Friday, May 11, 2012

Tomorrow is International Nurses Day

Tomorrow, May 12, is International Nurses Day. A few years ago, it became a week of celebrating and appreciating nurses. I wrote about this two years ago, National Nurses Week is Coming Up and I didn't get much of a response. The funny thing is, I didn't think I would.

It seems to me, that unless you have spent a good bit of time in a hospital, it's hard to appreciate what a nurse really does. Just a few days ago, I wrote about five fictional nurses and, sadly, these fictional characters can be what people think nurses are really like.

In 2007, I wrote a post What do nurses really do? It still gets many hits, but I don't know who is reading it. Am I getting the message across? Or am I preaching to the choir when people find the post through Google?

Some people have told me that I have abandoned nursing by going into writing. Have I? Although I no longer work in a clinical situation, I still consider myself to be a nurse. Every year, for the past several years, I've worked at a major world-wide organization based in Montreal, filling in as the occupational nurse while the full time one goes on vacation. One year, it was for five weeks straight. And although I did enjoy the challenge of that type of nursing, I love writing and I'm good at it.

My nursing background is what gives me the knowledge behind my writing. I can feel confident with what I've shared because I have either experienced the situations or I have researched them and I know what to look for.

For sure, there are bad nurses in the profession, just like there are SOME bad teachers, bad computer repair folks, bad store clerks, bad bank tellers.... There are people in every profession who shouldn't be there, but they aren't the norm. There have been times when I've encountered less than stellar nursing care on a ward or unit, where there seemed to be several nurses who shouldn't be there. Again though, this isn't indicative of all of us. In my opinion - and it has been borne out by observation and experience - if there are several bad nurses in one area, one often only has to look at the management that allows the behaviour to continue.

Nurses can come in many forms, from the ones who help deliver a baby to those who help you as your life ends. We are in the schools (This Isn't Your Mother's School Nurse) and in the community. We are your parents, your siblings, your children, your friends. We are everywhere. But we're not always appreciated for what we have to offer.

What is the best way to thank a nurse who has touched you? While the gifts of candy and flowers are always appreciated, the best way to thank a nurse is by letting him or her know how you've been touched and by letting his or her superiors know what a good job has been done. We can be so quick to criticize and to climb the ladder when things go wrong, but it takes just a few moments to praise and to climb that ladder with thanks and kudos. You wouldn't believe the difference it makes.


Unknown said...

Aside from the surgeon who saved his life, my BF remembers most the nurses who cared for him while he was in the hospital. There were some stand-outs. I'm not sure what he did the thank them, but it would have been nice if he'd sent a card or something. I'm sure they would have appreciated it. What do hospitals generally do to celebrate this day?

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Hi Jackie. Different facilities do different things. Some may have a day or a week where different types of treats are available, such as a meal, a massage, things like that. Others merely give it lip service, maybe give a pen or something.

Honestly, I've never worked at a place that did very much for the nurses other than maybe a token note sent to each unit.