Waurika News Democrat

Opinion

March 27, 2013

Those hardworking nurses

WAURIKA — I have known people who are nurses all my life. I’ve heard so many stories of the nursing profession from the old nurses and from the new nurses. The nursing field has really changed over the decades.

Even as a child, I remember the nurse at the doctor’s office always being dressed in white on white on white, and part of the uniform included a cute little white pillbox hat. She did what the doctor ordered and was his right hand.

There have been ebbs and flows in the demand for nurses over the past 50 years. From what I found in some research, during the 1960s there was an increased measure of demand for nurses as the result of several acts including The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the Child and Health and Medical Assistance Act of 1965, and the Public Assistance Act of 1965.

It was also during this time that the Surgeon General made the announcement that a minimum of 40,000 new nurses must graduate each year in order to meet the growing needs of society’s overall health care.

Today, the nursing shortage is even more critical than even in the 1960s. With new legislation looming and much uncertainty ahead in the future for those in the medical field, it’s difficult to envision what the future holds for nurses, salaries, supply, and demand. It is projected that by 2025, there will be a shortage of 260,000 nurses in the U.S.

I wonder, sometimes, with these shortages, if the quality of nursing care might not be as good. There are so many demands on nurses; protocols, legalities, continuing education, long shifts, accountabilities and more. Everything hinges on doing it right or risk losing their license.

I recently had surgery and because of one nurse not following through and taking care of me properly, I almost did not have a good outcome. In fact, the mistake of that nurse caused me so many complications, I was nearly knocked down permanently. And cost me an extra week of leave from work.

Of course, nobody is perfect, but when you are a nurse and hold a person’s life in your hands, you just have to do your best. You can’t take shortcuts.

I have watched my daughter, Sam, in action several times. She has volunteered for several years during the flu shot clinics at the health department. But her finest moments were the ones taking care of her dad while he was dying.

The tenderness and careful attention she gave him was indescribable. For several days, she only got short naps once in a while lying on the floor by his chair holding his hand. Even after he died, she so carefully removed his tubes, washed his face, combed his hair, buttoned his shirt and prepared for the Dudley’s to come get his body with dignity.

I imagine she gives that kind of care to all her patients. She has sat with families while they waited on their loved one to pass. She has encouraged dying people to go with confidence and poise. Going through it with her dad has given her a special love for helping the dying to die peacefully.

Going the extra mile is important in any professional field. In the nursing field, it is the difference between being a nurse and being a great nurse. It just doesn’t hurt to do everything you can to for a patient. And it could be the difference between life and death.

Appreciate those hard working nurses. They have tough jobs.

— Anita Goza’s blog can be found at hhtp://anitagozablogspot.com

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