Thursday, April 25, 2019

Senator Walsh...Thank You.

Senator Walsh...Thank you.

Because or your flagrant words against some of the hardest-working members of our medical community, we have united to stand against you and rally for our "card-playing" nurses.

Like most of my medical family, I was astounded and frustrated at the belittling ignorance of Senator Walsh's recent comments about the amazing nurses throughout our great country. Senator Walsh's comments were felt not only by our hard-working nurses, who give a piece of their heart and soul with each and every shift, but also by the rest of our diverse medical community. Senator Walsh's comments were arrows directed at the hearts of our nurses. Yet,  those very arrows also hit the hearts of each of us who work beside them.

We all bled at Senator Walsh's blatant disrespectful and asinine words. Being health providers, though, we did what we do best--we stopped the bleeding. We strengthened the bonds of our medical family. We rallied to our nurses' sides. We hugged our nurses, we spoke words of inspiration to our nurses, and we reminded each one that their uniqueness and intelligence and hardwork could never be diminished by the throwaway and ridiculous words of one person.

Yes, Senator Walsh, you are that one person. Your words have no power to change our nurse's inherent strengths of empathy, of compassion, and of love for the patients they are privileged to treat. Your words will be your legacy. Your words have defined you. No one in the medical field will ever hear your name spoken or printed without being reminded of your lack of intelligence, of your lack of finesse, of your lack of respect, and of your lack of understanding of one of the most professionally and personally demanding jobs in our society. We rose above your words by reminding these very nurses of just how amazing they are. You strengthened us by your ignorant words.

For uniting us and strengthening our professional bonds, we should thank Senator Walsh.

Clearly, it is obvious that Senator Walsh has no idea what demands are placed on our nurses. Due to their staggering reality of dealing with many life and death situations during each shift, we should all rejoice to witness a nurse having a few minutes of respite from these pressures--whether it be on her phone calling her children, hugging a fellow nurse, sitting down to eat a bite or two of food, or smiling and laughing with a coworker. These rare minutes of escapism for our nurses are necessary to keep moving forward during a shift that sometimes wants to pull them under.

Below, I offer several sobering examples and questions to Senator Walsh to see just how much she truly understands the demands of a nurse's job.

Senator Walsh, have you...

...ever said a silent prayer over a 17 y.o. teenager  who didn't survive a car accident?
...ever held the hand of a 38 y.o. woman, a mother of three young children, while the doctor told her she has ovarian cancer that has spread to her liver, lymph nodes, and brain?
...ever hugged a dementia patient ten times because she didn't remember the first nine?
...ever hugged a man's four adult children and his wife just minutes after he was pronounced dead?

...ever given a patient eight units of blood to try to save her from a ruptured aortic aneurysm?
...ever been called a "f...ing bitch" by a drug-seeker?
...ever been swung at or kicked by a patient who used bath salts just 30 minutes earlier?
...ever treated a patient with a heart attack, a patient with severe COPD, a frightened college girl with an STD, and a family of four with cold symptoms--all at the same time?


...ever been covered in blood that wasn't yours?
...ever been covered in vomit that wasn't yours?
...ever been covered in diarrhea that wasn't yours?
...ever been covered in urine that wasn't yours?

...ever treated a rape victim?
...ever had beads of sweat on your forehead from performing CPR on a child? on a 50 y.o man?
...ever given an extra pillow and sandwich to a patient who doesn't thank you but rather complains that they don't like ham sandwiches?
...ever had to stand between a woman and man who are arguing over a pregnancy test?

...ever gone to a funeral of a person you only knew for two hours?
...ever held your urine three hours past the point of comfort?
...ever sobbed while holding a deceased SIDS baby in a rocking chair while the baby's mother held the living twin in another?
...ever missed every other holiday with your family to spend it with people who aren't?

...ever been handed a colored drawing by a child on chemotherapy who won't survive the year?
...ever eaten only three stale donuts in a day for your meals?
...ever been verbally abused or insulted by a patient who zooms in on your worst insecurities?
...ever seen a 6-month old being fed a bottle filled with Coke?

