First and foremost, Thanksgiving is a paid holiday, so I’m thankful for any day in which my hour is worth time and a half. But that’s not all – Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to reflect on all of the many things for which we are grateful, even when we are at work.
Here are a few of my favorite things:
Electronic medical records – I get all the hoopla over electronic health records: improved communication between health care providers, reduced staff time, and cost savings. But the real reason I’m thankful is that it’s way harder for a honked off doctor to throw a computer than it is to throw a medical chart. Seriously, if you’ve ever had to duck as a doc launched a chart across the nurse’s station, then you understand.
Sedatives – Ativan, trazodone, valium – I’m not picky. Sleep is good for you. It promotes healing, reduces inflammation, and improves mood and energy levels. Plus, sleeping patients are just easier patients. They aren’t complaining about hospital food, needing their pillows fluffed, yelling at their visitors, or explaining that their pain is really a 343 out of 10 as they joke with friends, chow down on smuggled pizza, and yell victoriously at reaching a new level in candy crush.
Scrubs – The most important reason is that wearing scrubs means I am not wearing pantyhose. I hate pantyhose. Plus, I never ever have to wonder what to wear to work. Ever. I just have to make sure it’s clean. Thankfully, my navy blue scrubs hide all kinds of stains, from blood to…well, let’s just say every possible bodily fluid you can imagine. I’ve even grown fond of the red-nosed reindeer scrub top my kids bought for me to wear during the holidays – mostly because it makes my adult patients smile at the sentiment (or because they think I look ridiculous, either way).
Resting nurse face – it takes a few years for nurses to acquire this superpower, but all the best nurses develop it. It is the ability to look at any kind of open, gaping wound (with or without maggots), listen to the most horrifying or hilarious story, and bring the same consistent, gracious professionalism and warmth at the 13th hour of your shift as you did on the first. No matter what, you won’t look at me or my peers and see that we are exhausted, overwhelmed, afraid, or even just plain grossed out. I’ve got resting nurse face because I am your port in the storm.
But mostly, I am thankful for the incredible colleagues I have who gown and glove up beside me to save lives, perform some unsavory procedures, and give our patients everything they have – even on days when most families are sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast. I have much to be thankful for.