Recently social media has exploded with clips and comments related to Monday’s episode of The View. Naturally I had to wait until this came across my Facebook newsfeed to see such idiocy since I know better than to dumb myself down by actually watching the show. But alas, today I was subject to the comments made by Michelle Collins and Joy Behar.
Honestly I wasn’t that surprised. Even Joy Behar’s ridiculous comment about a stethoscope only being used by a doctor didn’t really shock me. It just made me sad. It made me sad that we live in a world where some people think stay-at-home moms watch soaps all day, teachers just babysit your children for you, and yes, nurses are just, well, nurses.
Ms. Colorado gave what was in my opinion a beautiful monologue touching on the basic truth that nurses are so much more than a simple title can imply, and she concluded by saying, “I’m a lifesaver. I’m never going to be just a nurse.” And it occurs to me now why she had to say this.
She had to say it for people like Michelle Collins who think the “menial task” of taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s is amusing, and especially for clueless knuckle heads like Joy Behar who actually think a stethoscope is simply for a physician. EMTs, paramedics, LPNs, CNAs, Respiratory Therapists, and all the wonderful people who make up healthcare, in addition to Registered Nurses like myself, should line up to slap her into reality.
Regardless of their ignorance on The View, nurses feel this need to justify that they are more than just a nurse. Due to people like Joy Behar, who see us as they will, we have to fight to say we are more. But I say we are enough. We are more than enough.
Yeah, I’m just a nurse. But let me tell you what that means.
I’m just a nurse, the angel of mercy who will hold your hand when you cry. After bad news is delivered I’ll be there. After the doctor leaves with their stethoscope I’ll still be wiping away your tears, hugging you, praying with you, and explaining those big, confusing words in a way that’s more understandable.
I’m just a nurse, the nurse who makes you feel human in an often unhuman-feeling environment. I’ll be the one making you feel more comfortable as I explain what all those beeps and pings mean, or bathe you with dignity when you’re far too weak to wash yourself. I’ll be the one you can discuss bodily fluids with and who wipes your bottom. I’ll put my hand in places that make you blush if that’s what you need, but I’ll do it with compassion and care. I’ll care for all the unspeakable things for you, holding back your hair as you vomit and helping you clear the sputum from your throat. I’ll do all these things because I care, not simply because I’m just a nurse, but because I’m your nurse. And you’re a human being that matters.
So yeah, I’m just a nurse, a nurse who knows how to titrate dangerous cardiac medications up and down without a physician present to keep your vital signs compatible with life. That’s the same nurse who will detect life threatening lab results and symptoms before they become a dire emergency. The same nurse who if it does become a life and death situation will perform advanced cardiac life support to bring you back to your family.
Yeah, I’m just a nurse. I’m a nurse who will fight tooth and nail to keep you alive. I’ll also help you accept your own mortality when you don’t want to fight anymore. I’ll lead you through the grieving process, and your family too. After you pass from this earth I will assist your family in the next steps, and I will approach and handle their grief with sympathy and empathy. In a way that would make you proud.
Yep, I’m definitely just a nurse, and I’m proud of it. I’m proud to hold the honorable title of nurse. I fought hard and worked even harder to obtain it. I studied like crazy, and I persevered through grueling exams and licensure boards. I still work at it. Every day I continue to advance my knowledge for my patients. I renew my certifications, participate in research and quality control, and am always on the lookout for advancement opportunities in my practice.
So women like those who spoke so erroneously and thoughtlessly on The View may assume I’m just a pill pusher, butt wiper, or perhaps even just a holder of doctors’ stethoscopes everywhere, and while I do all those things, I also do so much more.
After all, I’m just a nurse, and that title encompasses what mere words cannot even speak. Lifesaver? Advocate? Advisor? Counselor? Teacher? Pain-reliever? Friend? Yes, I’m those things too. But you can just call me a nurse. I’d like that.