Marce Writes
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Marce Writes

It Took a Pandemic to Praise ER Nurses

“That doctor saved my life,” “If it wasn’t for that doctor, I wouldn’t be here today.”

We keep hearing these praises every day in emergency rooms around the country, and they are very well deserved, but do we ever look to those who are behind the show, too? Do we ever stop to thank that person that took care of us first? That cared for us when we were at our worst, and that brought comfort when we needed it most?

I am talking about nurses. Nurses are educated and highly competent clinicians, yet many see them as just the doctor’s help during their medical visits. That is all changing now, but did it really have to take a pandemic for that to happen?

The definition of a nurse is a person trained to care for and give medical attention to the ill, this is exactly what they do each and every shift for 12 hours with several different patients. Emergency room nurses meet patients on the worst day of their life, but they are rarely ever remembered as the reason for their improved health.

When you go into the emergency room, your first point of contact will typically be a nurse. That nurse will triage you, asses you for life threatening injuries, draw blood, and administer any necessary life saving medications. Nurses assess and treat a wide variety of patients from pediatrics to geriatric, mentally ill to terminally ill. They do all this day in and day out without ever wanting or needing recognition.

Nurses are constantly putting their life on the line, having to deal with unstable, enraged, aggressive patients and families. Currently, emergency room nurses are typically the first point of contact with COVID patients, they are also the ones caring for them, and administering any medication they need.

Nurses are spending 10 minutes to gown up with appropriate PPE: Masks, gown, goggles, hair net, and booties just to spend as little time in the room as possible to make sure their patient is taken care of, while hoping they minimize the risk of themselves getting infected. The donning and doffing of PPE is done multiple times an hour throughout a 12 hour shift without complaints.

Not only are nurses risking their own health to save others, they are also risking the health of their loved ones. They are giving up seeing family and friends because they rather not risk infecting them, some of them living isolated in their own homes, or finding where to leave their kids and not seeing them months at a time.

Nurses are the main health care provider going in to work daily during challenging times like these, not expecting anything less than making a difference or an impact to help during the pandemic. Nurses do not seek, nor ask, for the attention as a result of this pandemic, but it has been a gratuitous acknowledgement that has been well received and in due time.

Prior to COVID, nurses got very little to no recognition as being a leading caregiver in society today. Nurses are not considered a first responder, so many people disregarded them and took them off the hero category.

I hope we can all keep appreciating and treating nurses with the respect they deserve. From the bottom of my heart, thank you nurses!



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