Today is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. It’s also the last day of National Nurses Week. It seems like an appropriate opportunity to highlight the dedication and hard work of the nursing profession.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week shadowing nurses in a hospital emergency department (ED) as part of a pre- and post-occupancy study Herman Miller Healthcare is conducting to compare the hospital’s existing facility to a new space that will be ready later this year.
It was a privilege and a humbling experience to spend 50 hours with the ED nurses. I expected the nurses to be caring and professional to all patients but I did not fully appreciate the difficult and stressful conditions under which ED nurses must maintain their professionalism. The tremendous respect I have for them and other health professionals has only grown.
Everyone who came through the door was treated with equality and received the same quality of care, whether it was someone with a sore throat who should not have been in the ED, or a frequent visitor to the ED hoping for a few pain relievers, or a chest pain sufferer who needed immediate attention. Large or small, frivolous or urgent, everyone was respected and cared for. The nurses certainly were frustrated with patients or worn down by a busy day in the ED but I never saw this come out during an interaction with the patient.
Thanks to all the nurses for their dedication to their patients. And special thanks to the nurses that allowed me to spend time with them. Florence Nightingale would be proud.