Hui-Wen (Alina) Sato, MSN, MPH, RN, CCRN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and blogs at http://heartofnursing.blog. Her Reflections essay, “Intimate Strangers,” will be published in AJN‘s August issue.
A quick Google search for “how to support nurses” reveals an emphasis on recommendations for hospital management on developing structured support for nurses at an organizational level. The search also captures popular articles on how nurses provide support to their patients. Ironically, the query results provide no resources to inform the nurse’s closest support system—families and friends—as well as the general public about what kind of support the nurse really needs and how to better provide it.
I attribute these search results, at least partly, to the fact that we nurses don’t always know how to articulate what we need. Some forms of support, such as treating a nurse to a mani-pedi or a spa day (or a parallel form of relaxation for our male colleagues) are of course always appreciated. But I’m talking about support of a more substantial sort, and this is why:
The reality: Consider the real experience, and thus the real needs, of the nurse.
When I consider the experience of nurses shuttling between full 12-hour shifts immersed in the care of complex and sometimes dying patients and periods of comparatively calm […]