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Health & Wellness

7 Things Nurses Wish Patients Knew

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Nurses are the heart of healthcare. They’re on the front lines of medicine, talking with patients and helping them through especially challenging times.

Nurses care for patients, educate them, administer medications, act as a liaison between the patient and doctor, and more. Often, they’re the ones that patients spend the most time with in a doctor’s office or hospital setting, and they may get to know patients best.

Because nurses have such an important job and unique perspective in the healthcare field, we became curious to hear what they wish patients knew. So we asked them. In their answers, we saw themes of communication, advocacy, self-care, and more. Here are seven things they shared:

“Often patients feel rushed when they are seeing their doctor.  Whether in the office or as a hospitalized patient, many conversations with their provider are one-sided and very quick. I recommend, if possible, patients make some notes before the visit. Write down questions and ask the provider to take just a few extra minutes to answer them before s/he leaves the room. Nurses can verify and further clarify things if questions still remain. We are all there to be a team in seeking the best health for our patients and clients.”

Rosemarie C. Westberg
Nursing Skills and Technologies Lab Coordinator
School of Nursing
George Mason University


"I wish patients knew that we are always striving to be the best advocates for them: to make sure we help them achieve the highest quality of life and level of comfort possible. Also, nurses wish patients knew how important it is to motivate themselves to get active and try to get healthier. Although we can do a lot on our end, they need to be active participants in their care. For example, taking their medications on time, performing exercises at home, or even speaking up and asking questions. The more they participate, the more we can help them."

Danielle Filippone
Department of Pain Management
Healthcare Associates in Medicine, PC
Staten Island, New York


“We want our patients to know that we are there for them. Patients are not bothering us if they need help to get up from their bed or otherwise move – that’s why we are there. Patients may not realize that a hospital room, with all the equipment, may not be familiar to them. Not to mention patients are often in a weakened state. As nurses, we invite patients to contact us any time to help prevent falls, which are the most common injury in hospitals, and return patients to health as quickly as possible.”

Kathy Donofrio
Chief Nursing Officer
Swedish Covenant Health
Chicago, Illinois


“We want our patients to know we are an integral part of their care team, but it is important that we understand their goals of care so that we may assist them while they are under our care.” 

Chuck Rosenberg
Director of Nursing
Swedish Covenant Health
Chicago, Illinois


“I wish patients knew that, today, over one-half of a nurse’s day is spent on the computer, and she/he is as frustrated as the patient when things take longer than expected. Nurses wish that they could meet their patients’ needs quickly, but everything takes longer now. Nurses often go home frustrated and feeling as if they let their patients down, so a kind word or compliment goes a long way in keeping them motivated.”

Teri Dreher
Board Certified Patient Advocate
Owner/CEO NShore Patient Advocates
Chicago, Illinois

“In a hospital, nurses are often taking care of people who are experiencing one of the worst moments of their lives. Nurses are on the frontlines of healthcare and understand the patient viewpoint. That’s why it is so important for hospitals to have human-centered technology that supports the well-being of both patients and care teams, and creates an ideal healing and working environment.”

Rhonda Collins
Chief Nursing Officer with Vocera Communications, Inc.
San Jose, California


“I would like patients to know that nurses are patient advocates. Nurses are in a unique position because we spend the most time with patients and can provide information about their diagnosis and help them to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Nurses are there for patients to support, protect, and defend them.”

Professor V. A. Esposito Kubanick
College of Nursing and Public Health
Adelphi University, New York

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