Dear Patient and Patient’s Relative

I don’t know your name Mr. Relative and for the moment I don’t really care. Your face is painted in my head and I badly need a gun right now. I don’t hate you. I hate what you did.

We nurses have the noblest profession there is. We spend twelve hours a day to take care of you sick people. We spend twelve hours a day to monitor your vital signs, to help you eat your meal, to help you go to the bathroom, to give your medicines, to give your nebulizations, to accompany you to the radiology department, to flush your toilet, to lower down the AC level, to give you a blanket, to answer every question you have in mind eventhough we already answered it for the nth time, to do our nurses notes, plot your vital signs in our flowsheet, to deal with doctors, medtechs, radiology technicians, housekeepers and many others. Yes, we do this everyday (and more) for a five digit salary and what do we get from taking care of you? Learning. Education at different levels. Professionally, emotionally and all. And what do we get from taking care of you? The risk of contracting a blood borne or airborne disease no matter how many times we do the hand washing and the risk of getting varicose veins and lower back pain. The best thing we get from you? BEING SHOUTED UPON BY A COMPLETE STRANGER ONLY BECAUSE I WAS NOT IN FRONT OF YOU MOM’S BED WHILE I WAS ENDORSING.

YES, in nursing or in any medical field we have this thing called endorsement. If you don’t know it, I will tell you. Endorsement is a process where in you give a brief history of your patient, what happened during your shift, what were the lab works and other investigations done, diet, the vital signs, the doctors in-charge and the consultations. We do a lot of things in the endorsement and since we are in the intensive care unit as you yourself said, WE GET BUSY DURING ENDORSEMENT AND WE DO ENDORSEMENT IN THE NURSE STATION NOT IN FRONT OF YOUR MOTHER’S ROOM JUST SO WE CAN SEE HER. To add, since you are not in so-so hospital, you are actually admitted in a private hospital with a Canadian Accreditaion, we also have this thing called monitors in which we can see our patient’s vital signs (heart rate, BP, O2 saturation. ECG and hell yeah even your effin respirations!). Yes, we have LCD monitors in our station and if you can’t see from our 14″ LCD monitor, we can turn on the 40″ plasma screen just for you so just you would know that we are monitoring your mother even if we are BUSY with the endorsement. The monitors have also this thing called alarms so we know if the vital signs are not stable. I put yours on PRIVACY mode so as not to disturb youralready disturbed mother when it alarms, but since we have really good monitors even from the station we will know if she is not doing okay.

YES, WE DO CARE FOR YOUR MOTHER AND WE DO CARE FOR THE OTHER PATIENTS TOO. I have two patients in the ICU today. I spent 99% of my time for your mother, my other patient who was in pain last night and didn’t get some sleep I only get to see him when I give him insulin or check his CBG because I was TOO BUSY looking after your mother who happens to have decreased level of conciousness probably because of encephalitis which we also can’t give a final diagnosis because of the fact that we can’t do the diagnostic procedure like lumbar puncture, MRI, CT scan, etc. to rule out such disease because she is uncooperative, agitated and irritable, (hell she even covers her ears when I check the tympanic temperature)but unfortunately we can’t sedate her (God knows how much I wanted to).

YES we do care for your mother and please don’t shout in the station demanding someone to be in front of the patient’s room. WE have feelings too you know. And you can call you “backer”, or the ICU director or the Patient Relations Officer and complain about it and add that thing with the blood stain in the bed sheet from the IV insertion I made just minutes before endorsement. To tell you honestly, we also have this thing called prioritization and that blood stain is not a threat to your mother’s life for God’s sake. Can I endorse first before changing that one?

Dear patient and patient’s relative, you got an overdose of caring, compassion and patience today. Appreciate a nurse. Respect a nurse. Never ever shout at one.

P.S . Please bear in mind that while our family is getting sick  in the Philippines, we are here taking care of you instead of them for that five digit salary all we get is unnecessary demands from you.

This letter goes to every one who has shouted on a nurse and to every nurse in the world. We are heroes, we save lives, bear that in mind.:)

Just Me. For Now.

Katt, RN