I got the most recent Readers Digest yesterday, and the cover story is "50 Things Your Nurse Won't Tell You". I'm sure I can't re-write the story here, but it was actually pretty accurate. So since no one from Readers Digest called to get my take on the subject, I thought I'd share my secrets with you.
1. Yes, this shot IS going to hurt. I'm going to jab you with a sharp metal object, what do YOU think? (Sorry, DH. I had to use it! *hee hee*)
2. When you go to the ER, your nurse might very well be thinking " Hi, I'm your nurse. What stupid fucking thing did YOU do to yourself today?"
3. When you push your call bell and the person who answers asks what you need, they're NOT trying to get into your business. They're just trying to find out who is the best person to send in to help you. You don't necessarily need the nurse to pour you some water or get you a snack.
4. Speaking of snacks...this is a HOSPITAL. Not Denny's or your local Holiday Inn. It's not our job to feed your family or find accommodations for your husband and two kids. THEY need to go home, and YOU need to get better.
5. And by the way, no it's NOT appropriate to have your girlfriend stay the night with you in YOUR bed. *eewwww* (if you're feeling up to that, you shouldn't be in the hospital anyway!)
6. We realize that being in the hospital is scary and it's nice to have a friendly face available or to speak with the doctor with you. Sometimes that's a good idea. BUT...keep in mind that the staff still needs to work and in order to help you, we have to be able to reach you. That's why visiting hours were invented.
7. If you're a frequent visitor to your local hospital because of your liking for drugs or alcohol, we WILL take care of you. But the more often you visit for these same self-inflicted illnesses without attempting any changes in your lifestyle, the less likely we are to have any sympathy for you.
8. We know it's no fun being sick in the hospital. However, WE didn't force you to come here. If you're angry at your wife for making you come to the hospital or angry at the doctor for admitting you, PLEASE don't take it out on the staff. We just work here. However ill-advised (STUPID) it may be, you DO have the right to refuse to be admitted. If you're going to be rude and abusive, we'd just as soon you stayed home and annoyed your wife. (No offense, but this type of patient usually IS a guy)
9. If it takes longer than 5 minutes for the nurse to come to your room when you call, it's not because they're all sitting at the desk having coffee. Chances are, your nurse has 5, 6, or more other patients besides you. If there are any nurse aides, THEY probably have 10-15 patients to care for. Try to be a PATIENT patient. We're running as fast as we can!
10. Remember those magic words 'please' and 'thank you'. They'll get you a lot further when it comes time for pain medicine, fresh ice water, or a clean gown.
Seriously, though, for the most part I enjoy my job. I know everyone expects a lot these days because of the high cost of health insurance, drugs, and limited benefits. The average hospital staff, however, has no control over any of those things. We're just trying to work within the system to help you get better the best that we can. Believe me, we don't like hearing the horror stories of how hospital stays go wrong any more than you do. The LAST thing any person working in health care wants is to be involved in a situation occurs in which a person is injured or, god forbid, dies.
One last thought..."Nurses...it's our job to SAVE your ass, not KISS it!"