To My Nurses, From Your 'Sick Kid' Patient
To the nurses out there,
Thank you. Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for not treating me like the mannequin you practiced on for so long during your time in clinical. Thank you for treating me like the human I am while I’m laying in a hospital bed. Thank you for not treating me like another round or statistic — not that that’s all a doctor does, because they do so much more. But you connect with me. Thank you for being kind and gentle when you wake me up at 2 a.m. for my vitals, then again at 5:30 a.m. for my morning meds. Thank you for dropping what you’re doing, regardless of it be eating or decompressing, and running to my room when I call.
Thank you for talking to me in a way I can understand, and in a truthful way. None of the “This isn’t going to hurt” nonsense when you know it will. And also thank you to the nurses who remember my name and come by my room just to hang out and chat with me because you know I’m bored because I’m a 23 year old “kid” on an adult floor.
I will never forget my most recent hospital stay. I had a nurse who was 28, and during our conversation we realized we both just went to Nashville for a bachelorette party. We talked and talked about activities we both did while being there and the restaurants and bars we frequented. Beside the fact that I had an IV in my arm, you would think we were hanging out at a Starbucks the way we were conversing, not a hospital. Experiences like that will always stick out to me because they put you at ease.
I’m not here to give you advice, because I understand your profession is hard enough without others thinking they can do what you do, but I do have one tip: Just be present. Nothing will make a patient feel better or safer than being seen or felt or heard. It will make both of our jobs infinitely easier and better.
Thank you for treating me like a friend you’d meet outside a hospital, especially when we’re so close in age. Thank you for bestowing your knowledge upon me. And lastly, thank you for keeping me alive.
All us sick kids out there