Epiphany: I am not your nurse

I have a lot of respect for nurses. In fact, I often wish that some of my colleagues and superiors would be more like nurses while in the workplace.

A senior student once said, “If you think I was being rude to that patient, then maybe you should have studied nursing and not medicine.” he was wrong, but that is a story for another day.

I think that every well-meaning med-student has a moment where she realises why she is in the right profession after all.

I call it the I’M NOT YOUR EFFING NURSE-moment and mine happened last Saturday.

The Boy and I had a shopping list for his baby niece’s birthday party. As we walked into the shop, he started complaining of a terrible pain in his side – pain such that he could hardly walk. It scared him, that much was obvious.

I walked over to the gardening section and cleared a plastic chair for him, the idea being that he could sit and calm down while I collect the items on the shopping list (and formulate in my mind whether I should be worried about him).

Instead, when he caught up with me, he said, “Love, could you rather just help me with what needs to be done?”

You could say I went kind of blank. I very nearly burst into tears, explaining that that was exactly what I was trying to do.

I don’t do well with tears, so instead I got angry, stormed off and collected the items we needed.

That’s when I realised: I am not your (expletive) nurse. If he had collapsed, or I had noticed some other warning sign, I would help. But I would not have my concern thrown back in my face again. Not by a patient and most certainly not by a loved one.

For the record, The Boy apologised and he was just fine too, no hospital required.

But next time, he can get his own chair.


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