Nurse Writes an Open Letter After Being Labelled “Just a Nurse”
I recently read an article written by a nurse who on hearing the words ‘Just a nurse’ sat down and wrote an open letter on her social media account and recounted all the things she does, as ‘just a nurse’.
Now being a nurse myself for the last almost 12 years reading what she wrote has struck a chord with me. Would we call someone who educates our children and prepares them to be not only successful in life but as a person ‘just a teacher?’ Would we call someone who leaves their house every day to keep our streets safe whilst putting themselves in immediate danger ‘just a cop?’
Caitlin Brassington isn’t sure either and in her open letter she explains why. “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 patient’s hands and ensured their dignity while they take their last breath, and yet I am just a nurse.
I have counselled grieving parents after the loss of a child, 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
She writes that she has missed out on Christmas with her family and other significant events that if she wasn’t ‘just a nurse’ she would have been at. She is proud of herself and so she should be.
“So, if I am just a nurse, then I am ridiculously proud to be one!” she finishes with.
I hear you Caitlin, and no offence to my Doctor friends but it is the nurse you want.
I stand beside your sick baby. For 12 hours I am by your baby’s side. I don’t leave the room unless there is time to eat or if I am literally about to wet my pants.
I sit with you while you cry.
I comfort you when your baby deteriorates.
I leave you little notes when I work a night shift to tell you how your baby was overnight.
I sit in family meetings with you and have your back while the multiple medical team use big words that you wish weren’t about your baby.
I do all that.
It may not seem like much, comforting you and your family in your time of need.
But I can also breathe for your baby when they stop.
I can tell just by looking at one number on your baby’s monitor that he is in pain.
I can set up and use equipment that looks like it is from outer space, but it is actually equipment to help your baby heal.
I celebrate every tiny milestone with you, every gram gained and every milliletre drunk. I am your person, I am the person you want to advocate for your baby.
I make plans with you for each day, what you would like to do, when you would like to hold your baby and I am never late, even if it means not eating or staying after my shift.
I can put a cannula in the tiniest vein to give your baby fluids because she can’t eat.
I can take blood, dress a wound, and put a tube in your baby’s nose to help them eat.
I don’t do it because I get paid. I do it because I genuinely want to help you, your baby and your extended family who I now know too.
I also miss Christmas some years, birthdays, New years and there are often times when I should be home but I’m not; because I am looking after your family member. I am not with my family because I am with yours.
As your baby’s nurse you and I will learn to trust each other. There is a moment when you know I am ok. There’s an art to meeting someone and having them trust you with the life of their baby.
So if that makes me ‘just a nurse’ then Caitlin I am just as proud as you are!