Many studies have been done around the world concerning the most trusted professions, and nurses always tend to be highly ranked in these surveys. In fact, many times they are the most trusted profession (Kimmorley 2015). The question is why are nurses so trusted? It would make more sense for the public to trust doctors because they are the ones pursuing the medical plan of care. Yet it is the nurse at the bedside who garners the most respect and trust.
Nurses are at the bedside, and patients realise they care. When patients don’t feel well, they turn to nurses because doctors aren’t there. When a patient needs a pillow or a glass of water, it is the nurse that see to their needs. Although doctors are often high in the list of trusted professionals, they are never number one. There are many reasons why nurses are so are trusted. One of them is the honesty that nurses are known for. The other is the contact time that a nurse spends with a patient, which is exponentially more than the time doctors spend. Finally, nurses show they care in ways that other health professionals do not.
Nurses are honest. When a prognosis is poor, nurses are the ones who are there to tell the truth to patients and family. One important part of nursing is interpreting what the doctors say. Often, doctors don’t really understand how to communicate with a patient. They spout medical terminology, and that doesn’t get through to the patient. This is why it is so important for a nurse to be present when a doctor speaks to a patient. They will usually turn to the nurse to understand what was just said, and sometimes that interpretation requires hard truths.
Patients expect nurses to be honest because the connection between the two is often so intimate. You have to trust someone to let them insert a foley or start an IV. Patients trust nurses to be honest about the medications they are administering and that they do so in a safe manner. It is hard to be a patient, and the honesty of a nurse makes them feel more secure. No one can feel secure if they believe they are not being giving complete truths.
Nurses spend a great deal of time with their patients. It could be said that ninety nine per cent of the interactions patients have in a hospital setting are with nurses. For this reason, they tend to trust the ones that are always there. When the patient has a problem, when they are sick or hurting, it is the nurse’s face they see. The nurse usually can provide a solution too, and this increases the patient’s trust in a nurse and their skills. Although patients don’t often know all of what a nurse does, they know that nurses are there and are ready to help.
Nurses care and patients know that. How do they know? It is probably in the way that a nurse sees to the patient’s needs. Nursing is about more than the medical side. It is about the human side, too. Patients respond when nurses connect to this human side of their care. This means caring for needs that are not necessarily part of the care plan. Getting someone a can of ginger ale, for instance, can show the human touch that they may be missing. The little things that you do are evidence that you care in a way that doctors aren’t always able to offer.
When a patient feels cared for on all levels, it leads to a trust that is quite strong. Not only can you be counted on to provide for their medical needs, but you are also there to hold their hand. When patients are vulnerable, nurses step up and fill that need. Strongest bonds are made in the darkest hours. This is why nurses are so respected and trusted.
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- Kimmorley, S 2015, ‘Ranked: Australia’s 20 Most Trusted Professions’, Business Insider Australia, 11 May, viewed 14 July 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/ranked-australias-20-most-trusted-professions-2015-5
Lynda is a registered nurse with three years experience on a busy surgical floor in a city hospital. She graduated with an Associates degree in Nursing from Mercyhurst College Northeast in 2007 and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania in the United States. In her work, she took care of patients post operatively from open heart surgery, immediately post-operatively from gastric bypass, gastric banding surgery and post abdominal surgery. She also dealt with patient populations that experienced active chest pain, congestive heart failure, end stage renal disease, uncontrolled diabetes and a variety of other chronic, mental and surgical conditions. Her Website.