Taking Time to Appreciate Nurses

Karen Berger, PharmD
Published Online: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Washington state Senator Maureen Walsh created a social media uproar last week after saying that nurses in smaller hospitals "probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day" during a debate about legislation that would give nurses uninterrupted meal and rest periods. Social media has been exploding with reactions to this statement, and this week, she apologized, according to an article in the Washington Post. There is a petition with almost 700,000 signatures for Senator Walsh to shadow a nurse for a 12-hour shift to have the opportunity to walk a day in a nurse's shoes.

Nurses are under extremely stressful working conditions, often multitasking and understaffed, and many nurses do not have enough time to eat or use the restroom.

Pritee Rudnick, RN, is a member of a rapidly growing Facebook group called Nurses With Cards. In several days, the group has grown to more than 215,000 members, and is growing by the hour.

Rudnick, like many of the members of the Facebook group, is having fun with her colleagues at work, joking about playing cards. Although thousands of nurses sent decks of cards to Senator Walsh, many with large amounts of glitter included, Rudnick chose not to partake. “She doesn’t deserve a gift, I deserve one!” she said. Rudnick advocates for the nursing profession, explaining that “nurses in all areas of the profession work really hard taking care of patients from the community to the hospital.”

Many members of the health care profession quickly came to the defense of nurses, showing support for the profession that earns the top spot in the Gallup poll year after year for honesty and ethics. This is what some pharmacists had to say about nurses:

  • “Nurses are the best! When I call for a prior authorization or to change a medication to something that is covered by insurance, nurses are always very helpful in assisting the pharmacy in helping the patient get their medication.” - Maurice Shaw, PharmD
  • “Nurses do so much for their patients. They give and they endure difficulties. They never even complain when bad things happen. They are so empathetic and understanding to their patients.” - Gunda Siska, PharmD
  • “It takes a special type of person to be a nurse. They truly are unappreciated for what they do. Some of my best friends are nurses and I tell them regularly how I couldn’t do what they do.” - Chrystalynne M. Bechtel, PharmD
  • “Nurses can make or break a hospital/office. Nurses spend much more time with patients than a doctor has time to, and can notice changes that the doctor may not see. A great nurse can save your life! Also, shout out to the glorious nurses who helped me through the birth of my son. They were angels.” - Sarah L. White, PharmD
  • “Nurses have the amazing ability to calm. I see it all the time in the unit I work in. They can take the most scared kid and completely calm them down and get them ready for any treatment they need. Nurses are also the patient’s advocate in the hospital. They are indispensable.” - Krista Cira, PharmD
  • “One nurse in particular that I work with closely goes above and beyond with every one of her patients, treating them all like family. She will go to their homes in the middle of the night, a few hours away if necessary, taking time away from her own family to teach, care, start new infusions, and make them feel more comfortable. Her patients become her family and she treats them as such. It’s more than a job, it’s a calling.” - Shea R. Pitts, PharmD
  • “I was on bedrest after going into early labor, and spent 36 days in the hospital. The nurses held my hands and prayed with me. One of the nurses had recently lost her own child and still took care of me with a smile on her face. My family was not nearby, and the nurses sat with me around the clock. They made the hospital a home for me. My baby was born full term because of these nurses. I can’t put into words how much respect I have for nurses. As Mother Theresa says, ‘it’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.’” - Bhavana Mutha, PharmD

On behalf of pharmacists everywhere, thank you to all of the caring and hardworking nurses out there, and if any of us ever get a break, we should arrange a giant card game!

Rudnick noted that Nurse Appreciation Week is just 2 short weeks away, May 6-12. National Nurses Week is celebrated annually through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
 







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