Year of Publication: 1978
The Nurse is a true life story about a nurse, and all stories and explanation are all true. The book has 21 chapters.
As young nurses, we want to know why nursing is the way it is, why nurses face so much in the ward, why the public thinks bad of nurses and does not recognize nurses as professionals. The truth is there are so many unanswered questions about nursing and I think this book answered most of it.
Peggy talked about a nurse’ journey from final year, postings, to her journey at work. I was surprised when the author of this book mentioned some facts in this book that is still affecting nursing today. Despite, having written the book about 41 years ago.
“But nursing is not just technical. Anyone can do physical care. You can teach a robot to give a bed bath. To me, a good nurse is someone who puts some caring behind the physical care. Being a nurse is not like working on an assembly line. People are sick. You can’t rush a post-op, getting out of bed for the first time even when you’re one nurse short that day. There are thirty-six different personalities. People are afraid. They’re depressed. They may be angry. They may be alone. They may have no place to go. They may be dying, They have questions. They need reassurance. They may need to learn how to adjust their lives to changes in their bodies. They may need to cry. They may need to laugh. They need support. Most often they get it from their families. But sometimes the families are unable to give it. Sometimes there is no family. Sortie patients get support from their doctors. But the doctors, like the families, come and go. Doctors may not be able to give what the
patient needs. Nurses may not, either. But we’re the ones who spend the most time with the patients. Twenty-four hours a day. Seven days a week. Three hundred
and sixty-five days a year, When a patient’s light goes on, it’s a nurse who goes into the room.” Page 45
Here are the lessons I learned from the book.
1. You have to be inspired to go into nursing
If you are still a student nurse, or you are aspiring to be a nurse, or you are a registered nurse, you need to ask yourself what inspired you.
2. No nurse is perfect, no matter how much you try you have your weakness.
Has it ever occurred to you that you love attending to elderly patients more than younger folks?
You love wound dressing more than drug administration
You love bed bathing, and frown and oral toileting. You can’t even stand the watch of your patient vomiting, it makes you nauseous.
What do you think about these differences?
We all are humans, and everyone has a weakness.
The fact that you get nauseous when you see patient vomiting does not make you less a nurse, it only shows that you are human.
Stop dwelling on your ‘weakness’, if you choose to call it that way and see how you can be better in your strength.
3. Your knowledge is what makes you a nurse
Things are not always the way we were taught in the class, there are times we face situations, and we need to act up, whether in no pressure of under pressure.
When you face a challenge at work, ask questions from the next door nurse, talk to your superior officer.
4. Have confidence
Nurses are the largest part of the hospital, yet we are the weakest because we lack confidence. A highlight from the book says you can disagree on a particular doctor’s plan if there is an established fact. That is why we have teammates, ask your colleagues questions when you seem lost.
5. See nursing as a profession
There is so much to say about this, a lot of nurses do not know what to say when asked what a nurse does and if nursing is a profession. No thanks to quackery in Nigeria, so many people claiming to be a nurse without adequate knowledge about what nursing is all about, without a license and certificate.
“Many nurses want to bring their own intelligence to the job and are becoming aggressive about doing so. A lot of our time is still spent carrying out orders written by doctors. But more and more often nurses are questioning those orders. Questioning is considered good nursing judgment. So is making suggestions to doctors about things that might help patients. So is refusing to carry out an order that you disagree with, as long as you do it according to established procedures. I think a nurse must make decisions that affect what she’s doing, If she’s a robot, she’s nothing. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on that point. Most nurses consider nursing a profession. Many doctors do not. In fact, some doctors don’t even see nurses as having thinking brains. Many nurses I know are re-evaluating whether they’re going to stay in nursing because they don’t know whether they can cope with the constant battle to prove themselves, professionals.”
6. It is okay to walk away
I know that nurses are to have empathy for their patients, it is also fine if you choose to walk away because you are drained emotionally. You should have a line between your personal life and your career, and learn not to cross that line.
“Customers are always right”, sometimes you can’t change your patient’s perspective, hence you need to walk away to avoid recurrent depression. Never allow any patient or patient’s relative make you feel you are not doing enough, or less important.
7. Teamwork is essential
I love the way teamwork was displayed in this book. Not everyone can stand the sight of a patient throwing up, the person who can stand that stays back. With teamwork, patients will receive quality health care, and they will all respect the profession.
How is your teamwork with your colleagues?
Summary, the book is loaded and interesting. It is a novel, and it is expository. I was emotional while reading the book, I realized we are where we are today in nursing because we nurses chose to be here.
We can make a difference
We can be the new tribe of nursing
The new generation
We can change the narrative, only if we are ready to work together and be the Nurse we should be.
The book is available on Amazon if you want to read.
I hope you got value?