Wednesday, May 09, 2012


It's Nurses Week, always the week of Florence Nightingale's birthday.  There's no shortage of sappy essays and poems about nurses, so allow me to insert mine here ;)
Nursing isn't easy.  And it isn't as satisfying as it was even the short time ago (2004) that I started.  Third company payers own us and now nationalized health care is taking the knife already in the heart of what we do and turning it.  What was pierced is now being shredded.  Do I sound bitter?  Because I am truly not.  I am so, so so sad. 
If I were to do a time study, nurses would spend a great portion of their day meeting documentation requirements and not at the side of their patients.  Nurse hate this.  But if they don't do it, insurance won't pay.  And the people in case management and utilization review who are trying to get insurance to pay will tell our managers.  And our managers will chasten us and put in our performance evaluations that we don't document well.  No one in that chain is the bad guy.  They are trying to keep benefits intact and prevent patients receiving huge bills for care denied for lack of a comma or measure of hours slept.  I'm not exaggerating.
So we rush to document that the patient ate their sandwich but not their jello and that they were offered assistance with getting dressed but refused and needed a Tylenol for a headache of 6/10 and what we did to relieve their pain before administering that expensive medication and what their pain level was thirty minutes later including not only pain scale number but quality and duration of when they've experienced a similar headache before and what has helped and what has not helped.  Five minutes with the patient and twenty with the chart.
I'm not a political creature but I pray for those who are that they would have wisdom as this country enters into the next phase of what health care will look like.  I also pray for nurses who are exhausted and burned out not because of their patients needs but because of the other demands that are far removed from our hearts but will make or break our job security.
Will you pray for us?  Pray that good nurses don't finally throw up their hands and walk away.  Pray that our new nurses will not be so overwhelmed that they lose heart.  Pray that God will give us an added measure of skill and ability to meet the requirements of the ones who control health care and still be able to hold hands and share a joke or even a tear with our precious patients and their families. 
Finally, will you, at some point this week,  tell a nurse that they are appreciated and respected?  We don't necessarily need another coffee cup with a nurse's cap on it or a plaque with a poem.  We need to know that you see us.  That maybe you are impressed by us.  That sometimes, you are even amazed.


Margie said...

I super thankful for those in the mental health field, I have a cousin who is a 'functioning schitzophrenic' (sorry about the spelling), we haven't seen him in years, no idea where he is. I am continually in prayer for him, because while he is on his meds, he does great (functions) then when he's doing well, he stops taking the meds (thinks he doesn't need them anymore - yikes) and then... back with issues, it is sad. I have no idea where he is or how to find him, but it makes me thankful for nurses like you who find ways for patients to walk a mile (or 10) in their own shoes, with proper fitting clothes. Knowing that when they come see you, they will be taken care of. You, my friend, are Jesus to so many! I think you're AMAZING and you know the socks right off a sock monkey!

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