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Thank Goodness for Nurses

In a bleary eyed state I misread a blog post by PandaBearMD.  He was on one of his well- written, sarcastic tears, and (jokingly) blamed nursing salaries for the rise in healthcare costs.  I didn’t get the humor of that, and proceeded to defend my nursing colleagues.  Of course, I took some hits for being unable to recognize sarcasm, but this event got me thinking about nurses…

I have always been grateful for the wonderful work that nurses do – and as I think back at all the amazing feats they’ve accomplished in front of my very own eyes, I thought I’d start a list:

NICU: can place an I.V. in a 1 lb preterm baby with veins the diameter of hair (but docs: don’t TOUCH the baby!)

ER: can put an I.V. in a 400 pound, anasarcic patient with no palpable pulses.

Psychiatric ED: can convince a fulminantly psychotic, violent patient  to sit quietly and play with a teddy bear while waiting for the doctor to see him

Medical Floors: can clean up a fecal mess so foul that even the anosmic wouldn’t have the courage to enter the room – and do it in such a way that the patient feels no personal embarrassment

OR Nurse: will anticipate the instruments needed for an unforseen surgical complication and have them ready for use before the doctor gets a chance to ask for them

Pediatric ED: can distract a small child with stuffed animals, toys, and picture books so successfully that they don’t notice sutures being placed in their hand.

Obstetrical Nurse: can withstand the force of a 200 pound leg pressing against her for hours on end as mom bears down to push the baby out of the birth canal

Rehab Nurse: can get any patient out of bed, single handedly, and with little obvious effort (while the rest of us call for the Hoyer Lift, and 3 resident physicians)

This is just the beginning of a long list of magical things that nurses can do… please share some of your favorites!This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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