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Nurses are known to be the heart of the hospital. In part that's because they bring compassion, empathy and kindness to healthcare. But, more importantly it's because nurses help keep patients alive. Without these consummate hard workers, who juggle long shifts, paperwork, big egos, and cleaning bed pans, we'd all be worse off, yet they still don't get the respect they deserve. Need more proof nurses need respect? Here are the top 5 reasons you should hug every nurse in your life whenever you get the chance:
Between delivering meals, breaking up fights in the waiting area and fielding advances from patrons, some days nursing can feel a lot like waitressing, except that can't just ask their unruly "customers" to leave. And because of privacy laws, patients have no idea what else their nurse has going on—but it's likely that they are juggling the needs (medical and otherwise) of 5-10 other patients.
When was the last time you had to lift a 400-pound person? For most people, the answer is a resounding "never." For nurses, however, that's a normal Tuesday. Ants are often lauded for being able to lift objects five times their own body weight—maybe nurses should be, too!
But they don't just lift all day long—they also mix in an incredible amount of cardio. A recent study found that nurses walk an average of 4-5 miles during a 12-hour shift.
While nurses are busy darting between hospital rooms, tending to the needs of their patients, you know who they aren't taking care of? Themselves! In a study of 400 nurses during a 28-day period, 10 percent of participants reported no opportunity to sit down or eat. Forty-three percent of the time, nurses grabbed something to eat while responding to call lights or other patient needs. For many, the only breaks they took in a day were restroom breaks—and even those happened only after patients' needs were met.
Did you know that RNs outnumber doctors nearly 3 to 1? And while doctor's quickly complete rounds to all patients, it is the nurse who spends the majority of the time with each patient, digging into their chart and asking important questions to learn more about the patient's history. This intense, one-on-one time pays off. According to recent research, patient outcomes are more closely tied to the quality of nursing care they receive while hospitalized.
A doctor's diagnosis is critical, but it is the accurate, expert information from a nurse that often informs that opinion. Nurses are the ones who are administering medication and watching a patient's vitals. If there is a sudden change in a patient's condition, it is the nurse who typically notifies the doctor. And because they are patient advocates, they are generally the one checking allergies, drug interactions and questioning doctor's orders as needed.
Nursing is truly a calling—and while it does offer a well-paying, flexible, and reliable career, you would be hard pressed to find a nurse that is "just in it for the money." So, if you have a nurse in your life, or if you find yourself one day hospitalized, be sure to treat your nurse with kindness and respect—chances are he or she will return the favor.
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