‘Nurses, Thank You’ – An NP’s Experience as a Patient

other side of healthcare

I remember my early nursing days working in the fast-paced ICU as being some of the most intense and overwhelming times of my nursing career. It’s called the Intensive Care Unit for a reason. Today, I am an acute nurse practitioner and my traditional bedside nursing days are behind me. However, my recent experience in the NICU reminded me just how amazing nurses truly are. This is my experience on the other side of healthcare. The care these nurses provided impacted me and express my appreciation for nurses.  

I was on my third birthing experience, and it wasn’t going well. I was admitted for low amniotic fluid with the potential for placenta accreta. While I was sitting in the bed, and my amniotic fluid remained low, then came the contractions. “It is time Nacole, you ready?” The nurse said. I laughed and said, “Nope, but let’s do this thing.” We both laughed, and the nurses got me prepared for my cesarean section (with the possibility of hysterectomy).  

I’m not going to lie; I was freaked out. All of my pregnancies have been complicated, and it was always the nurses who kept it real with me and were with me from beginning to end. With COVID, visitation was sticky, but the nurses were always there. Whether I was crying or laughing, they were “my people,” and I leaned on them for sure. Long story short, I ended up receiving a hysterectomy due to placenta percreta, a more severe case of accreta, and had a few transfusions due to my EBL (estimated blood loss) being over 2 liters. Yeah, things went sideways rather abruptly. 

From the moment I woke up, the nurses cared for me. From pain medication to emotional support, each nurse helped me with all my needs. Trust me, I was an emotional wreck. I wasn’t prepared for a hysterectomy, let alone my son being admitted to the NICU. Everything was spiraling, and I was pretty beat up.   

Due to COVID, I could only see my husband and not my other two sons. That really hit me hard. My nurses noticed, and always asked me about them and made sure I was doing well and remaining positive. The nurses were also kind enough to wake me up and make sure I was ready for the NICU floor’s morning rounds. The nurses kept me on track and assisted me in being prepared for discharge too. None of my other sons were admitted to the NICU, so I had no idea what to do once I was home. It was the NICU nurses who walked me through exactly what I needed to do and what I needed to look for. My son was a little thing with mild respiratory issues, so I was somewhat scared to even hold him. Seeing him receiving fluids through an IV almost killed me. Fortunately, each nurse was so helpful and answered all the questions I had (and I had a lot). They patiently educated me on what my son needed and how I could be prepared to care for him at home.  

Each time I am on the other side of healthcare, I’m always reminded just how amazing nurses are. The hospital can be the sight of many life changing events for patients, and nurses are the ones who make those not-so-good outcomes bearable. They weren’t there to just collect my vital signs, they went beyond and actually cared about me, my children, and how I was feeling. Besides my husband, no one ever asked me, “How do you feel about everything, really? Do you need anything or just want to talk?” But these nurses did. They knew I had a lot going on, and they knew it would require processing.   

It’s that level of caring that sets nurses apart from the rest. Nurses aren’t afraid of the hard truth. They walk into unfamiliarity with grace and want to ensure that their patients have all that they need. Nurses aren’t scared to ask the tough questions, and that is why I love my profession and why I loved all the nurses who cared for me while I was on the other side of healthcare. They really cared, and it showed. 

Nacole Riccaboni is an acute care nurse practitioner in Florida (AGACNP-BC) and has been a critical care nurse since 2011. She received her MSN in 2018 from the University of South Alabama, and an MBA in 2020 from Capella University. Nursing is a passion of hers, and she loves her community. Her career focus is within the hospital setting, and she has extensive experience in the adult intensive care setting.

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