Nurses are the unsung heroes of our healthcare system. They may not make as much money as doctors do, nor do they get as much credit, but they work just as hard and sometimes do jobs that are just as difficult and mentally taxing.
In fact, our first and last experiences at hospitals are usually taken care of by nurses, making them the first and last people we see when we get sick. And yet, despite their importance, we sometimes fail to recognize the centrally important position they have in taking care of us.
It can be demoralizing and shocking for some.
When Caitlin Bassington, a nurse from Toowoomba, Australia, went shopping for milk in her nurse’s uniform, the response she received from an acquaintance initially shocked her. The acquaintance was surprised that Bassington was “just a nurse.”
But for Bassington, who takes pride in her important job, the initial disappointment brought about by the comment prompted her to do some soul-searching. As soon as Bassington got home, she wrote an incredible response that serves as a beautiful tribute to nurses everywhere. In a Facebook post Bassington wrote:
“Am I just a nurse?”
“I have helped babies into the world, many of whom needed assistance to take their first breath, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I have held patients hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I have counseled grieving parents after the loss of a child, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I have performed CPR on patients and brought them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I am the medical officers eyes, ears and hands with the ability to assess, treat and manage your illness, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can [examine] every lung field on a newborn and assess which field may have a decreased air entry, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can educate patients, carers, and junior nurses, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I am my patients advocate in a health system that does not always put my patients best interest first, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I will miss Christmas Days, my children’s birthdays, and school musicals to come to work to care for your loved one, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can take blood, cannulate and suture a wound, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can manage a cardiac arrest in a newborn, a child or an adult, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I can tell you the dosage of adrenaline or amiodarone based on weight that your child may need to bring them back to life, and yet I am just a nurse.”
“I have the experience and knowledge that has saved people’s lives.”
“So, if I am just a nurse, then I am ridiculously proud to be one!”
One commenter beneath Bassington’s Facebook post said it best: “I think that just a nurse is just a hero!”