Saving lives have been the role stereotypically assigned solely to doctors. They have the appropriate training, and they spent the most years studying and practicing their healing profession.
However, this does not mean that the other allied medical professionals, such as EMTs and nurses, should not have a fair share of the credit regarding mending, comforting, and saving patients’ lives, both emotionally and physically. It is a sad fact that many people still consider the nursing profession as lowly and insignificant.
This is what Caitlin Brassington, a nurse, initially felt when she encountered an acquaintance who has this exact backward thinking as she ran into her while buying milk at the grocery shop. Caitlin just came from a tiring shift, and at the time, she still happened to wear her scrub shirt, the type she wears at the workplace, and this took the woman she met by surprise because it was the first time she found out about Caitlin’s profession.
Still, it was not the woman’s ignorance of Caitlin’s job that was shocking about the encounter. Rather, it was the way she regarded nurses in general that really stung Caitlin down to the bone. The woman, upon seeing Caitlin in scrubs, commented that she didn’t know that Caitlin was JUST a nurse. It was the way she used “just” in the statement she made that did it. Her tone indicated what she thought about nurses: that they had no important role to play in society.
Caitlin just couldn’t believe what the woman said, even if in her eighteen years of being a nurse, she had already heard it said to her a lot of times. This time, however, it really got to Caitlin. It got her thinking, is she really, JUST a nurse?
She didn’t fire back upon the woman, however. Instead, she took to social media to air her side and, in a way, “rant.” On Facebook, in particular, she decided to list everything that nurses have done – and continue to do – to alleviate the suffering of humanity all over the planet.
We would just like to reproduce Caitlin’s words as they are without altering a word, because aside from these words coming from the heart of a real-life, practicing, and compassionate nurse, they are simply too poetic to rephrase:
“I have helped babies into the world, many of whom needed assistance to take their first breath, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I have held patients hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I have counselled grieving parents after the loss of a child, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I have performed CPR on patients and brought them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I am the medical officers eyes, ears and hands with the ability to assess, treat and manage your illness, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I can ascultate every lung field on a newborn and assess which field may have a decreased air entry, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I can educate patients, carers, and junior nurses, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I am my patients advocate in a health system that does not always put my patients best interest first, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I will miss Christmas Days, my children’s birthdays, and school musicals to come to work to care for your loved one, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I can take blood, cannulate and suture a wound, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I can manage a cardiac arrest in a newborn, a child or an adult, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I can tell you the dosage of adrenaline or amiodarone based on weight that your child may need to bring them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.
“I have the experience and knowledge that has saved people’s lives.
“So, if I am just a nurse, then I am ridiculously proud to be one!”
So to all the nurses out there just struggling to make ends meet, juggle family and work time, endure lowly wages, and still manage to save hundreds of lives, don’t think you’re JUST a nurse! Be proud of the good you are doing to the world!