My dad was a nurse. I think a lot of people would say that growing up with a parent who is a nurse typically meant you weren't getting a lot of sympathy from said parent. There is no faking sick when your parent is a nurse. You aren't staying home from school with a cough if your parent is a nurse. You might have to wait two days to get your broken arm looked at if your parent is a nurse. (Actually, that last one might be specific to MY dad...) While this may seem like a disadvantage in some ways, it's actually a strong advantage that I only realized once I moved out of the house and had to take care of myself. Dad was always just a phone call away with reassuring medical advice (better than Dr. Google!!) and I think in a lot of ways as I've had to navigate my own health problems over the past few years, having a parent who is a nurse has given me the confidence to advocate for myself in the medical world.
In 2008 I had an appendectomy at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA. My first big medical crisis away from home and my dad was scrubbed in on a surgery back in Iowa so I couldn't even call him. When the charge nurse in the OR learned that my dad was a scrub nurse he took it upon himself to call my dad and leave him a message telling him what was happening and that I was in good hands. I remember thinking at the time that that was something my dad would do, and I instantly felt safe. Good nurses know how to reassure their patients.
I have labored and delivered twice now at Carle Hospital,, our local hospital here in Champaign IL. The first time was in August of 2013. I spent five days on bed rest at Carle and then a week later I went in and had to be induced to deliver our 16 week old fetus who had died due to a premature rupture of the membranes (water broke). I was expertly cared for by many different nurses throughout my stay but Jenna was the nurse who was with me when I finally "delivered" and I remember clearly seeing her cry over our loss. My experience has been that nurses are often very compassionate people who truly care about their patients.
Two years later I was admitted to Carle on June 19th, 39 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl. I spent 9 days in the hospital this time (it was complicated) and probably was cared for by almost every nurse on the floor (although I was lucky to get some repeats of my favorites!!) When they moved me into my room on labor and delivery I heard someone call my name- it was Jenna! Two years later and she remembered us. She came up and gave me a huge hug and told us how happy she was to see us and for our miracle baby. She even got a gift for Nora.
Over my 9 day stay this past June/July I was cared for by many wonderful nurses. Many of the ones I saw before Nora was born came in to meet her after she had arrived. When I was readmitted for post-partum preeclampsia, many of them had me as their patient again or came and visited me and encouraged me. One of the nurses, Becky, had me in tears I was laughing so hard, more than once. Who laughs that hard when they're in the hospital?! Probably all of Becky's patients.
Nurses do everything. I repeat, nurses do EVERYTHING. And we NEED them- I'd hate to see what a hospital looked like without them. It's an often thankless job that pays pretty crappy. Nurses are honorable, special people and my life has been better because of them.