I have come to realise that the most important and influential group of health workers are not neurosurgeons, physicians or pharmacists – they are nurses.
As a Doctor or a patient you take them for granted at your own peril; they can make you have a difficult stay in the hospital (if they wish), or a blissful one, depending on how you treat them.

As a young Doctor, I learnt two of the most important skills of my career from nurses; suturing a wound and delivery of babies.

I have found that if you are a cocky doctor, with your head in the clouds, they have a way of bringing you down to size without saying a word. They are the mafia.

I’ve witnessed patients and relatives of patients get their fingers burnt when dealing with nurses just because they don’t know the formula. So, I will give some tips:

1. When nurses say they got it covered, they got it covered.

Don’t keep coming to remind them about your relative’s drugs, once is enough – unless, you might end up being attended to last.

2. When you see them talking in a group, don’t go to accuse them of being idle.

If you do, you just made about 4 or 5 enemies at once, and they are sure to pass your report to the next shift.

3. Get to know their names.

This brings some familiarity and may eventually work to your favour.

4. Always say thank you.

Nurses love this – finally, someone notices the enormous work they do. When you are well, try to come back to say a little thank you to the nurses in the ward, this will go a long way in helping their future patients get the best care.

5. Take time to converse with them.

You would realise they are everyday people with problems too. They are sure to remember you after this.

6. They are not maids!

Speak or refer to them as maids and they will chew you alive, spit your guts out and send you to the cleaners.

It doesn’t take a lot to be on the right side of nurses, I believe nurses are still angels (if you know how to deal with them); do you agree?

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  1. I want to copy this and hang it at the nurses station and hand out to each new patient who comes in the door. Thank you Dr.

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