I have to work tonight. It’s Saturday. And I don’t want to go in. It’s springtime, the skies are blue, birds chirping, and the flowers show off their magnificent colors.
But it’s Saturday. And along comes being a nurse. We have mandatory weekends, mandatory holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter and Independence Day and Memorial Day.
And even on my day off when I get a real nights sleep, I think about or dream about that emergent intubation, central line insertions, propofol drips, wrist restraints, code blues, and CPR. Chest compressions and O2 sats dropping because the patient has sputum plugs, catching that patient before he falls out of bed, medicating that one that is in active DTs, and the psychotics and the hallucinations.
If it’s a dream, I wake up exhausted.
The surgical trauma unit was my nightmare as I’d stare into that 18-year-old boy’s eyes who now was paralyzed from the neck down cause he did drugs and no seat belt and crossed over the line and killed that innocent driver on the other side.
Paralyzed from the neck down. Forever.
Or that beautiful young girl that jumped out of a building and came to us dead on arrival. And the exhaustion and anxiety of 12 to 13 long hours without a break, without a lunch.
This is a pledge I request to those not in the health care field:
Stop the insults.
Stop the innuendos.
Stop the disrespect.
Unless you have breathed our life, then stop announcing what you do not know nor have experienced.
A salute to you nurses. We have a special calling of saving your life. Of bringing in new life. Of sending you off softly into the night when it is your time.
I could never acknowledge all fields of nursing, but thank you.
Nurse’s Week. Always and forever.
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