Thursday, September 20, 2012

Unsung Hero: The Teaching Nurse

I saw them huddled on the couch in the waiting lounge on my way into the Maternity part of the hospital: the nursing students dutifully listening to their instructor at the start of their day. Their uniforms were clean, crisp, very new, and highly polyester. Everyone looked fresh and eager to learn. The instructor has the patience of a saint, you can tell. They have seen everything, and they are taking another brood of baby nurses under their wing ready to show them how to fly on their clinical rotations.

The Teaching Nurse is a very important individual. I would not have known about them if I had not been married to an E.R. Nurse who trained at a local Christian University. He had a B.S. R.N., one of the hardest degrees in nursing, and it was his skill that caught my attention in the first place. He used to make fun of 'the nursing process' over the dinner table, saying that it was cumbersome in practice. It helped to organize his approach to a patient, but that was it. I had never HEARD of the nursing process until dinner that night, and I had been in the wards for many years working side by side with my colleagues the R.N.'s.

What is important in this discussion is the very low pay for the academic nurse. My ex said everyone who graduates from nursing programs automatically will make more than their professors, sometimes as much as double, just starting out. He didn't know how they could stay in it. Didn't they know? What was their motivation? These people had been in the department for years and years, like an institution, stable and strong, guiding generation after generation of nursing students with a sure hand and an open heart. He was very thankful for their service, and remembered them with fondness as he spoke.

What does a nurse have to do to be able to help you with your health?

They have to apply and be accepted into a nursing program. These are competitive in this economy.
They have to take classes, sometimes having to wait for hard-to-get ones like a couple of semesters.
They have to study and take exams.
They have to learn in the hospital, seeing, asking questions, and doing under supervision from RN's.
They have to graduate.
They have to get a license.
They have to find work.
They have to have ACLS, PALS, and neonatal resuscitation up-to-date continuously.
They have to keep up with their continuing education units.
They have to be on time, dependable, and part of a staffing team at their department.
They have to be able and affable in their interaction with patients under their care.
They have to be strong and able to lift and turn people who outweigh them. They team up for this.
They have to have exceptional communication with doctors and manage upwards.
They have to understand the working of the hospital, the most complex organization on Earth, and work it to the advantage of their patient.

I have benefitted so much from my working relationship with nurses over my career. They don't just care about their patients. They care about me, too. I am so blessed to have worked side-by-side with them! And the Reiki Nurses that I know, through this blog, encourage me every step of the way. I bask in their Light they so freely share with the world. I am most grateful.


Reiki Doc