I Ask For "Nothing".

Written spur of the moment, brought about by propaganda posters and half-hearted "thanks" murmured by folks that clearly don't mean it. At all. It was an odd moment when I realized I was offended. I felt spotlighted when I, honestly, had done nothing important to note.


When it comes to nursing, I respect the profession for what it is, what it has been, and where it is headed. Am I proud to be part of the profession? Sure, in a subtle, I'm proud my hair is long kind of way.

I own no nursing paraphernalia. I do not announce what I do readily at meet n' greets or reunions. I prefer to refer to myself as a Frustrated Carpenter or a Confused Ninja.

Ever since stepping foot into the profession, Nurse's Week has always been a tough pill for me to swallow.

You see, I'm used to flying under the radar. I do what I do because it needs to be done. And that's the truth. I am here because I choose to be. I could be pastry chef or a crotchety stay at home couch warmer content to spend her days writing scathing letters to the editor while snorting Cheeto powder.

But no. In my professional life, I'm a nurse.

And for the record, I'm not a hero. Never have been one, never will be one, don't want to be one. That is way too much pressure. I look at what I do as getting paid to do the right thing. Hey look, you're not breathing. How 'bout some oxygen?

It's nothing special. It's just the right thing to do.

My patients know I exist because when they wake up, their IV sites have mysteriously migrated, the gaping holes in the abdomen are miraculously closed, and, if you are a peds patient, you may have a new stuffed bear friend dressed in scrubs to keep you company.

It took me a while to get used to the idea of never being seen let alone remembered. And now, my thanks comes daily in the form of self satisfaction and appreciation for the little things. When a tubed trauma patient gives me a thumbs up before going to surgery and a middle finger when I assess his pain as he wakes, I'm doing something right. When a surgeon saves an especially naughty joke just for me and tells it with an excited gleam to his eye like a kid on Christmas morning confronted with a gaggle of puppies, I know that my work has been noticed. And when my coworkers creep up to me mid case to bump shoulders, stand close and communicate with sidelong glances and hidden smirks, I know it's all fine.

And those are the things that keep me going.

Not the brunches offered by guilt obligated physicians or luke-warm lunches served by begrudging Nurse Managers. I don't need their approval. I don't need their recognition.

nothing.jpg And when the nation decides to herald nurses in random clips on the news, it causes a bitterness to surge unbidden to the fore.

You want to thank me? You want to honor nursing?

To management/corporate leaders: Then lower nurse to patient ratios so I and my brothers and sisters in healthcare can truly do the job to best of our abilities.

To the Government: Offer clinics that can be accessed by all people in a way that makes sense and for once removes the terrible choice of food or healthcare. We send so many resources overseas, which is all fine, but what of our folks here at home? Research more than the Cancer "flavor of the day". For the love of all thing sacred, stop denying reimbursement funding based up on greater, more ridiculous parameters.

To patients/families: Remember that time you called the Nursing Supervisor to complain because I sheered the britches off your child's shattered femur and then had the audacity not to escort you to the coffee shop before taking said kidlet to surgery? Yeah...not cool. Kindly learn what to truly complain about. Better yet, respect the fact I helped save his leg or something.

To the fellow healthcare workers: Treat each other with dignity and respect. Thank each other. Recognize each other. Why do we need a week or a day at all?

My feeling: if you truly need a day to give you a reason or remind you to show someone appreciation, be it your mother, your spouse, etc, then something is amiss, don't you think?

I had a doc try to worm a thank you out of me for a lunch his group provided. My answer was simple, "One sandwich does not make up for a bunch of distressing conversations. You made my orientee cry last week, in case you forgot. Perhaps in the future you can treat us all decently as people and I will thank you. But for now yes, the sandwich was tasty. I appreciate the effort."

He seemed affronted. Surprise.

I let him mull it over as I waddled off, diet soda in hand, to go settle before having to scamper off to another case.

Perhaps my refusal to kowtow and play nice in the sandbox makes me a bad person. I don't know. But I think I'm alright with that.

But I suppose it's time to get to the point, isn't it? Tick-tock, CheesePotato, we don't have all night.

In summation: Thank me as one person to another, for what I have done and not because of the letters at the end of my name. Thank me genuinely and at the moment it happens.

And I shall be sure to return the favor.


CheesePotato: Noun. Constantly teaching. Forever learning. Overtired, dark humored, over caffeinated, occasionally sulking, chronically petulant. Delightfully unbalanced adrenaline junkie with a penchant for good wine. Always got your back.

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144 Posts

Thank you for the article! You always write with heart and compassion and full of wisdom. I appreciate that you take the time to share your thoughts and experiences. God Bless!!

tenjuna, MSN

1 Article; 153 Posts

Specializes in Informatics, Orthopaedics. Has 5 years experience.

I love this article. I am not a fan in general of having groups of people having their own block of time to be "special." Seems disingenuous to me in some ways.

I do want to say though that perhaps patients and family members may be so caught up in their situation that they don't even notice the efforts of the healthcare team. I doubt it would be possible for them to remember the names of everyone who walks into their room or to even thank them, so I think it's appropriate for them to at least have a chance to remember that those people were there for them, and maybe show some appreciation for it. Perhaps *we* don't need it, but maybe they do.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

Awesome...your words summed up what I believe nursing is without missing the mark. I thank you for that. :)

Just awesome....

Liddle Noodnik

4 Articles; 3,789 Posts

Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep.. Has 30 years experience.

Yep, I've always felt the same way. You have to be prompted by a notation on a calendar? Thank me, respect me, gee, isn't that what humans do? Don't give me a special day ...

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.
Yep' date=' I've always felt the same way. You have to be prompted by a notation on a calendar? Thank me, respect me, gee, isn't that what humans do? Don't give me a special day ...[/quote']

^This...a MILLION times over-ESPECIALLY "isn't that what humans DO?"


473 Posts

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5+ years experience.

Right on!


281 Posts

Specializes in NICU, adult med-tele. Has 6 years experience.


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VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,981 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

Another spectacular---and spot on---article by an author who gets right down to where the cheese binds (sorry, couldn't help it :cheeky:) and tells it like it is. This is the unvarnished truth, and I salute you for it!!!

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

Raises, not roses. (Or that dam' soap on a rope)


623 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Documentation Specialist, LTC.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I always enjoy reading your musings and you never disappoint! A big AMEN!!!


202 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU, Med Surg.

Love this. Thank you, CheesePotato.