Thanksgiving is a special holiday because it reminds us to appreciate the little things in life. Here’s a list of 5 things to be thankful for as a nurse. What’s on your list?Nurse evacuates NYU Langone Medical Center with newborn during Hurricane Sandy.
Med pumps, ventilators. Ummm … lights? There’s nothing like a big ol’ hurricane to make you realize how incredibly dependent you are on electricity. Electricity makes our jobs easier and our patient outcomes a trillion times better.
This image from People.com says it all. A nurse appears to be stabilizing an ETT as this intubated infant gets manually ventilated and transported.
2. Patients and families who say “thank you”
Sometimes nursing can feel like a thankless job. Excellent nursing care often goes undetected because what looks like a smooth run-of-the-mill day is often the product of smart planning, fast interventions and constant multi-tasking. So much of that work is behind the scenes. But your patients say “thank you” more than you think. It might be in passing or coupled with a warm grasp of the hand. Either way, those are powerful words. Try keeping a thank-you journal. Record the moments that your patients show their gratitude. It can provide great support when you’re experiencing one of those tough days.
3. Coworkers (nurses, doctors, receptionists, environmental crew)
Where would we be without them? The healthcare world can feel, for lack of a better word, insane. No one understands what we go through like the people who surround us at work. Thank goodness there are witnesses, because we all know that you just can’t make this stuff up! Not to mention, our coworkers are the only ones who find gross hospital stories as entertaining as we do.
With the constant high-stress work environment nurses face, often the only release is a good laugh. Humor is like a pressure valve — it can provide much-needed relief. Humor can help us connect with patients, too. I once took care of an 8-year-old boy from Iraq who spoke no English and was naturally terrified to be in the cardiac ICU. Fortunately for him, I’m a klutz. I pulled a doofus move, slamming my head into the TV above me as I stood up without looking. It didn’t hurt that badly, but it was pretty funny and I saw him smile from ear to ear for the first time. His grandmother laughed, too, and suddenly we were like old friends. These are the small blessings.
Seriously. What other clothing do you own that can wash and wear 100 million times, dry in mere minutes and withstand the kind of — ahem — fluids that we expose them to? Scrubs are comfortable. They have drawstrings. They forgive us for our holiday meal over-indulgences.
What makes you feel thankful at work? Maybe it’s the security guard who always greets you with a smile or the breakroom that allows you to get some respite from the action for a little while. Share with us!