One of my favorite sayings about my profession is this — Doctors save patients — nurses save doctors.

I have been a surgical nurse most of my career. Surgeons — by the nature of what they do (cutting open another Human to save them) need confidence, moxie, Ego, BALLS. Humility is rarely in their tool box and often gets in the way of the work they need to do. But the best ones will acknowledge the patient is more than ‘the procedure’. They can see the human and caregivers behind the diagnosis. Sometimes that comes with mastery of practice — or sometimes mastery of practice simply breeds more ego and arrogance.

There is a manual all surgical med students carry around with them. It’s call ‘Surgical Recall’. One of the first things it says about being in the OR is this: “Never argue with the scrub nurses — they are always right. They are the selfless warriors of the operating suite’s sterile field, and arguing with one will only make matters worse.”

I think nurses are in awe of the whole thing as we get older & wiser. We take in all that we’ve experienced and understand someone else is running The Universe. And that — gives us humility. To realize our gifts to heal are only a small piece of a grander puzzle. Most of the medical doctors I’ve worked with are already there — knowing Death is not the enemy. Some of the surgeons understand, others only see death as their enemy — personally.

When I would hear a surgeon claim to have ‘saved’ someone, I would remind them — only for today. No one gets out alive. We put off the inevitable by The Grace.

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