The Field Trip When my MD Could Not Fill the Shoes of an RN

It reminded me of the time, some years back, when I inadvertently found myself “impersonating” a nurse for a school field trip. And soon found myself in way over my head.

I cringed inwardly, thinking of all the “four times daily” inpatient medication orders I’d blithely signed off on over the years. Note to self: always try to find an alternative with a less frequent dosing schedule if possible.

Oh, right. I was the “nurse.” I had another moment of inward cringing as I recalled all the times on rounds I’d summoned a nurse because of emesis and then moved on to see my next patient.

In the end, I realized the only thing my physician training helped me with was my ability to function the next day on little sleep.

You see, back at introductions the morning of the trip, I had identified myself to the other parents as “the nurse.” In my head, the words had quotes around them. It would turn out the other parents hadn’t picked up on this, as, in general, air quotes aren’t audible.

“I didn’t appreciate enough everything that nurses do.”

While this story is a lighthearted anecdote, my larger purpose is to honor the wisdom, caring, and leadership of our highly skilled nurse colleagues. May 6 marked the start of National Nurses Week, so I hope this story served as a reminder to take extra time to recognize our nurse colleagues, many of whose daily work goes unsung.

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