...ever fought a flood of emotions because your patient has the same eyes as your deceased mother?
...ever hold pressure on a pumping wrist artery of a patient who tried to kill himself?
...ever had to work four hours longer than expected, knowing your kids are at home needing dinner and help with their homework?
...ever felt isolated and alone because you can't express the words or release the tears in response to the daily pressures of your job?

Senator Walsh...have you ever been villianized and insulted by someone in the public eye who truly has no understanding of the pressures and heroics of your job and accuses you of spending most of your time "playing cards?"

Senator Walsh's answer, I would assume, to most of these questions above would be a resounding "NO."

The answer to most of these questions above, when asked to a majority of our country's great nurses, would be a resounding "YES!" And trust me, those few questions above don't even begin to explore and explain the depths of demands placed on our nursing staff.

Further, there is not one nurse--I repeat, not one nurse--in our country who will ever be able to answer "No" to the question of being insulted by someone in the public eye. I'm sure public insults have been issued before, but not in such an inflammatory and dismissive way as the manner in which Senator Walsh has chosen.

I find it pretty incredible to think that one's person's ignorant words and comments have fueled our great medical community to come together to support our nurses. I, for one, could not be happier for the outpouring of support, of love, and of appreciation that has been given to our nurses in light of Senator Walsh's words. I would not be able to stand here today as a competent and content physician had it not been for my "medical sisters" and "medical brothers," those nurses who have taught me, supported me, and stood by me through the very best and the very worst of what our jobs in the Emergency Department provide us.

To those of you affected by Senator Walsh's words, I salute you. For the lives of the patients you have saved, for the lives you have fought for, and for the lives you have influenced with your tremendous care and compassion, our medical community will always be appreciative and grateful. Please never forget that.

Heartfelt thanks...♥️

As always, big thanks for reading. Our nurses are some of the most amazing people I have, or will, ever meet. The demands of their jobs are relentless and unending. The outpouring of support for them has been well-deserved and long overdue. To work side-by-side with them has been my privilege...

To further understand the crisis involving today's medical climate, visit Defining Emergency.

Feel free to share and repost! Until next time...Jim

38 comments:

Unknown said...

Jim,
You always make me smile with your assessment of the world. Even after the week we've had. Thank you for the bottom of my heart

D. Buettner said...

As a retired RN, I would like to thank you for your support of nurses! Very nicely written!
D. Buettner

Anonymous said...

Thank you dearest friend as I sit here in tears. Thank you. ❤ Kim

Holly Ferrick Mukina said...

Dr. Kocjancic, thank you. Thank you for writing this and thank you for standing up for nursing. as I have witnessed many times working with you, this isn’t a soap box for a day but how you treat nurses every day. Thank you

Pam Meurer retired RN said...

Thank you for understanding and caring enough to write this.

Marci Palermo said...

Thank you so very much for your appreciation and support! Your words are heartfelt! The words of one very ignorant person will not bring us down. Instead they will unite us even stronger! God bless you!

Emmellcee said...

Thank you...From a Medical Sister

Catherine Anesini said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. And thank you for dedicating your career in Emergency Medicine, dealing with people when they are in their most vulnerable state. Physicians like you make our work as nurses so much easier. Thank you Dr Jim!

Carol Wilkinson RN said...

Oh my...Thank you so much!! That was absolutely the BEST...truly appreciate by this RN for sure. Bless You!

rpike418 said...

Well said, (or, in this case, typed),...but,...I've worked in hospitals along side nurses,.....always hard working, barely stopping for themselves! Caring,....it's what they do!

jimbo26 said...

With apologies -------------- Dear Ms Walsh , STOP BEING A SILLY LITTLE GIRL . Yours , Jim ( from `tother side of the Pond ) .

Sherl said...

My heart is so full right now...of tears. I have a daughter, a nurse for years on the midnight shift in the ER, who on more than one occasion called on her way home in the morning crying so hard about losing a stranger. Just broken hearted at how hard they tried to will this person to live. Thank you Jim for your words. They were perfect.

Deb Torok said...

I love you Marci.

Deb Torok said...

It’s been 2 of the worst back to back 12 hour shifts ever. I’m so spent. I’m crying reading this. Thanks for your kind words. Appreciation is so welcomed.

Katie brown said...

Kojo after working with you for so long I know that this is not just being said for a day but it truly comes from your heart. You have always stood by the staff when we needed it. You hit it spot on asking all those questions I bet senator Walsh can not say yest to even 1 of those.

