You Didn’t Have To: Karin’s Thanks to Nurses


To Patrice and Marianne, who must have been there on the first day of thousands of students nurses and physicians at Stanford. And, lucky for me, shepherded me through my first days, weeks, months, and years at a trauma center.

To Guy who always held his cool even when we were short supplies, beds, and hands, always maintaining high-quality care and adamantly expecting the same of those around him.

To Paula who psychically sifted the sick from the not-so-sick despite a full waiting room, saving many a life when we worked together.

To Felicia, Leslie, and Dani who I watched grow from a unit clerk to charge nurse responsibilities.

To Claude who recognized when the doctor needed doctoring.

To Cheryl who always found a way around every administrative barrier she encountered to provide exceptional care to all – and would arrive at midday meetings just as enthusiastic post overnight shift.

To Anne who led the development of a complex health initiative with a new electronic health record system, and then volunteered to be the first hospital to test it out.

To Vicki and Elizabeth and Sandy and Maryanne who never forgot the lessons they learned as frontline nurses as they raised through the ranks to top administration.

To the many nameless nurses who tirelessly cared for a mother of nine, as her anxious scared children hoped and prayed for her return home.

To the astute labor and delivery nurse who recognized what the 4 young doctors could not: a young pregnant woman having uncontrolled jerking was not overly excited about the impending delivery of her first child. But rather, she was experiencing rigors as peripartum sepsis reared its ugly head. (Thank you! He survived his PICU stay and has since graduated from college!)

To Marijke who has reawakened my love of journalism and the art of storytelling to help patients decipher their health.

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system and they have been warning us. They remained at the bedside during a pandemic, during short staffing, during wage cuts and missed breaks. They are educators, facilitators and “advocators” for the health of all.

Please csuite, billing department, quality, physicians, insurance reviewers, government officials and lay public, take a walk through your local emergency department, hospital halls, or clinic waiting rooms. Our safety net is frayed. Let us save it before it breaks irreparably. And to all the wonderful nurses out there, I send my endless gratitude and quite frankly, so should you!



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