We have met a number of nurses during this time and I don´t really mean to stereotype them, but they are falling into certain categories:
The Sugar-and-Spice-and-Everything-Nice Nurse
This is the one whose every sentence is punctuated with Honey, Sweetie, Love and everything sickly sweet. They also talk in plural. ¨And how are we doing today, Love?¨ This nurse is like the great aunt who always pinched your cheek at Thanksgiving. However, no matter their affectionate vocabulary, they still have needles as long as everyone else´s!
The I-Have-a-Job-to-Do-Here-Let´s-Get-it-Over-With Nurse
This nurse is all business. Don´t try to start a conversation, ask a question or otherwise distract their mission. They went into this profession for the medical piece, not the people. They seem to have skipped, flunked or slept through the Bedside Manners classes. They may be good at what they do but they´re not good at relating to who they do it to!
The Positivist Nurse
Jenna calls these the ´chirpy¨ ones. They are happy little morning birds full of enthusiasm at all hours. No matter your ailment, they know some way it could be worse! No matter your pain, ¨oh, everyone feels that way.¨ Whatever your symptom, (new and strange as it may be to you), ¨that´s completely normal.¨ No matter your emotional state, ¨Look on the bright side! You only have a week left!¨ You feel like every emotion is minimized and every unique pain to you is normalized. Chirp, chirp!
The I-Was-Supposed-to-be-a-Dr-but-Had-to-be-a-Nurse-Instead Nurse
You can recognize these nurses immediately by their superior air around everyone else. Any question or doubt from a patient or relative is met with a confident medical mini-lecture in scientific lingo that sails over your head. They are in their glory as they wax and wane eloquent medicine. Blah, blah, blah. If you need something that is ¨beneath¨ them, they undoubtedly order someone else around! We call them the Dr. Wannabes.
The I-Am-on-the-Last-Hour-of-a-12-Hour-Shift-and-I-Don´t-Give-a-Rip! Nurse
You gotta give ´em credit. They´ve put in a heck of a long day. They can either be a total, exhausted grouch or giddy at the thought of leaving within the hour! Either way, there is a robotic style to their movements, they are on the home stretch and NOTHING is going to get in their way. Not even you, dear patient. We watch these ones carefully; often we know more what they´re supposed to do at that point than they do!
This nurse likes to hold all the cards. Since information is power, they seem to enjoy keeping you in the dark. Their responses and answers are curt, to-the-point and never feel sufficient. Sometimes they speak in vague terms as if you understand nothing. They whisper to your caregiver in the hallway while keeping you wondering. If they say they´ll get back to you, they never do - they just string out the wondering & the mystery. We´re not sure if this is a cruel game, a personality type or a sign of caregiver stress but when it comes to our health, we don´t like mystery!
The Annie-Oakley-Shoot-it-Straight Nurse
The opposite of the Mystery Nurse, this nurse has a vicious appetite for shocking the crap out of you! Whatever your need, she not only ¨calls it like it is¨ she calls it what you don´t want to hear. Ever. She is a master of matter-of-fact, delights in the crude, is apparently emotionless and while it may be said with a smile, it is a kind of Cruela Deville smile. At least you can´t complain about not getting the bottom line.
The Perfect Nurse!
Our personal favorite is the friendly, informative, helpful one. This nurse tries to help you retain as much dignity as possible (even though they´ve seen/done it a million times). They go beyond the call of duty to find answers to complicated situations, they get back to you when they say they will and they take time to explain stuff that´s everyday for them. They engage with you if you seem to be in the mood for it and have a good sense of humor. They are willing to find out what they don´t know and to take time to share what they do know. They believe you when you say ¨it hurts¨ and they do something about it. Too bad not everyone can be perfect!
Nurses have a tough job and we really respect that. It can´t be easy working with people in pain. Or with their bodily fluids. Or with people who think they know more than you because they spent 1 hour on the internet. Poor them! However, they apparently have all their own ¨types¨of patients and things they laugh about, too! Whatever category we fit in, I hope we can keep a sense of humor and try to be the ¨perfect patient¨!
Coming Soon: The Perfect Dr.! hahahaha