You’re a nurse, right?

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Why are his hands swollen?! What does this bump mean?

These are the somewhat arbitrary but sometimes serious questions I get asked from my ‘non-medical’ friends and family. Fraught with good intentions and a need-to-know mentality, I somehow get ‘consulted’ to answer the ‘why’ questions for the medically and physically unexplainable signs and symptoms that they or their friends experience.

I don’t know if I should feel blessed or cursed sometimes. I am of course not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I cannot offer medical advice. It’s not only dangerous but extremely illegal.

I AM a Registered Nurse. Yes, I have specialized medical education and training. And yes, I have treated and cared for many patient’s with many illnesses. But, no I do not have an answer for everything.

I will offer suggestions and can talk of my own experiences, but dodging the flurry of bullet-like questions can be very challenging. I do not, and cannot offer medical advice or give medical direction. I’m not qualified, nor permitted to do so.

My answer always ends with the phrase, ‘You should REALLY have them follow up with their family physician’ (whomever they may be).

And with a perturbed grimace I always hear, ” Well I thought you were a nurse?”

Quieting my offended inner-voice, I calmly reply, “Why Yes, I am.”

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