Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

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

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »

Commented - Most Popular Articles