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Nurses Shining Exception to Public's Dim View of Healthcare

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 1, 2012

My toddler-aged daughter, who was born with a spinal cord disorder, has spent more days in the hospital or doctor's office than most kids, whether it was for surgeries, ultrasounds, blood work, x-rays, MRIs, or a battery of other reasons.

Yes, doctors were the ones who performed the complicated surgeries and who swooped in and out of her hospital room for a few minutes a day with herds of interns and all the answers.

But nurses were there for me for the all other stuff, the stuff that doesn't get billed for or taught. It was a nurse who got me extra blankets when I was camped out for days on a fold-out chair next to my daughter's hospital bed. A nurse who rewarded Chloe with a pink pinwheel and strip of princess stickers after an ultrasound. A nurse who dug through her desk drawer to find a tiny white teddy bear for Chloe to take home after getting blood drawn.

It was a nurse who sang "Yellow Submarine" with me in an effort to ease some particularly uncomfortable testing. And nurses who popped into Chloe's hospital room throughout the day, not because she was their patient, but because they heard she was a really cute baby and wanted to say hi. Nurses sent us home from the hospital with stashes of extra supplies and tricks for everything from changing diapers to changing wound dressings.

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2 comments on "Nurses Shining Exception to Public's Dim View of Healthcare"


Jodi Gunther (5/2/2012 at 12:39 PM)
I am glad that nurses have been able to assist you and your family during your daughter's health problems. As a professional nurse however, it would be nice to be recognized for the training and skills that we bring to health care and not just the "warm fuzzies". Nursing is a complex profession requiring many hours of study and training. We are with you 24/7 at the bedside. Nurses are the ones who call the doctors to tell them about changes in a patient's condition. Just once I'd like to read an article that speaks to our education, skills, and experience, rather than those things mentioned in your article.

Steve Levine (5/2/2012 at 10:39 AM)
Hey - nurses are great. No question. (I'm married to one, and my daugher is one.) They have and continue to provide great care for patients. Indispensible. But to argue that nurses are a reputation exception in health care is wrong. Take a look at the excellent, multi-part project National Journal published this month, with great interviews based on 2011 Gallup numbers. http://nationaljournal.com/features/restoration-calls/in-nothing-we-trust-20120419 The "medical system" is one of the few American institutions whose trust has actually INCREASED over the past decade. And, in a special part of the series about physicians, National Journal reports, "Gallup, which has polled on public trust in professionals every year since 1976, reports high and rising marks for doctors. In the latest survey, from 2011, 70 percent of respondents rated medical doctors as high or very high when asked about their "honesty and ethical standards," a record. When the Kaiser Family Foundation asked Americans whom they trusted in 2009[INVALID]the height of the debate over the health care law[INVALID]78 percent said they believed that their doctors put patients' interests ahead of their own." http://www.nationaljournal.com/features/restoration-calls/why-we-trust-doctors-20120419?page=1 Check it out.