We all know how hard it is to be a doctor, but we don’t think enough about how much nurses do for us.
All the soap opera-ish TV shows and accolades are bestowed upon doctors, while nurses often get the short end of the stick. But nurses are the first people we see when we arrive at the doctor’s office or hospital, and they often do the most personal work: asking what’s wrong, checking vitals, and taking blood.
Caitlin Brassington ran into this attitude when an acquaintance at the grocery store said something that upset her. Later that day, Caitlin wrote: “‘Just a Nurse’. I am just home from a busy shift, looking very ordinary in my scrubs. On the way home today I stopped at the shop for milk and saw an acquaintance. She has never seen me in uniform and said that she didn’t [realize] I was ‘just a nurse.'”
She continued, “Wow! Over my 18 year career I have heard this phrase many, many time[s], but today it got to me. Am I just a nurse? I have helped babies into the world, many of whom needed assistance to take their first breath, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I have held patients hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse. I have [counseled] grieving parents after the loss of a child, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I have performed CPR on patients and brought them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse. I am the medical officers’ eyes, ears, and hands with the ability to assess, treat, and manage your illness, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can [listen to and understand] every lung field on a newborn and assess which field may have a decreased air entry, and yet I am just a nurse. I can educate patients, carers, and junior nurses, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I am my patient’s advocate in a health system that does not always put my patient’s best interest first, and yet I am just a nurse. I will miss Christmas Days, my children’s birthdays, and school musicals to come to work to care for your loved one, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can take blood, cannulate, and suture a wound, and yet I am just a nurse. I can manage a cardiac arrest in a newborn, a child, or an adult, and yet I am just a nurse. I can tell you the dosage of adrenaline or amiodarone based on weight that your child may need to bring them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.”
Brassington concludes, “I have the experience and knowledge that has saved people’s lives. So, if I am just a nurse, then I am ridiculously proud to be one!”
For another perspective on how important nurses are, check out Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson performing a monologue about nursing at the 2016 Miss America pageant below.
To nurses everywhere: Thank you for everything you do!