This I Believe

Brandy - Richmond, Indiana
Entered on October 16, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

A question I ponder often since starting nursing school is, “Why do the registered nurses I’ve observed appear to have lost compassion for patients?” It’s not as if all nurses are “bad” or have lost the meaning of what being a nurse truly is. Believe me, I have come across nurses who have inspired me and been wonderful leaders. However, I do feel like I’ve come across several nurses who seem to have forgotten the cardinal rule in nursing, “CARE”.

I want to become a nurse to help educate, to prepare people with preventative techniques, and give quality health care. What I’ve observed in my limited time in clinical has been quite disheartening. I’ve found that the nurses are overworked, understaffed, and overloaded with paper work. One important thing we are being taught as nursing students is to listen to your client. I feel like nurses working the medical floors are so bombarded with charting, passing medications, and performing clinical skills that they have forgotten to listen to their patients. For example, I’ve seen patients complain to their nurse about pain, but the nurse holds the pain medication because she believes the patient really isn’t in pain and I’ve witnessed nurses not take the time to build rapport with their patients. Maybe I am naive but I can’t help but think these nurses have forgotten to have faith in their clients. I believe they have forgotten that their job isn’t just ANY job, but that of being an advocate, educator, and care-giver.

The public views nurses as trustworthy, hardworking, and competent individuals. They rely on nurses to give quality medical care as well as being honest. This is why nurses are such a crucial part of the medical team; patients view them as their voice. They confide in their nurses and reveal more to the nurse than to any other medical member. If nurses have forgotten that listening to their client is key in giving excellent care, people may start to loose faith in the nursing profession. They may begin to believe that machines can do the nurses job. This is unfortunate because the caring hands of a nurse can be the difference between a positive or negative outcome. I have had both outcomes personally. At a time in my life when I needed someone to care the most, I had a nurse who really knew the meaning nursing. She listened, she educated, and she cared for me. I perceived that outcome as one of the most positive medical interventions I’ve ever had, even though the circumstances were awful for me, I was unable to conceive a child. On the other end of the spectrum, I was hospitalized and my nurse didn’t listen to me, she was always late passing pain medications, and my recovery went awful. I wanted to tell her, “I think you have forgotten that I’m your patient and you need to listen to me!” She was busy, don’t get me wrong, but I felt neglected even though I did receive the adequate medical care. I just wouldn’t say that it was excellent care.

Overall, as a nursing student and as more of us decide to be these wonderful care takers, I think it is important for us all to remember that we wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the patient and we must listen. Patients have a voice and they need the nurse to recognize it and advocate it.