Nurses are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of the medical world. From hospitals, schools, homes to correctional facilities, nurses work in a wide variety of settings, providing medical care and support to millions around the world.
Mamamia spoke to three nurses about their job and about some of the things a lot of people may not know about what they do.
“I love working weekends,” and other things nurses never say. Post continues after this video.
1. We do not know everything.
Nurses are obviously highly educated, medical professionals but like all of us, they do not know it all and often this is one of the misconceptions of nurses.
“We are not a medical dictionary,” Tanya*, a Queensland nurse of eight years told Mamamia.
“So many people expect us to know all of the answers for everything, but the reality is we often don’t have them. The nature of our job often means a wide variety of medical issues are presented to us on any one day and they all vary depending on so many factors, so it can be really hard to just provide an answer at the drop of a hat,” she said.
2. No, we cannot bring home supplies!
“People think we can go to work to shop for medical supplies, the number of things I’ve been asked for is ridiculous,” Mandy*, a nurse of 28 years told Mamamia.
“People think we are like Nurse Jackie, with unlimited access to whatever we want. They often half joke about us bringing home some ‘good stuff’ for them” said Tanya “but we know they really want us to!”
3. We see and deal with some really devastating things.
The reality of working within the medical profession means seeing heart wrenching scenes regularly and first hand.
“Nurses are often the staff that have built the really strong relationships with patients and their family, especially if a patient has been at the hospital for an extended period of time. This can often mean we are the literal shoulder to cry on or hand to hold in some of the toughest moments,” Tanya said.
Mandy told Mamamia about the upsetting experiences which have resonated with her.
“I have seen it all in nursing and mostly families want the best for their loved ones but sometimes we see really uncaring families, and this is so hard to deal with and witness. It is quite heartbreaking to see a patient in such a bad state and a family that just doesn’t care, or worse, wishes them harm. Once I had a patient who had a husband deliberately harming his wife in hospital, so he didn’t have to have her home,” she explained.