Nurses are needed more than ever these days. we are becoming the only ones left to actually care for the patients.
Out of necessity, administrators and doctors have become immersed in the business that medicine has become. Administrators, because money, the bottom line, is their business. Doctors, because their survival is dependent on reimbursement. Everything they do is controlled by payment. It overwhelms their profession these days. I'm not saying they don't care for the patients, want to do their best for the patients, they do. They just don't have time to care as much as they used to.
Nurses don't have time either, but they have to make time. Nurses sit between the medical world of money and the patient. We sit between length of stay, decreased medicare reimbursement, non covered insurance services, downsizing, no available beds and the needs of the patient. We see that, no, granny isn't going to be able to make it at home on her own. Yes, post op John isn't ready to be discharged.. We realize that 15 year new mom Brittany is gonna need more support at home.
So we fight for them. We demand for them. Sometimes we win the fight, sometimes we don't.
We, as nurses, have increasingly become the human part of medicine. When the specialists, the test doers are done running in and out, there we stand to explain what just happened and what it means to the patient and family. We bring in the practical reality of what will be needed after discharge and whether they are ready for it. We hold grandma's hand. We reassure John that its going to be all right. We answer all of Brittany's questions in the middle of the night when all the others have gone home.
Without us, medicine becomes cold, white walls, alarm bells, bad smells, nameless faces. It becomes patients in nicely appointed rooms, alone and scared.