arguably the most difficult in the world. Nurses, however, are essential to the healthcare system and a hospital without nurses would quite simply collapse. Patients usually thank doctors for everything they do, but nurses are seldom thanked. It’s not just patients who should learn to thank nurses along with doctors, but doctors should be thanking nurses too. They have so many tasks and they work in silence that sometime’s it can be easy to forget they’re there. Doctors and administrators unintentionally take nurses for granted.
A nurse is essential to a medical setting. They do a lot for doctors as well as patients. For junior doctors who are just starting they can be valuable teachers during the first few months. For senior doctors they can be the link between them and the patient. When it comes to patients they have numerous tasks. They administer treatment, monitor patients closely, and sometimes communicate with patients and their loved ones. Despite all of their work and value they work without receiving a thank you and that should start changing.
A junior doctor who’s only starting his or her career at a hospital still has plenty to learn. The knowledge can be acquired from books, but who will teach them the skills? A good senior resident or attending will do that, or one who isn’t overloaded with work. What if a resident doesn’t have time? Should a junior doctor not learn? Nurses can take over by showing them simple techniques such as how to insert a catheter or start an IV line. They can also check to make sure that they did those things correctly. That’s why junior doctors owe nurses a lot. A hospital can be a scary place for someone just getting into the world of medicine. Nurses make it a little friendlier through their attitude and care.
Senior doctors have their own personality and habits. Some senior doctors answer pages right away while others take a while. Some doctors communicate with a patient and his or her family constantly while another only does so when there’s a clear reason for it. Nurses understand how each doctor functions. They know the personalities of attendings and their expected reactions to certain situations. It’s by knowing this that nurses make life easier for everyone especially patients. If a doctor takes time to respond to a page then a nurse may page him or her sooner than needed or find an alternative until they show up depending on the situation. If a patient has a question but the responsible doctor isn’t one who communicates a lot then a nurse will tell the doctor that the patient has something to ask. The nurse might even do the asking. They connect the hospital or office and make things tick.
One of their major responsibilities is giving treatment. This isn’t just oral treatment which is easy to do, but also all sorts of necessary injections. They know which ones need to be administered slowly and the rate of an IV drip. This allows doctors to focus on other tasks and not have to think about all that. They rest assured knowing that someone they trust can do the job. If nurses didn’t exist then doctors would barely get anything done having to administer treatment to patients in a ward keeping in mind that not all drugs are administered at the same time and each patient will be on a different combination of drugs. If a doctor wants a drug to be administered differently than usual for instance in a different dose or method then he or she will instruct the nurse and the nurse will follow orders with ease knowing what to do.
Another major and incredibly important task that nurses do is monitor patients. They’re the ones constantly present and will keep an eye on patients’ monitors. They’ll also be spending more time with patients so they’ll know if a patient is complaining of something and whether or not they can handle it themselves if it doesn’t require the intervention of a doctor. This is one of their most important and essential jobs. If they’re not around, who else would do it? At least one doctor would have to be present in the room at all times to make sure a patient is doing okay. Patients are already there giving prescribed treatments and monitoring patients and vitals. Nurses are usually the ones who page doctors when a patient arrests and their fast response can save a patient’s life.
Nurses can sometimes teach patients essential knowledge as well. For instance a diabetic patient who needs to administer insulin will need to know how to do it. They’ll also need to learn how to monitor their blood glucose level using a device at home. Nurses can teach patients how to do these things. A doctor may not, or may do it rapidly so that the patient is left with some questions. So it’s up to the nurse to do that and it doesn’t take much time. In an office setting a doctor who sees plenty of patients may not have time to teach all of them how to use certain medical devices at home or how to give themselves insulin shots. So a doctor who has a nurse in the office may make it part of their job description to take care of that. After a session with a patient is done a doctor may tell the patient to check with the nurse before leaving that they know how to monitor their own blood glucose. This will save a physician time and allow him or her to see more patients during a day.
Nurses like we said spend more time with patients than doctors. That’s why they usually get to know patients better on a personal level and patients feel comfortable asking them any number of questions. A patient may have a trivial question that they may think isn’t worth asking the doctor about. They may feel some minor pain and not know if this is normal or not while admitted in a hospital so they’ll ask a nurse about it. If the nurse is experienced enough then he or she may answer that yes, it’s normal, or if they know it’s not normal they’ll page a doctor to come check it out. Nurses also lift the spirits of admitted patients by talking and joking with them. After all a hospital can be a very lonely place. A moral boost like that can make all the difference in the world for a patient and give them that push to get better. Nurses will also know if a patient is worried or having doubts about a certain procedure and will calm them down accordingly or page a doctor if it’s necessary.
Nurses are one of the foundations of medicine in the entire world. A country cannot have a healthcare system without functioning and qualified nurses. Yes doctors can administer treatment and monitor patients, but to do that along with their other tasks would be almost impossible. Nurses talk to patients and know how they’re feeling by being their friends, they administer treatment correctly and according to the correct schedule and dosage, and they monitor patients constantly keeping an eye on their monitors. If you really want to know how essential nurses are then try to picture a hospital without them. For all of these reasons and for making everyone’s life easier, nurses deserve a huge thank you from both patients and doctors.