Having time to chat with our patients is a luxury most Emergency nurses are rarely afforded. I was Fast Track boss today with my hopelessly hungover and partied out colleague on a very civilised Boxing day morning shift. My Registrar asked me to remove a bellovac drain for a lady 2/52 post L) mastectomy as the breast clinic is closed over Christmas. This lovely, softly spoken lady started with apologising for "taking up an emergency bed". I started our interaction with "not at all, you must be dying to get this drain out" and it was as if I had opened a little door for her to tell me how she was feeling. She explained that she felt "brutalised" and had been totally unprepared for her emotional response to her surgery. She went on to tell me that she was having trouble staying positive, felt that she should just be thankful that the cancer was gone, that she was tearful and her mood was low. I said "but you're grieving, it's going to take some time, this is a huge operation and you are allowed to feel sad about this". It was as if I had turned on a light, she hadn't thought of it this way. I asked her if she drank, then told her to buy herself a bottle of champagne and park herself on the couch with a good movie and revel in a little pity party. We talked about gardening (she looked like a gardner) and I suggested seed raising while she was recovering, I made fun of myself, made her laugh. After the drain was removed I walked her to the door and slipped a few dressings in her bag, she said "you were just the morale boost I needed, thankyou". What a pleasure!. I love that every now and then we get to make someone feel better, not just clinical all the time. I felt truly validated today after looking after this lady.Tell me about your favourite Christmas patients!
Dec 26, '13
These are the reasons I love being a nurse.
Dec 27, '13
That was a wonderful post, No50Franny. Absolutely wonderful. It will keep me going. Thank you for sharing!
Dec 27, '13
You did great by her! I love those rare occasions when a patient truly appreciates what a nurse has done for them. I know many patients appreciate us, but so few actually verbalize it. A "thank you" goes a long way.
Dec 27, '13
Really great post. I'm in med/surg oncology, so even though I'm pretty new, I've had a couple opportunities to interact with patients on this level. It's such a good reminder of the idealism I had when I was in school (and that I hope I never lose, no matter how much the everyday reality of the med/surg grind can suck.) Glad you had a fulfilling holiday at work, and interested to read others' stories.
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