On Sunday, Richard Waltman, M.D., asked “Have you hugged your doctor today?” (TNT, 4-8). As a registered nurse I have shared fears and tears with physicians in a combat zone. We have been shot at together, shelled together, scrambled together to find cover during artillery attacks, and then frantically tend to the wounded and dying as they poured into our combat hospital.
I think physicians and nurses are cut from the same (human) cloth. Our lives and disciplines intersect at the needs of the patient. Nurses require a physician’s order to accomplish much of nursing, and nurses greatly facilitate the physician’s plan of care.
I admire physicians for their accomplishments, intellect and tenacity. More than all of that, I admire them for their humanity. Waltman’s piece reminds us all that physicians are people with feelings and frailties like you and me. Many patients only see the physician in front of them in the hospital or the clinic.
Most patients have no idea of the behind-the-scenes obstructive, time-eating administrative and bureaucratic hurdles physicians jump through just to take care of them. In this day of Medicare cuts, litigation, ever-changing science, long hours, rules and regulations, it is miraculous that anyone would choose the life of medicine. Thank goodness some do.
Here’s one RN’s hug and a “thanks.”