“Smart Doctors Consult Nurses”

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Yes! This is the quote I first heard in a CCU room “with a view” of the beautiful Charles River on the 21st floor of one of prestigious medical facility in Boston. The words were coming from the patient in the room, but needed to be taken seriously because she is also a physician. There were three other occupants in the room – a motherly nurse who was in charge of the patient, a doctor friend who was visiting the patient and I, the husband of the patient.

We were well into the 35-day long ordeal that my wife had undergone, resulting from a ruptured appendix while traveling overseas. Right from the dash out of the plane, the expedited immigration and customs formalities, and the ambulance-aided rush to the hospital emergency room, we were thinking about the doctors who would be taking care of her. However, I will be remiss if we didn’t highlight the crucial role that the nurses played in her treatment and care.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

On the National Nurses Appreciation Day – May 6, 2019

As I look back into the daily ups and downs of her condition in the recent past, I clearly remember the major role the nurses played in taking care of my wife during this time. It was very clear that nurses were exceptionally trained and educated. They also spent considerable amount time with the patients, monitoring the symptoms and condition on a 24×7 basis, right from the time of the admission to discharge. Collectively, they are with the patients to support them physically as well as emotionally.

Back to the main story. On that particular evening, my wife was reminiscing with her physician friend about the residency days and how she learnt a lot of valuable skills and empathy from the nurses during her residency. She was particularly amazed at the medical knowledge and treatment of patients exemplified by many of the nurses. Fast forwarding to her many years of being an experienced attending, she still feels the same respect for her nurses, many of them being the same ones she worked with her during her training. She finds that consulting with nurses prior to rounding on a patient helps her immensely. So it was no wonder that during the conversation, she relayed her sincere belief that the smart doctors consult nurses, getting a wholehearted support from the other two healthcare professionals in the CCU room.

Nurses undergo a rigorous training, whether starting with an online program like BSN to DNP and everything in between. It definitely requires strong work ethics, positive attitude and a deep passion to help others in order to practice this noble profession.

Acknowledging the Critical Role

Following are only a few of the important facets of responsibilities handled by nurses:

  • Treatments. Nurses administer and oversee the treatments planned by the doctors. They are the ones who monitor the conditions and take into account what is working and what is not.
  • Technology Curve. The advances in medical devices have been growing by leaps and bounds. Nurses need to develop the necessary skills and be trained to handle these.
  • Conduit between the Patients & Doctors. Patients connect with nurses first in a fast-paced medical facility. They need to manage the expectations as well as effective communication on both sides
  • Emotional Support. Nurses are well trained to provide emotional assistance, by offering the empathy and their caring touch, they help mitigate the patients’ difficulties as a part of their treatment.
  • Procedures. When patients have to undergo complex procedures, nurses can help to educate them and lend a hand at navigating many of the details that could be daunting
  • Recovery. Nurses have to be physically strong to help patients not only when in their beds, but also when they are recovering after a serious illness. Simple matters like starting to walk need help and support from the nurses.
  • Goodwill Ambassador. Nurses are the faces of the hospitals and healthcare entities in general. Patients have most interaction with them – and these interactions can make or break the patient satisfaction and experience at the organization.

Finally…

I won’t get into the nuances or the debates of whether these doctors are smart because they consult nurses or the doctors become smart by consulting nurses! Either way it is a great observation to acknowledge the importance of the nurses and their insights in making better decisions for the patients.

So, next time when you think of medical profession, don’t just see the image of doctors – nurses should be right next to them!

+ N U R S E S

:: Sandeep Shah, on the Nurses’ Appreciation Day

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