Why doctors rely on nurses more than you think

I think we spend more working hours with nurses than with any other colleagues. They not only solve the problems of the patients, but most of the time, they even know more than doctors about the progress of every patient. I really rely on their assessment, and sometimes we make better decisions with a little discussion about the situation with each other. We have the same problems, we hate the same consultants, and most of the time, we are thinking on the same page when it comes to dealing with difficult patients and their attendants.

I feel as if my duty is incomplete if we don’t complain about some consultant who gives a lot of round orders to follow. We notice even who is wearing which lipstick, and we do tell each other about where the sale is going. Most of us even know about each other’s personal matters, and we know who is facing problems at home at the hands of his/her in-laws or spouses. My nurses always wait for me at the time of dinner or lunch whenever I am on duty with them in the inpatient department. The tea available at our hospital cafeteria is really bad, and most of our male nurses go out of the hospital premises to get really good tea from a tea stall at the roadside. They know that after a long and tiring day, I feel very sleepy, and they are so considerate towards me that they always bring tea for me after midnight, even without asking. They are like family to me.

I have always noticed that everyone has a different level of sincerity and passion with which they do their job. I know that our nurses do a great job when it comes to drawing blood samples, maintaining an intravenous line, and administering medications; they even change the patients’ clothes into hospital gowns all on their own. They are overburdened with work, but they still continue to do their work with honesty. Especially the nurses working in oncology, who are more empathetic towards every patient, whether elderly or sick children. They immediately go to listen to the patients whenever they press the bell.

I never realized their love and care towards the patients until the day I got really sick myself. They gave me a hospital bed in our own ward and took the responsibility of administering my medications all on their own, although I was not allowed to get admitted to our own ward. They took care of everything, and when my medication finished, and I wanted to get down from the bed, a nurse even placed my shoes in an ordered manner on the floor with his own hands to get me down from the bed in a comfortable manner. That day I realized how much empathy and consideration they hold towards their patients. A male nurse who works with me in the same ward would come to my home every day just to change my IV and administer all the medications, and that was free of cost because he was really considerate and respectful towards me.

I think you can never get to sleep on your night duty if you are not on good terms with your nurses. They manage the petty issues of the patients themselves if they have a soft corner for their favorite doctor. Otherwise, your duty can be miserable as well if your attitude towards your nurses is not friendly or if you speak to them rudely. It takes time to bond with your nurses, but my advice to all junior doctors, interns, house officers, and residents is to be patient with them until you form that bond. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy your work, and there is a high chance that you will make a lot more mistakes. Your attitude towards patients and your co-workers matters a lot for better coordination, and it not only makes your work simpler but also makes your workplace more comfortable for you to work in.

I want to thank all the nurses working all around the globe who work so honestly and shower their patients with love and care. They play a major role in every patient’s recovery and maintenance of their good spirits throughout their stay in the hospital. We could never do our best without the assistance of our nurses, and their kindness keeps us going.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia, author of Living, Loving and Learning

Damane Zehra is a radiation oncology resident in Pakistan.

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