9 Ways Nurses Work for You

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The importance of nurses within many facets of the medical field.

By Donna Cardillo, RN

I recently had the honor of being a guest on The Dr. Oz Show for a segment titled “Nurses’ Secrets That Can Save Your Life.” Click here to watch the video.

During my brief time on camera, I gave a quick overview of the role nurses play in health care and information that is helpful to those requiring health-care services. But there was so much more I wanted to share with viewers. So, I decided to recap here what I said on camera and add a few details that I didn’t have time to state.

The role of the nurse is in keeping you healthy and well, helping you to heal when necessary, providing you comfort and care, supporting you and your loved ones at the end of life, and bringing new life into the world.

Here are nine ways and places that nurses work for you and with you:

 1. While many people think of nurses as “assistants” to the physician, we are actually equal partners in health care, each with a separate and unique, yet vital, role. One is not an elevated version of the other.

2. Nurses are your primary caregivers while in the hospital, not your physician. It is the nurse that is coordinating, managing and delivering your care. We’re also leading the care team on your hospital unit.

3. We are your 24-7 frontline caregivers. We are observing and evaluating your care and condition on a minute-to-minute basis, watching for any subtle changes in your condition. We initiate lifesaving measures as needed, make health and care decisions, and expertly minister to your needs.

4. We are your primary health-care advocate. Since nurses are overseeing and coordinating your care, they are often the first ones to notice an error, an omission or a discrepancy. Likewise, if there is something you are concerned or confused about, the RN in charge of your care can help you. We consult and confer with all care providers, make recommendations, and question other’s treatment plans when necessary. It is our goal to make you feel – and be – safe and cared for.

5. Many nurses are certified in their specialty, giving them additional expert knowledge and skill.

6. Nurses help you navigate your way through a complex and often confusing health-care system. This is particularly important if you receive a diagnosis of cancer or other serious illness.

7. It’s important to remember that nurses don’t just work in hospitals or with sick people. We are in the community in nurse-led clinics, in the public health sector, in schools, in wellness centers, hospice, homecare, and in business and industry.

8. When you go to a hospital, you may have surgery, tests and procedures, but you are primarily there for nursing care. And if you want to know which hospitals/facilities have the best nursing care, just ask a nurse in the community.

9. If you’re looking for the best physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists or nurse midwives, ask a nurse. Physicians don’t work with all of these primary care providers but nurses do, so they know who’s tops and who’s not.

In any setting, registered nurses are your partners in health and in health care.

Donna Cardillo, RN travels the world helping nurses to be happy in their careers and to reach their full potential. She is fiercely passionate about nursing and about life in general. You may know Donna as “Dear Donna” at Nursing Spectrum and NurseWeek magazines where she writes a regular column and doles out daily online career advice at nurse.com. She is also an “Expert” Blogger at DoctorOz.com – the first and only nurse blogging there! Donna is author of 3 books: Your First Year as a Nurse, The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses, and a Daybook for Beginning Nurses.  She has received numerous awards and recognitions but is most proud of being named a Diva in Nursing by the Institute for Nursing in NJ for outstanding achievements and excellence in practice. Donna has been referred to as the Ann Landers and the Dr. Phil of the nursing profession. Regardless of who she’s compared to, there’s no denying that she has her own unique style, indomitable spirit, and uproarious sense of humor.

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