NEWS
November 19, 2021

This is Why Nurse Coworkers Have a Special Bond (that can’t be replaced)

This is Why Nurse Coworkers Have a Special Bond (that can’t be replaced)

Dear Nursing Coworker,

We have an odd bond. We have a working relationship that involves many moments of "you hold this butt cheek while I hold the other" interspersed with tender moments debriefing some of the horrible stories we have witnessed. We have shared many shifts affirming one another's eye rolls while also pulling the other into rooms to view sites that words cannot do justice. Unlike many professional coworking relationships, the chaos we endure coupled with the reliance on a strong team effort makes our dynamic unique but also unwavering. We don't have the option to isolate ourselves in a cubicle with headphones on while virtually chatting with our coworkers. I rely on you to help me conquer code browns, answer the 739th call light from my patient, provide a second opinion to my gut feeling, and to build me back up when patients and other hospital staff make me feel small.

We have been through a lot. More than I like to admit sometimes. One of the reasons nurses have such a wildly unique bond is similar to the reason that so many soldiers come back from war with a connection to their peers. We have shared an experience with one another. Experiences that the people in our lives will never fully understand. While they will be there to support us, it’s my peers' support that is most needed. You stood by my side and heard the raspy wail of the mother when we called time of death. You helped hold the head down of the psychotic patient on drugs trying to spit in my face. You sang songs with me and helped distract me from the massacre of a room once the patient left for the OR. You held the trashcan at the side of the bed while diarrhea ran like the Amazon River through the blanket barricades. You helped me remove the IVs and tubes while bagging the body of the grandpa who died alone so I wouldn't have to be in the room by myself while completing the task. You have walked beside me and been my shoulder to cry on and my partner to laugh with for scenarios that no one else will fully understand. 

Despite this, I do owe you an apology. You have seen me in some of the worst moments of my life. I wish I could say that I put my best face forward at this job, but unfortunately, you have had to deal with me on some rough days and there will be even more in the future I’m sure. Bless your heart for still working with me when I waltz in with no makeup, hair on day four of no-wash with a headband thrown in to disguise the grease, scrubs that could give the models on the Snuggie infomercials a run for their money in the comfort department, three tumblers of varying forms of caffeine, and an attitude comparable to the Grinch. 

I am sorry for the days that I have complained about every meaningless task and brought my personal issues to work with me. Our jobs are not easy, and unfortunately, that means when I am not at my best it carries over into our work. So thank you for carrying my weight on certain days and doing what you can to lighten my load.

Most importantly, thank you for the moments. Those moments when we have found ourselves in a patient's room and an event occurs that is either so unbelievably inappropriate, hysterical, horrendously disgusting or just unimaginably odd but we must remain professional and keep silent. The second that we return to the nursing station and make eye contact has historically been one of the funniest and most bonding moments of working with you. We will forever reflect on those moments - the awkward eye contact across the room, or the image of the other one stifling a laugh into their arm to prevent an ill-timed outburst in a room. Some of these moments have been the catalyst that turned an ordinary peer relationship into a friendship that has made going to work so much more fun. 

This job would be impossible without you. Seriously, it would. Can you imagine the overall job satisfaction if we were forced to work independently or work every shift surrounded by coworkers that we didn't enjoy? It would not only be unsafe and unattainable, but our nursing relationships bring so much life and joy into such hard shifts. It is in the little details like the rolly-chair charting break races, the snacks in the supply room, and the secret bets we place on our patient’s lab values that help make this job so much fun.

You have taught me so much. I consider myself incredibly lucky to stand on your sidelines and watch you handle hard situations with grace and confidence. You have taught me through your successes and failures and advocated for patients and peers alike. Our 3 AM conversations make me believe that I might know more about you than your significant other does because we have managed to keep each other awake for numerous shifts by diving into the menial details of our lives. I consider myself incredibly privileged and lucky to have worked and learned alongside you for all these years. Our profession can be challenging in so many ways, and it is such a great comfort knowing that you share it with me for the good, the bad, the ugly, and the countless code browns. 

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