I was enjoying a cup of coffee this morning and indulging in one of my favorite guilty pleasures…looking on the internet for funny or inspiring nursing memes or photos. I came across this one and immediately had  reaction. A negative one.

nursing meme

Whoever wrote this is not a nurse

Whoever wrote this meme is not a nurse, or is the worst kind of nurse…I can’t decide. This person clearly believes that a nurse is a pill pusher and nothing more. This author demeans the profession and positions nurses simply as someone who can bring you a physician-prescribed pill rather than intervene appropriately based on assessment and the nursing process.

Guess what? I massage my patients. Sometimes it’s exactly what they need. Imagine lying in bed for days on end, hooked up to a ventilator and you finally get to sit up. How good would it feel to have someone massage some lotion into your back…a back marked with linen creases and aching from lack of movement? Imagine that you’re suffering through critical illness myopathy and your muscles have become contracted with lack of use? How good would it feel to have someone massage the muscles of your hand and bring some movement and fluidity back into your fingers? Imagine that it is you, lying in that bed, completely dependent on others. How good would it feel to have someone give you exactly what you need, rather than what’s simply easiest for them?

Yes, we’re all busy…sometimes enormously so. But consider that in the time it takes for the RN to go to the medication room, draw up the medication, possibly find someone to witness the waste and then return to the room, s/he could have quickly alleviated the patient’s discomfort, connected with another human being and done actual real hands-on nursing care. Emphasis on the word “care.”

By limiting nursing to the role of simply giving meds and carrying out doctor’s orders, nurses strip themselves of their autonomy and patients of their humanity.[bctt tweet=”By limiting nursing to giving meds and carrying out orders, nurses strip their autonomy and patients of their humanity”] And this is coming from a nurse who gets a thrill out of having a patient on nine continuous infusions, multiple vasopressors and max vent settings…because I love a challenge and I love complex critical care. But I also love people. And connecting with them. And nursing them back to health. And sometimes what they need from their nurse, the person they have entrusted to their wellbeing, is actual hands-on care. A hand to hold, someone to talk to, someone who will urge them toward wellness by walking them down the hall even when every step is a monumental task, and yes…someone to massage their feet.

When do you feel most like a nurse? Is it when you’re carrying out doctor’s orders, or thinking, assessing, intervening and connecting with another human being?


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