6 Things Only Nurses Will Understand

Nurses have a special understanding of how the world and the profession works. In some ways, there are things that happen on the nursing floor that only we would understand.

Instead of having a jargon like most professions, nursing has a wealth of axioms that we know are applicable to certain situations. Here is a list of six things that only nurses would understand because of the way our professional lives play out.

1. Even Nurses Make Mistakes

It hurts every time, but nurses do make mistakes, and not many outside of the profession realize this. Yes, we are human, but lives are on the line.

Some nurses take great shame in the mistakes they make, but it is part of the job. Hopefully, the mistake is caught early and no one gets hurt, but even small ones can make a nurse skittish.

2. Coworkers Can Make All the Difference

Sure, many professions rely on their coworkers to help them, but nursing is much different. Sometimes, the coworkers on your shift are all that stands between you and insanity.

Nursing seems to be a team sport, and we need our coworkers to help us through. Whether it is a code, overwhelming med pass, or a doctor who is being unprofessional, we often turn to coworkers to help us through the worst of our shift.

3. Good Shoes are Like Gold

Oh, what a nurse wouldn’t give for a decent pair of shoes! We are on our feet all day, and sometimes the difference between a good shift and a bad one is the relative comfort of our footwear.

It isn’t unusual for nurses to have several tried and discarded brands of shoes that just didn’t fit the bill. Once that mythical comfortable shoe is found, though, we invest our money and our loyalty without question.

4. Doctors Don’t Know Everything

The general public believes that doctors run the show and nurses are little more than glorified medical secretaries. Of course, we know that this isn’t true, and we oftentimes help doctors more than they help us.

How many times have you told a doctor the appropriate order or discussed a patient’s course of treatment? Nursing is a collaboration between doctor and nurse, and not many in the public understand how much of that collaboration comes from the nursing side.

5. Sometimes, There’s Nothing We Can Do

Most of us came into the profession to help people, heal them, and make them better. Only nurses understand, though, that sometimes there is nothing we can do to help some people get better.

It is a sad realization for a nurse that we can’t save them all, and sometimes this can eat away at a nurse’s ability to function. We have to realize, though, that we are not superhuman, and we can only do what we can while fate or destiny or God or the body takes its course.

5. Nurses Insist on Being DNR

Finally, many nurses I know want to have DNR tattooed on their chest because we know what it is like to be on life support, tubed and trached, and not really living a life. Some people may wonder why we don’t want heroic efforts to save our lives, but sometimes those efforts are more painful than helpful.

Nurses understand that it is quality, not quantity, of life that matters, and we don’t want to live like some of our patients are forced to live. Some people need to be a DNR, and they are not, causing us to use heroic measures that hurt and are ultimately futile.