Fall of 2012

Let me begin with the obvious here: nurses are people. They are varied and variable and they all have good days and bad.  But, as a general rule, they are unbelievably competent, patient and caring people.  I admire them.  I am a fangrl.

First, some very special nurses: my infusion ladies. For most of the last eight years I have been getting infused at one of the local hospitals in their outpatient infusion room:  It isn’t a scary place.  It has lots of recliners and a television and plenty of blankets and pillows.  There are even curtains for privacy when you need it. The nurses who work there are like dear friends who know my innermost secrets: they hold my life in their hands once a month. They watch out for any changes in my blood pressure and do whatever they can to make what is a difficult process for me, go smoothly.

I really cannot say enough what these ladies mean to me.  I look forward to seeing them and know I will be okay, no matter what happens, as long as they are there.

ER nurses are another category I have come to know well.  They have a tough job.  They need to be everywhere at once.  Patients have no patience when they are in the ER.  Everyone is having an emergency, after all.  But, each one has to be prioritized and sometimes it is impossible to please anyone.  I don’t know how they do it.  Sometimes they get pretty hardened.  Sometimes they are there without you even asking. I have come to know the signs of an ER nurse.  If he/she is overwhelmed/tired they won’t bother to hand you the call button and sort of leave hoping you won’t ask for much.  If they are fresh on duty or the E.R. is slow, they may just stop in to check on you.  But that almost never happens.  I just try to remember they are people, at work, and that I am not the only patient. It’s hard when you feel like you are falling apart but I don’t know any other way.  I say ‘thank you’ a lot and I mean it.

Floor nurses in the hospital juggle a ton of information.  Doctors are only there for a brief time once a day—if that—per patient.  They rest of it has to be done at the computer station and through pharmacy.  Interaction with the patient is every two hours for the nurse every one hour for the aide. They take your vitals and check in on you.  Usually medications, like pain meds, are every four hours. The nurse has to record everything in the computer in your room.  Each time she gives you a medication, she gets the bar code off of your hospital bracelet and then the vial before she can fill the syringe.  There is a lot of paper work involved.

Usually these nurses are so competent that nothing can ruffle them.  If something does upset them, you know it is bad.  Every once in a while you get one who is just tired of being there. You can tell.  You are just annoying no matter what you say or ask for.

There is nothing you can do about that.

Keep your eyes and ears open, some of these nurses work back to back shifts of crazy hours and start to make mistakes.  They are human and I don’t blame them.

I do blame a system that lets them or makes them work those hours.  It is not ok.

Nurses are the heart and soul of medical care. Without them, there would be nothing.  They should be the highest paid and respected parts in the whole system.

Post Script: May 10, 2013


I no longer go the hospital for infusion days.  I have/had switched to home infusions that are done sub q (subcutaneously) and can be done safely at home.

Unfortunately, I have spent more time in the hospital.  Everything I wrote above is true.  Nurses are heroes and heroines. They should be allowed to wear capes and shiny, reflective tights.

Last week I was in the hospital for four nights and for all that time I had only one mediocre nurse.  I think that is pretty outstanding.