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Dear Belly in room 7...

Professionalism   (1,765 Views 1 Comments)

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In response to all patient and families that beg to be seen as an individual an not addressed as "the belly in room 7"....

Dear Patient,

I am writing to you as the ER nurse who cared for you during your illness. I wish I could feel confident that you and your family received the care that you felt you needed and deserved, but I can't. Most likely at some point you felt rushed, ignored, or unimportant. You may have felt like you didn't matter, you were another number, or just another patient.

I did not see you just as the belly in 7 or the chest pain in 9.

It was simply because at that time, someone else was truly more important, or I was given the unpleasant decision as to whom needed me the absolute most. While you were vomiting, or in pain, a mother just lost the unborn child she most desperately wanted. Some child just lost a parent in a car accident. Or, the healthy young father is suffering an acute MI.

If I had the time, I would love nothing more than to brush your tangled hair, get that cup of coffee just how you like it or listen to your troubled story. I really WANT to feel like I could make that difference to you.

Those medical shows, they have it wrong. The expectations of the old days are no longer obtainable. Medicine is advancing rapidly and with that, drastic changes are unavoidable. The old are getting older, the chronically ill are sicker, and new drug resistant illnesses are constantly adding obstacles to what was once treated with a simple dose of penicillin.

Nurses everywhere are working longer hours, skipping meals, bathroom breaks, important milestones and holidays so that we can provide the best for you. We suffer staffing shortages and cuts, take criticism from doctors, management, patients and families are are still expected to provide the best care with smiles on our exhausted, often sick and stressed, overworked and unappreciated faces.

I am not saying these things expecting a pity party. You are right. I did choose this profession. I chose it for both selfish and noble reasons. I openly admit I love the prestige of my profession, the dedication it takes, and the admiration of others. It is, however both a blessing and a curse.

My personal life and my health have suffered the consequences of such a profession. I also chose this profession to help you. TO make a difference. I really, truly want to be there for you. I don't care if you remember me, to know I changed a life is all that matters. We do not flaunt our successes. If anything, we commiserate our failures. I WANT THE BEST FOR YOU.

But it is hard. IT is hard, day in and day out, to make you better, to give you just what you not only need but expect and desire.

To be honest, those nurses you see in white hats and dresses, with smiles and gentle hands, they are a dying if not dead breed. The nurses today are bred to be tough, to be dirty, to advocate for what is right or wrong. We are not "Yes Sirs, or Yes Ma'ams", we are smart, independent and our increasing responsibilities may keep us from providing those creature comforts you may be expecting.

Please recognize that while this suffers, we are giving you medications, assessing constantly, reporting possible life threatening changes and keeping it all together. We are the middle man. We are possibly the most important part in maintaining steady care all while receiving a CONSTANT stream of orders, carrying them out, and dealing with criticism from those around us.

So my plea to you, dear patient in room 7, dear mother, father, son, daughter, spouse....please regard me in the same manner that you expect to be regarded. I too, am human but with a huge weight constantly attached to my shoulders.

Do good, do no harm, be efficient while maintaining today's standards of care...Please do not demand to be seen right away, please don't drop important names, or veiled threats of litigation, or going to a "better" facility because the truth is...you won't find what you are looking for.

The truth is, no matter your station in life, you are not any more important than the poor soul suffering in the next room that I am in charge of caring for.

The truth is, I am not the manager of the Hilton or the Hyatt. I do not run Disneyland nor expect a hospital to be run like one. I truly want to help and I apologize if I seem distant at times or or a bit preoccupied, but I AM. So please, please, accept my sincerest apology.

I want you to know I lose sleep sometimes over you, over the coulda, shouda woulda. I want you to know that you DO matter. With this, I wish you the very best and I pray I somehow made a difference.


The day shift ER nurse with the dark hair.

The daughter, the sister, the aunt, friend, student and teacher.

Edited by Joe V

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