Published in USA Today
By Naomi Judd
When an RN enters a patient’s room, they can never know what they will encounter. A very ill patient in pain asks for morphine, which will require an automated pump. The IV bag is running out, the bed-ridden patient has soiled himself, oxygen rate blowing through his nasal cannula needs to be monitored. The IV site going into the patient’s arm must be carefully checked, and its bandage changed by sterile technique. After inserting a catheter in his bladder, a collection bag is hung on the side of the bed. It must be measured and emptied periodically. The nurse must be mindful of strict times to give regular medicines… Oh, by the way, this nurse has eight other patients.
Real life heroes
In other departments RNs are saving lives in dramatic emergencies in trauma units. They are delivering babies, quieting crack-addicted newborns, witnessing death, giving hope to cancer patients, sadly informing relatives their loved one has died. And it’s never far from their mind that one mistake can cause pain, injury or even death. Nurses play many roles: Healer, comforter, listener, therapist, educator, business administrator, RN instructor, family mediator.
These are everyday heroines and heroes. I love and admire these empathetic, caring, hardworking and underpaid middle-class Americans. I cherish a bond of kinship, comradery like that between police, fireman, teachers and soldiers. If only this world was fair, these professions would pay what athletes and entertainers make.
To anyone considering a career in nursing, I highly recommend it! To somebody considering a career change, I entered nursing school in my thirties. I earned much more than a degree—I earned self-respect, independence, knowledge and skills I use every day. When I became a patient in 1990, because of the life threatening Hepatitis C, I was forced to end my singing career. I will never forget the excellent care I experienced firsthand.