Close this search box.

Top 4 Things Patients Should Know About Life as an RN

Nurses are selfless and admirable members of our community who play a primary role in taking care of others. As a patient, our main concern is our health and getting better, but sometimes we need to think about the other pieces to the puzzle. After all, we all share the common goal of helping sick get patients better, so it’s not a bad idea to think about things from our nurses’ perspective and show some gratitude!

Some Days are Better than Others

I love my job, but don’t get me wrong…we all have those awful days where nothing seems to be going the right way. Working in an ICU, I have 1 or 2 patients depending on their acuity (how sick they are and how busy they are). My unit’s management is great at making sure our mental health is a priority when we have a rough day. I’ve had a patient pass away, and then been given a new admission an hour later (who also ended up passing away). That was one of my toughest days. Some nurses can separate their emotions from their patients, but I am not one of them. I cried and I didn’t try to hide it because it’s not healthy to hold it in.

My reasoning behind telling you this is not to make you sad or to feel bad for us. Part of me feels honored to be a part of someone’s last weeks, days, hours, minutes.  The point is to show you that sometimes we must go from one patient’s room to another patient’s room, all the while trying to forget the hard stuff going on in the room next door. Sometimes we just need a minute to let it out, to compose ourselves, and to take a breath before leaving the nurse’s station to do it all again.

Ask For Help

It’s not a bad thing when we ask for help; it’s actually a good thing. I’ve had patients get annoyed with me when I ask another nurse for help or to give me a second opinion, but wouldn’t you rather have 2 nurses’ opinions? I know I would! We work as a team, and there are more experienced nurses working with us that may have further insight. I have no problem stopping and asking for help; I think that the day a nurse stops asking for help is the day they stop learning.

Be Patient With Your Nurse

There are things that nurses can do without a doctor’s order, and there are things we can’t do without one (totally dependent on the hospital, unit, policies, etc). I work in an ICU now, and I have much more autonomy than when I worked in acute care. That being said, some patients have a hard time understanding that we have to ask the doctors for orders,  which causes them to get frustrated with me. We have to follow policies in order to practice within our license and abilities.

Nurses are Human Too

We are human, too. Some people come into the hospital and think that they can order us around and talk to us with disrespect. I will do whatever I can for my patients and will literally bend over backwards for them, but when I get ordered around without a please/thank you, or get yelled/cursed at, I feel very small. We understand that you are sick and in a hospital, but all we ask for is a little respect.

Living with illness and disability can be isolating. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be. Sign up below to be in the know on our latest product and content releases, exclusive offers, and community events.