I write this in honor of Tina, a lovely lady friend in the midst of her nursing training. I have a bias and let me make it crystal clear. I think God probably has reserved a special place in heaven for nurses.
Nursing school can be grueling. Nurses must understand and be conversant with all aspects of medicine. While not in the same depth, nurses must cover virtually all the topics medical school students must cover, only with a lot less time to absorb it all. Beyond that, nurses must become adept at many procedures few physicians ever perform. It is tough.
I learned early on in my medical school training how important nurses were in the life of a physician. As I started my first hospital rotation with very little theoretical knowledge and almost no medical experience, I learned quickly that nurses possessed a wealth of valuable practical knowledge. Not only could they keep my patients out of trouble, they often kept me out of trouble and made my life much easier. I have always held the nurses I worked with in high esteem, and as far as I can tell they have returned that sentiment.
A nurse’s life can be tough at times. Their patient’s personalities can change for the worse when they are sick, hurting or scared. Families can be even more difficult. Add to this that hospital administrators do not always completely understand the role nurses play and the difficulties they face. Then there are certain physicians that can be arrogant and unreasonably demanding, which can easily cause a nurse to feel less than competent.
Hopefully, you will take these difficulties in stride and you will fully appreciate your value on the health care team. You are entering a very privileged position in society. You will form bonds with your patients stronger than anyone else in your hospital. You will know them better and be in an ideal position to greatly help them through the many worries and discomforts that their diagnostic studies and treatments entail. You will comfort them, relieve their distress and help speed their healing. You already know the power of a kind word and a smile. I know you will use them often.
I thank you for being willing to take on the difficult tasks ahead of you. I know you and I know you will find your work fulfilling and your patients will be much better off for your careful and compassionate efforts.
Love to you, Tina, and to all nurses, everywhere.