Everyone “grows up” in a different nursing environment. I grew up as a nurse in an environment with God complex physicians. The letters MD stood for “My Decision” in that small community hospital setting.
I can remember being a student nurse and observing when a physician would enter the nursing unit. The nursing staff would scatter like a bomb went off. Desktops would be cleared, chairs would be made empty and the servant attitude would run rampant. This behavior continued–by my own hands!–when I was a new graduate nurse and eventual staff nurse.
My time in that environment didn’t last long. I value respect, dignity and collaborative care among those I work with. This includes my peers, as well as those making the care decisions–namely, the physician.
I’ve talked before about the difference between community and urban hospital environments. It was during my time in a larger hospital that I received my best kudos ever.
I must admit, it’s not really what you would think. I can’t say it was a pat on the back or some material trinket-type gift.
The best kudos I ever received from a doc was the day two asked me for my opinion on my patient’s care. They wanted my input, valued the knowledge I brought to the table and respected my contribution to overall delivery of care. It bears mentioning I was asked by a critical care specialist and a world-renowned trauma surgeon who both possessed more than 15 years of experience.
I can still remember my frozen stature as I tried to sputter out my answers. I thought I was hallucinating. You have to remember, up until this time in my career, I was treated as a servant and not as a valued member of the health care team.Â [A side note: There were always exceptions during my time in the small community settings. There were physicians who collaborated with me, but they were few and far between.]
I can proudly say that those kudos I received that day were not the last of their kind. And I’d like to think I’m not the only nurse who has experienced this type of gift.
Call me old-fashioned, or call me a forward thinker, but breaking through the “nurse as a handmaiden” stereotype is something I hold near and dear to my heart.