During a busy shift, a patient was complaining why nurses don’t attend to her needs immediately. She kept peeving about the room’s temperature, the bad taste of hospital food, and the untimely cleaning of housekeeping personnel. She kept insisting about her pain medications and how her IV line annoys her.

Yes, she complained about almost everything…about the lack of quality care, the poor service, and the unreasonable charges. That day, I believe all my patience was drained. It came to the point that I really wanted to cry from the disgust that I felt. But I really don’t have time for that! I have so many nurse’s notes to finish, and I don’t even know where to start. So I closed my eyes and composed myself again.

If only the patient knew how much we underwent that shift. How many IV insertions we need to do, how many urine bags we need to drain, how many vital signs we need to check, how many OR forms we need to accomplish, and how many other patients we need to attend. Not to mention we are understaffed!

Good thing is, not all patients are like that. And some days are better than the others. We too handled several caring and very thoughtful patients. Some patients are so appreciative enough that we don’t know how to repay them with their kindness.

Hence, I want to send this open-letter for all the patients that we’ve handled to let them know what we really wanted to express for a long time:


Dear patients,

If only you knew

That we are keen to question a doctor’s order, if we believe that it poses danger

We are willing to fight for you, in times when you can’t take it any longer

Although we are strict to make you comply with your management

Please remember: we just want you to get better


If only you knew

We sacrifice our holidays, our time for our families

We missed out several reunions, occasions, and parties

But as long as we see your fast recovery,

We are happy to discharge you to reunite with your own friends and family


If only you knew

That we chose to care for you though our family member’s sick

How we starve during the shift while preventing you from being hypoglycemic

How we monitor the details of your output and intake

Setting aside our needs for your own sake


If only you knew

We are prepared to manually extract your stool when you’re constipated

How sometimes we thirst during the shift just to keep you well-hydrated

And though sometimes you humiliate us for the insufficiencies we’ve made

Just remember, you are always loved by the nurse you once berated


If only you knew

We are also hurt when your body’s aching

We are disappointed when we can’t insert a line through your vein

We are troubled when your pain scale is 10 out of 10

That’s why we secure an order of pain medication PRN


If only you knew

How our feet and backs get hurt just to make your position in bed comfortable

We are willing to take risks and be exposed with hazardous chemicals

Although we are sleep deprived and vulnerable

We will make sure your hospital stay is exceptional


If only you knew

That if everything fails including thy body systems

We’ll not fail to feed you by TPN, thru gravity drain, or per orem

We will suction as needed to remove your phlegm

We promise you that we will be right by your side, ‘til the end


If only you knew… if only you just knew

We think of you round-the-clock

We are not after of anything: not a hall of fame, not a plaque

For your sweetest smile, your simple gestures, and your genuine thanks

Are for us, your priceless pay back


And in case you forget everything that has been confessed

Just promise us you won’t forget:

That we care for you, to the moon and back!

Always loving,

Your nurses


As nurses, we always encourage our patients to verbalize their feelings and their thoughts. I think this open-letter is one way for us to start expressing our true sentiments not only towards our profession but also to our beloved patients.

Rina Malones is currently working as a critical care/acute stroke nurse. Besides from blogging, she's also studying International Health at University of the Philippines Open University.


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