Opinion of a Nursing Student: Nurses Deserve More Appreciation

Death, Through a Nurse’s Eyes https://nyti.ms/3qLvY4e

“Let’s say there was a day that nurses didn’t come to the hospital. It’s like, why are you even opening?”

The short film broke my heart documenting the ICU patients with Covid 19 reaching the end of their lives. Yet it is equally heart-wrenching seeing how the nurses tirelessly risking their own health, if not their lives, and that of their families with painstaking shifts and their patients’ deaths forever etched on their memories. That being said, having shown more concern for their patients than for themselves out of the spotlight for so long, they are not getting the recognition they deserve.

Spending one semester studying my dream profession, I learned the hard way that there are so many false assumptions for the Nursing field from the stories of my peers to my own experiences and observations.

One friend told me that her classmates asked if folding blankets and bedsheets would be everything she gets to learn as a Nursing student. This is not even close. During only 4 years, we learn the Science of human anatomy, psychology, biochemistry, biophysics, pathophysiology, pharmacology, biostatistics, etc., and the Arts of care, compassion, and communication with biopsychosocial needs, cultural preferences, and spiritual needs. We learn to design care plans, organize care, practice skills and deliver patient care ourselves. Caring for patients means treating them as a whole person with their psychological well-being and the social context from which they come, not a medical case.

For nurses, it’s not just about ailments, it’s also about the therapeutic personal connections that are constructed when respectfulness, responsiveness, compassion, trustworthiness, and integrity are exemplified. They know more than most about reality on the ward and patients’ experiences, thus allowing them to have immense impacts in the hospital. This is why nursing is rated as the most trusted and ethical profession for 20 years in a row in the US.

I understand that it is what I feel about the profession to embrace the difficulties that come with it that matters. However, when mentioning the Covid 19, many only use the exclusive phrase “y bác sĩ” or even worse, “y tá” for nurses. “Y tá” has been replaced by “điều dưỡng” by the Government for over 30 years now since the word “tá” as in “trợ tá” (supporting) is misleading. Despite what the media may portray, nurses are not directed by physicians. They actively engage in treating the patients with other healthcare professionals.

Nursing is an independent, self-governing profession. To operate, a hospital needs the hands of so many healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, dieticians, medical technologists, pharmacists, etc. So please, treat us all with equal respect.

Happy 27/2!

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