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DO WE VALUE NURSES?

If you should carry out a survey asking nurses or even persons of the general public this question I believe that you would be gravely disappointed with the results because many persons are of the view that nurses are not valued at the degree they should. How can nurses be considered as the “heart of healthcare”, yet be treated as useless items waiting to be disposed of in a garbage dump?!  Sad isn’t it?

Value – what does it mean?

When you think of the word “value” what comes to mind? You may regard value as (someone or something) to be extremely important; of great worth; priceless ; irreplaceable. Some, if not all of these came to mind right? Such beautiful and powerful words to give a clearer meaning as to what some of us consider the word “value” to mean. I can imagine the joy and feelings of worth it must bring to be considered as someone of value! On the contrary, feelings of “I’m not good enough”; useless; unimportant; replaceable may befall someone who is deemed as valueless.   Unfortunately, for the latter an array of nurses are made to harbor these negative feelings making them loathe and regret ever becoming a nurse. Some are even left to ask “is it worth it?”  Sadly, it may not be.

All that glitters is not gold…

How can nurses feel appreciated when majority of the time they are praised in private and harshly criticized in public? How can one expect nurses to feel valued when cries for safe patient-nurse ratio fall on deaf ears? How is it possible for a nurse to feel worthy when the same person that caused her (him) to hold her (his) urine for eight hours said that she (he) is not meant to be a nurse because the nurse was suppose to be at the bedside in 10 seconds right after being called? When the only possible time you see the CEO of the hospital you work occurs when a patient’s relative files a complaint but never when a patient wants you to be publicly recognized for helping to save his or her life. Yes, I know watching those medical shows may have clouded your judgement into believing that the profession is as easy as Sunday mornings, but it could not be more further from the truth. These are the unscripted, day to day issues that continue to cause nurses to question their professional worth.  This is the reality.

Even though a lot of us as nurses love our careers and different jobs, there are quite a few nurses who no longer have that fire ranging inside them to help people the way they use to before they were plagued by emotions of being undervalued. Of course you may say well that is not suppose to change the way care is given, but come on, nurses are  humans too and will most definitely be affected if that is his or her reality.  Whether you like to admit it or not persons like to be celebrated for the work that they do, especially if they put their blood, sweat, and tears into it. Nurses are no different where that is concerned. Even though it may not occur often, when it does ooohhhh child it feels like you walking on cloud nine 🙂 . A simple “thank you” and a smile goes a long way.

Half the truth hasn’t been told…

I am a nurse. I did not chose the profession for what many believe to be job security or the possible career advancements gains. I did however choose to become a nurse because I genuinely have a passion to help those who are physically or mentally unable to help themselves. From as young as six years old I knew I wanted to work in health care. At that stage I thought we lived in a perfect world. I knew nothing of what nurses really faced. Even as a student nurse I was still partially shadowed as to the day to day trials nurses faced. When I became a staff nurse I experienced the harsh reality of the profession and I still chose to serve disregarding those moments when I felt I was not valued in my job.

Every second, every single minute, 24 hours per day, 365 days for the year patients along with their families experience some of the most life changing events of their lives. Whether it is to offer comfort or bask in a joyous occasion a nurse is always there. Nurses make tremendous personal sacrifices, often times leaving their sick child or spouse to care for a stranger’s child, husband or wife; spending birthdays and holidays year after year at your job when all you longed for was to have just one intimate celebration with family and friends. In spite of all the disservice that nurses may receive, this, among a million other things is what nurses do and sadly the public don’t see and appreciate these moments. I know a lot of persons may say “well you chose nursing so why complain” but how many of us can tolerate standing for eight hours doing wound care (sometimes taking out embedded maggots from these wounds) for 30-50 patients without so much as sipping some water to soothe our parched throats; or having urine splashed in your face; or being blamed for the lack of resources available to provide quality health care? This is a lot of nurses reality.  Nurses choose to do what so many are afraid to do and refuse to do. Is it so hard for them to be rewarded in a way they truly deserve? Most nurses are not in the profession for the financial gain( well depends on what you consider gain because I do have friends that when they see my monthly salary are literally left shocked that we do so much yet rewarded with so little;  they wonder how on earth I survive!) some of us simply want to feel a sense of being valued for the selfless work we do. Though my career may not afford me a billion dollars in my bank account I do hope to one day be able to buy a car and a house without having to take out a loan and have extra funds on hand for any unforeseen events. Some of us have to be working up to eighty hours a week to achieve such feat at the expense of  sacrificing our physical and mental well being. We are not ungrateful spoil brats or money hungry but look around you, it’s a jungle out there and we do need to survive.

Is change possible?

Nursing is one of the most under appreciated yet crucial fields. It requires a lot of compassion; empathy; advanced customer service skills and underlying vitality that most fields don’t require. It is sad and disheartening that nurses are pretty much being brushed aside. Nursing is about being human and nurses should thus be considered as such. Validating the work nurses do contributes to enhancing the relationship between us and the persons in our care and their families. We all have one thing in common and that is being human. We can value each other for who we are and what we do. The roles and responsibilities of the nurse can never be quantified. So whether you be the CEO or the patient we simply want to know that you are there for us and that we are VALUED!

 

Think on this quote – “one’s life has value so long as one attribute value to the life of others by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion” – Simone de Beauvoir 

 

The Candy Stripe Nurse 🙂

 

 

 

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