I love to play cards and have as long as I can remember. My family is a big card game or board game family. I am competitive and really get into any game I am playing. It takes all of my attention and focus, just as I give my focus and attention to any task that I do. Recently in trying to prove a point, a politician commented that nurses often play cards at work. While I do not want to be just another post on your newsfeed about this statement or to shame the senator who made it, I would like to share what upsets me the most from this statement.
The claim is insulting to any nurse (like me), but it is more upsetting that this is claim is made without any experience behind it. The statement is not only false, but shared irresponsibly — without experience to back it up. I do not believe Senator Walsh has ever worked as a nurse. Even in the midst of trying to make a point, it is still never okay to down play, criticize, or judge a profession that one knows nothing about.
Have you ever heard the phrase about not being critical or not judging someone unless “you’ve walked a mile in his/her shoes”? There is also one quote that says “you never really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes” (Unknown). I do not believe that this claim was made after a mile was walked in a nurses’ shoes. I can say that confidently because walking a mile in a nurse’s shoes includes the doing and being the following:
- Nurses are the glue between the doctors, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, transport staff, nutrition, pharmacy, etc.
- Nurses are putting their patient’s needs above their own: their needs, their declines, their victories, their testings, their new orders, their progress, etc.
- Nurses are peeking in on our patients that tend to jump out of bed while being a huge fall risk.
- Nurses are listening for bed alarms, heart rate alarms, IV pump alarms, etc. (Everything beeps and alarms!)
- Nurses are passing medicine including the pain medicine for the one patient that always wants it.
- Nurses are helping coworkers that may have the worst assignment on the floor.
- Nurses are reorienting the confused patient.
- Nurses are rejoicing over output from a patient on a Lasix drip.
- Nurses are celebrating with the patient that is finally pain free.
- Nurses are talking over the phone to an anxious family member.
- Nurses are notifying the doctor of critical lab values and charting that we did so.
- Nurses are assessing oxygen levels and lung sounds of the patient that has a new complaint of shortness of breath.
- Nurses are charting every little thing because “if you didn’t chart it, you didn’t do it”.
- Nurses are taking notes from their chart for report so the next nurse gets a good, full picture of your precious patient that is sickly.
Our days are a whirlwind of unexpected ups and downs, but I promise you—we are not playing cards – not even on our breaks. We are not focused on ourselves. We are focused on our patients. Our actions revolve around them. The idea of playing cards during work or even on break does not cross my mind as there is little time (and little inclination for most nurses) to think of such individual pursuits. We are hardworking and selfless, and we have BIG hearts. And the BIG heart of every nurse was hurt by the negative statement/claim that is obviously false.