Credit when credit is due
My interest was sparked by the question that was posted earlier, “Do nurses get the recognition they deserve?” My fellow blogger Rob answered the question so well, that it prompted me to give my own two cents on the matter.
Do we (Nurses) get the recognition we deserve? Some would argue a resounding, “Heck no!” While others would sheepishly say, “Ehh.. yeah.” I guess my immediate response was, “from whom?” Whose recognition DO we deserve? Who is it that we want to recognize and appreciate our efforts? Is it our boss? Our fellow co-workers? Our colleagues? Maybe some hospital-wide recognition? Or even better – how about recognition from a corporate or national organization?
The other question I have is, “What exactly are we being recognized for?” A job well done? Or something more?
(Yes – I’m answering a question with MORE questions. Sorry, it’s how my mind works)
It’s a lot to ponder. I tell ya, when I started this profession and after a couple years of ‘digging in’ and sacrificing, I wanted to be recognized. I wanted someone, somewhere, somehow to give credit where credit is due! I was downright smug about it at one point. I wanted my extra effort, my extra everything, NOT to go unnoticed! Darn it! (I’m smiling as I type this)
Then I had the ‘AH-HA’ moment. The minute I started wanting the recognition, the recognition itself wasn’t all that great. Sure, we all like the pats on the back. The infamous, “Atta-boy (or girl)” words of encouragement. But in the end I don’t think there is a Nurse out there, that I’ve met, crossed paths with through networking, or simply have chatted with,that would tell you they got into this profession for the recognition.
We all have our reasons, some more insightful than others, but we all share the commonality of wanting to impact and improve someone else’s life – no matter how small or great that was.
I’ve received some great accolades from co-workers, physicians, employers, etc. All of them made me feel great. All of them gave me that extra ‘umph!’ I needed to continue pressing forward in my job, no matter how tough it got. But none of them held a candle to the recognition I got a couple weeks ago.
The recognition from a former patient moves worlds in my opinion. And this particular patient moved mine.
All I will say is the words : septic shock, mechanical ventilator, unresponsive, vasopressors (many), and fragile health. She was one of those patients you just don’t forget about. Her condition kept me on my toes from start to finish. 12 hour shifts turned into 18 hours shifts. That type of patient where charting is done standing up at the bedside. The kind of patient that the family can see how hard you are working to fight for their loved ones life.
Well she made it. She recovered. She recovered so well she went on to a rehab facility and is now home with her family. She and her husband visited our unit the other day. I was in another patient’s room and I could hear someone ask for me by name. I vaguely recognized the husband (he was definitely familiar to me). When I turned the corner of the nurses station she was standing there as if she had never been in the hospital, as if she was never been sick in the first place.
When she saw me her face lit up like the sun, and when I approached her she opened her arms like a child – bear hugging me. She thanked me over and over again for taking such good care of her. Her husband teared up. I teared up. It was all very emotional to say the least. Her thank you and appreciation warmed my heart and soul for the entire year. All the ‘tough’ things we encounter at our job and our profession were wiped away with her small actions.
As if her presence wasn’t enough – they brought in food! And lots of it! (what nurse doesn’t like free food?)
(this was 2 of 4 trays!)
So, do nurses get the recognition we deserve?
Damn right we do.
And if you hate the image of the ‘angel nurse,’ speak up! We’ve written several articles about career myths, including the one that “nurses are angels.”
And while this editor is barging in on Sean’s post, just another note: If you’d like to “give credit to” a special nurse on your team, nominate him or her for an Inspired Comfort Award!