My Dad’s pneumonia this week isn’t the first time I’ve lived in a hospital with a parent (I’m sure many of you had more experiences, including as patients), so this isn’t the first time on this blog I’ve praised the frontline soldiers of our health care system: the nurses.
Can there be any more challenging job requiring almost inhuman patience than dealing with sick, cranky patients? It is a wonder how they cope, and from what I’ve observed they always do. But they have feelings too. After an encounter with what sounded like an unruly and unreasonable family member, I heard one mutter under her breath out of earshot of the woman, “I came here to take care of people, not get yelled at.”
These days nurses at some hospitals wear walkie-talkie devices on cords around their neck that blare live voices from throughout the hospital demanding tasks to be done and interrupting what they’re doing, including serious conversations with a patient or in the middle of an important current task. It’s beyond multi-tasking. They often cannot finish one thing without rushing to another, then back to the original, only to be pulled away again.
As our nurse, who tends six patients per shift (plus others when colleagues need backup), was inserting a tricky IV she got one of those annoying verbal blasts for the third time during the procedure. She looked at us, pulled the cord away from her neck and pretended to throw it out the window.