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You don’t go the hospital because you need a doctor. You go to the hospital because you need a nurse.

October 1, 2012

If you need a doctor, you either go to a doctors office or you go to the ER.  If you need to be taken care of, you need a nurse.  That’s why YOUR DOCTOR admits you to the hospital.  It’s not so he can keep a closer eye on you.  It’s because there are nurses there that do that for him.  They also help you to the bathroom, wash you if you need it, bring you water and crackers.  But nurses are really there to keep a careful eye on you.  Maybe your heart is acting up and you need watching on a heart monitor.  Maybe your blood pressure is out of control and you need someone to check it and adjust your medicines.  Maybe you just had surgery and you need someone to make sure the wound stays clean and doesn’t get infected.  It’s not doctors that do these things.  It’s nurses.

Be nice to your nurses.  Pick one that you like that you see alot and get her to be an advocate for you.  Most hospital wards run on a primary nurse model, meaning that as much as possible the same nurse or two gets assigned to you each day.  She (or he; some of the best nurses are men) has more access to YOUR DOCTOR than you do. 

Realize that a nurses job pretty much blows.  You see, if you are sick you want a smart nurse, but much of what nurses are asked to do does not on the face of it seem to need much smarts.  She wipes your bum.  She brings you food.  She empties your urine jug.  But during all this she is observing you, watching you, looking for signs something is going well or going wrong. Her smarts are important for your health.  She is well educated, trained, and certified.  She is not your room service waiter.  Your nurse also has between 2 and 5 other patients she is trying to watch and care for also.  So be patient. And be nice to your nurse.

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