Nursing is not an easy profession, and being an ER nurse requires an incredible amount of strength and resilience. Of course, it's easy to forget that when we're in the emergency room due to a painful, frightening, or devastating experience and that's why Amanda Thomas' Love What Matters Facebook post is such an important read.
"ER nurses are a different kind of creature," Thomas wrote. "We condition ourselves to roll with the punches... no matter how brutal... you roll. Somebody's life depends on it. Our eyes see the unfathomable... sights that would keep a 'normal' person awake at night... but we roll. We condition ourselves to not feel it... not take life too seriously... we know how fragile and brief it is... we are reminded every time we swipe that time clock... every time...and we roll."
She recounts an incident from earlier in the day that's heartbreaking, but par for the course in her profession: "I picked a young lady up off the floor this morning after she walked out of the room where her daddy died. She dropped to her knees... she wailed.. she cried out for her dad," Thomas shared. "[A]nd without batting an eye, I knelt beside her and helped her the best way I could... death had won again."
"We become numb... our hearts don't feel things like the hearts who are protected from this type of consistent and repeated defeat... we cope.. and maybe too well," Thomas continued. "Maybe we come off as cold and emotionally unavailable. Maybe we aren't approachable. We come off a little bossy... because we have to be good patient advocates... to be the person our patient needs."
In an important reminder, she asked readers to please be kind to the emergency medical workers they encounter.
"Be patient with the ER nurse/EMS/PD/FD in your life," she wrote. "Your eyes have not seen what theirs have. You haven't felt it... you haven't battled death as much and as hard as they have. You could never see their world through their eyes... because if they love you.. they wouldn't want you to... they will protect you from it. Be patient and kind with your ER nurse... you never know what battlefield they just walked off of."
Commenters responded with stories and memories about the times nurses had provided amazing care to themselves and their loved ones. When several people pointed out that all nurses have a tough job, Thomas wrote in the comments section that she completely agrees: "Definitely all nurses... I wrote this from my perspective as an ER nurse/paramedic. But, agreed, all nurses, techs, RTs, doctors, housekeepers, the whole team... we all see and feel and live horror stories in the healthcare setting. As a medic and as an ER nurse...we are the front line. We roll."