Jenny said...

Powerful words Jim. God bless you.

Katie Axelson said...

I'm not even a nurse and I feel so supported, encouraged, and advocated for. Well said! :)

G-31 Toastmasters said...

Immediately forwarded to my favorite nurses.

AJ said...

As a new Nurse and having spent my first year of nursing in Washington Multicate Good Sam which is always short staffed. Your powerful words have reassured me and the whole nursing body that we are not alone. G-d bless you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comments. We the medical community have a boundless bond that cannot be broken. By fools like Sen Walsh. We are iron clad. We will continue to work hard to save lives. That is our comittment to our patients and God. Thank you doc. From an ED trauma RN

Unknown said...

Beautiful words! It means the world to nurses to be supported by their coworkers. After 45 years in the profession I was appalled at Sen Walsh's words. I much prefer yours...they are the truth. And I've never seen a deck of cards at work in all those years!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your support.....

Anonymous said...

Well said Dr K. I couldn’t agree more. Our nurses are our front line. I pity the person who dares to take them on.
- Jessie C

Barb said...

Thank you - from a nurse, now no longer working who is just too tired of fighting because there just weren't enough people in my life like you....

Unknown said...

Thank you for your support for my profession
It is greatly appreciated.Beautiful words written by a beautiful soul
Joy Ballance RN

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jim:

So eloquently written! I hope you send it to her! I think she needs to shadow a few nurses from different hospital settings on back to back 12 hour shifts (days & overnights) & see what she has to say for herself? I suspect she wouldn’t make it the first 12 in a Level 1 Trauma ER or any ER for that matter.

As a former educator (left due to disability) I’d love all of those people in office who dump on teachers & pass laws that are impossible to abide by if you want to keep our students as priority! I’d also like them to shadow teachers in all types of student populations! Instead, we have a Secretary of Education currently in office that has NO public school experience. NONE! ZIP! ZILCH! She, her family & own kids have never step foot in one (for educational purposes) . How can you dictate what we need & don't needed w/ a one sided view. And we still need so much in the form of staff & resources as I’m sure you do as well, Dr. Jim!

Beautiful letter!

Anonymous said...

I can't catch my breath. I am sitting here and in awe at the power of your words. Your essay has captured everything that had needed to be said in response to Senator Walsh's clear disrespect. You need to be recognized for defending our profession.
Thank you (although it doesn't seem to be nearly enough)!
Mary Sue

Anonymous said...

Doc, thank you for your very well written comments! They brightened my day. Signed, A Tired ER Nurse

Unknown said...

Dr. Jim thank you so much for taking the time to write such a beautiful letter. I have been in nursing over 30 years. And even though the work is sometimes so physically demanding and mentally challenging how blessed are we to help another human being at some of the worst points in their life. Thank you so much for writing such beautiful words that describe what we go through on a daily basis I cried when I read your heartfelt words

Unknown said...

thank you. it is difficult for most people to understand what is involved in our profession. Your words and your opinion are greatly appreciated by all nurses.

Marnie Ward said...

I retired recently after 47 years in this glorious profession, the last 30 in an ER department! I could answer "yes" to every single question but I don't regret any of it. Thank you from my heart for your wonderfully understanding and perceptive words.....you must be fabulous to work 😍

Unknown said...

Carol!!!!! He is one of the best docs ever! Always has our backs when patients are violent and does not put up with us getting abused! One of the best docs! Truly an amazing soul!

Anonymous said...

Good site you have here.. It's difficult to find quality writing like yours these days.
I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

Anonymous said...

Hey very nice blog!

Lorna Agnesi said...

I live in Canada and was appalled by the Senator`s comments.I have friends who are or were nurses and I appreciate the dedication and hard work they do.Shame on you Senator Walsh.Perhaps you should shadow an 'ER' nurse for a busy weekend and see what the job entails. Lorna Agnesi

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finally writing about >"Senator Walsh...Thank You." <Loved it!

Anonymous said...

This is so heartfelt. I teared up reading this because as a critical care RN I have experienced most of all the examples you stated. Thanks for your support and recognition of what we do.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for standing up for some of our best citizens. Nurses rock.