The Danger in Calling Doctors and Nurses Superheroes

I’m obsessed with the new TV show, “New Amsterdam.”

Have you seen it? It takes place at a hospital in New York whose leader is a young doctor radical ideas about how to make things better for employees and patients.

It’s inspiring and (dare I say) different from many of the other hospital-centered dramas out there.

The continuing lead storyline is a bit different, too: the doctor I just mentioned is fighting an aggressive form of cancer.

He receives his treatments and works as often as possible, even when the effects of chemo have rendered him utterly exhausted.

When a colleague suggests he spend some downtime on the cancer floor with other patients who are going through the same thing, he hesitates. In fact, he says, “I don’t want to be there with other patients. I don’t want them to see me. What will they think?”

Doctors and Nurses Are Human, Too

We think of doctors and nurses as superheroes and by all accounts, they are. The work they do, day in and day out, is awe-inspiring.

We literally place our lives and the lives of those we love the most in their capable hands. And not only are they able to diagnose and treat all that ails us, they do it with a gentle touch, a kind heart, and compassion that can bring us to our knees.

But in spite of all of this, we who are not doctors and nurses must remember that they are human, too.

For as much as they hold our hands, who is holding theirs? While they reassure us and calm our fears, who is reassuring them?

Caring For Those That Care For Others

And leaders? It’s especially important for you to remember that your job isn’t to take care of patients — it’s to take care of those that take care of patients. How can we expect doctors and nurses to treat patients with dignity, compassion, and kindness if we don’t treat employees with similar dignity, compassion, and kindness?

There is a danger in elevating doctors and nurses (and other healthcare professionals) to the level of superhero status without also acknowledging that they’re human, too.

After all, they need just as much love and compassion and caring as they give. And don’t they deserve it?