I’ve worn a few different hats in the hospital world. I’ve been the scared patient, the frustrated patient in pain in the waiting room, the family member sleeping next to the patient for weeks in the ICU, the visitor who refuses to follow the visiting hours, but I’ve never been the nurse, the doctor, the receptionist, or the orderly. I’ve cried while my nurses held my hand, I’ve yelled at nurses when I’m frustrated, I’ve been given shampoo and access to a shower when I was sleeping next to a hospital bed for months without any belongings, I’ve had procedures and information explained to me when I couldn’t understand what the doctor was saying to me, I’ve been the friend watching my peers go through the rigors of nursing school, I’ve judged nurses for not being warm and comforting, and I’ve seen tears of happiness swell under their eyelids when things get better.
I have so many experiences as a patient or the guest of a patient, but I’ve never been in the shoes of my nurses. I don’t know what it’s like to see people die despite my efforts, to work on my feet for 14 hours, or to be yelled at by a crying family member and stay calm and understanding. There are so many things I wish I could go back and say to the nurses who have changed things for me and my loved ones during these experiences that I wish I had thought to say back then. As patients it’s hard to understand a perspective outside of our own, but here are some things we want you, our nurses, to know. (more…)