Previously taken for granted, the role of nurses increased in importance and gained more recognition during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. While many have realized how essential the role of a nurse is for relaying adequate healthcare, many are unaware of important aspects of nursing jobs and care. The pandemic tested nurses and other frontline healthcare workers in tremendously difficult ways like understaffing and lack of availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). On top of these, nurses often have more strict and rigid schedules than doctors as they serve longer shifts and are the primary care provider for most patients.
Now that the pandemic has subsided and the healthcare sector is slowly gaining momentum, policymakers and healthcare workers are re-analyzing how to recognize nurses for their efforts. One such way of appreciating nurses for their undying commitment is by acknowledging their efforts and taking the time to understand their job. Here are seven things nurses want you to know about nursing care.
- Every role is important
Nurses occupy a range of roles in various settings. Nurses fill many parts, from hospitals and rehabilitation centers to schools and legal environments. People disregard that nurses might not spend as much time in medical school as a doctor. But they’re equipped with the knowledge and skills required to understand your concerns and provide adequate patient care. Similarly, “nurse” is an umbrella term that encompasses entry-level licensed practical nurses (LPNs) as well as registered nurses (RNs). You don’t have to attend in-person classes to get a nursing degree. Nurses can acquire online accelerated BSN degrees from prestigious institutes like Holy Family from the comfort of their homes. No matter the academic standing, every nursing role is important and worthy of recognition. Regardless of academic qualification, nurses have hands-on experience that can help with patient care and treatment. Doctors can appreciate nurses by allowing them the room to voice their opinions and creating a safe space for them to work.
- Heroes need help too
Nurses were called the “healthcare heroes” shortly after the global pandemic exposed a severe understaffing of healthcare workers. While it is vital to acknowledge the efforts of nurses, it is crucial to understand that nurses have needs too. The passion for helping and looking after others drives nurses to work beyond their physical and mental capacities. Some nurses feel empowered by helping and guiding patients and contributing to their communities. Others think they’re just doing their job. Both deserve appreciation, and you can do so by:
- Asking nurses how they would like to be supported
- Ensure the healthcare sector is adequately staffed not to overburden nurses
- Ensure there is a safe and healthy nurse-to-patient ratio to avoid burnout and work stress
- Publicly appreciate and recognize nurses
- Prepare safety protocols like providing nurses with PPE
To adequately honor and appreciate nurses, it is crucial to provide them with the required resources. Creating policies that protect nurses from workplace abuse and harm is also essential.
- Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare team
It is impossible to imagine a healthcare system without nurses and only doctors. Many believe doctors have the upper hand in providing timely and effective care. And the nurse registers your case, offers primary care, and assists the on-duty doctor in treatment. Nurses and doctors play a crucial role and effective patient care, and they go hand-in-hand. One is not better off without the other. It would be difficult for a doctor or surgeon to register patient cases and treat them side by side while looking after the administrative affairs of a hospital or clinic. Though actions like changing bed sheets, administering medicine, and keeping a check on patients may seem menial, these are what keep the momentum of a hospital going.
- Nursing care is emotionally draining
Nurses are at high risk for burnout and compassion fatigue. Their job requires them to constantly engage with patients from different walks of life and with varying problems. Overexposure to various patients can emotionally drain nurses. Nurses spend more time providing primary care and have more extensive one-on-one time with patients. They can develop relationships over time and become drained emotionally.
In comparison, doctors can distance themselves from their patients for objectivity. The emotional challenges of this job require nurses to be empathetic at all times, which is draining. Consequently, overwork and emotional exhaustion can affect the duties and responsibilities of a nurse.
- Nurses make a doctor’s job easier
Because nurses are primary care providers in most cases, they know the intricacies of each case. Nurses know which patient requires urgent care and attention and which is a second priority. Not only does working on a priority basis help save time, but it improves patient care. Often, patients are more comfortable discussing sensitive or personal information with nurses than with doctors. It makes the treatment process more manageable and less time-consuming to begin. Your nurse would already have your information on the tab and discuss it with your doctor timely. It also helps nurses identify potential problems before they discuss the case with the doctor and streamlines treatment and care.
- Nurses consider patient care a partnership
Patients see nurses more often than their doctors or other healthcare providers, which is why nurses consider patient care a form of partnership. Patient health and care are the number-one priority of the nursing profession. Nurses don’t just want to finish their job and fill in their schedules. They care about their patients and prioritize their health. To make a nurse’s job easier, make sure you let them know your entire medical history and any information that might be useful. When you visit a clinic or a hospital, know that the nurses and other primary care staff will look after you. Patients’ health and safety are the responsibilities of nurses, and they consider your concerns and healthcare problems as their own – this is how this partnership works.
- Nurses deserve respect
We have already talked about the differences in the academic qualifications of nurses and doctors. Regardless of the nurse’s academic standing or what career level they are at, they deserve respect. Just because it’s not a white coat and a pair of scrubs doesn’t mean nurses deserve less appreciation and respect than a doctor. Next time, if you come across a nurse, ask them how many times they’ve heard a condescending remark or if a patient or doctor was rude towards them. Chances are you might get an answer like, “a lot!” or “many times.” It’s common for nurses to be the target of scornful remarks and lack of appreciation because of their assistive role towards doctors. However, remember that nurses are essential for your treatment and care as doctors. Therefore, nurses are equally deserving of your respect.
Nursing care is a two-way street. As a patient, you expect the nursing staff to be mindful of your needs and care. Similarly, nurses expect you to respect and appreciate them for their efforts. Nurses and other primary care providers are irreplaceable and essential members of the healthcare sector. So, treat them with respect and appreciate their efforts.