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How Nurses Can Be Better Patients

When it comes to patient care, nurses are the superheroes of hospitals and clinics-they’re some of the only people on earth who seem to be able to be in multiple places at once, in complete control of their surroundings regardless of how chaotic the situation may be. But injuries and illnesses hit everyone eventually, and when nurses are in the hospital beds instead of beside them, many have trouble transitioning from medical professional to medical patient.

But just because nurses can have a reputation for being “the worst patients” doesn’t mean that they have to be, and simply paying attention to two potential conflict areas can go a long way towards making you an easier person to care for.

1. Allow Yourself To Give Up Control. As a nurse, you’re used to being in charge of the hospital room, the IV, the routine, etc, so it’s understandable that being in a hospital room without that control can be difficult to come to grips with. Remind yourself that it’s okay to let someone else take the wheel for a while, and even though you’re very familiar with what needs to be done inside your room, remember that your nurse may have her own ways of doing things.

“We are the caregivers and nurturers,” writes RN Kristin Powell. “We like to be in control, and we are so used to having that role that it’s virtually impossible to reverse it without becoming the wicked witch of the east. To be forced to rely on others to do what we feel, we do best is unbearable for us to endure.”

Recognize that you will feel the urge to take control, and do your best to resist.

2. Remind Yourself To Listen. Nurses, in general, know a lot. Some of that comes from training-such as your classes at Unitek College-and a lot comes from experience, and nurses need to recall the information quickly throughout the day and in all manner of situations. But this is a two-edged sword, because when we’re that knowledgeable on a subject, it makes it harder for people to feed us new information.

“Nurses… make their caretakers work hard to earn their trust — harder than they really need to sometimes,” writes nurse Shazia Memon. “One of my coworkers has no shame in interrogating her own doctors on their credibilities, and doesn’t take them seriously unless she approves of their medical school, residency, and fellowship (fellowships are a given in her book).”

It won’t always be easy, but do your best to trust your fellow nurses, your physicians, and your specialists. Remember, they want you back on your feet just as badly as you do.

You’re a superhero every time you put on those scrubs, but keep in mind, even Superman needed to take a vacation once in a while. Take advantage of the opportunity to rest and recuperate, because those opportunities can be few and far between. Trust us, there will still be plenty to do when you get back.

If you’d like more information on becoming a nurse or advancing your career in nursing, contact us here.