"Simple Art of Caring" "Simple Art of Caring" | allnurses

"Simple Art of Caring"

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    I wanna share to all nurses my unforgettable and wonderful experience when I was still a student nurse in my native land ~Cebu, Philippines.

    Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art,
    It requires an exclusive devotion
    as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work;
    for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble,
    compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit?
    It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.
    -Florence Nightingale, poem "Nursing is an art."

    One hot summer of 2006, I find myself sitting on a cozy arm chair. Somehow, I felt so lonely and empty within. It seemed like I was just observing the clamorous crowd in the 5th floor lobby yet people sitting next to me noticed that I was thinking of the oceans. "Hey!" a gloomy, dreadful voice was heard over my ears. "What's wrong with you? I then realized that one of my group mates asked. "I'm good. I just remembered her". I felt satiable warmth when everyone gave me a big hug. I slowly closed the window of my soul and vividly recalled the memories I had with one of my patients during our enhancement duty that passed away few days back.

    It was 9th of May, I was preparing myself and went on afternoon shift. My clinical instructor assigned me to monitor a female patient in Room 706. Upon endorsement and studying the patient's thick chart, I find out that we were of the same age, and been admitted in the hospital for three days. Patient X was suffering from a life threatening condition called Stevens - Johnson syndrome.

    Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a serious systemic (bodywide) allergic reaction with a characteristic rash involving the skin and mucous membranes, including the buccal mucosa (inside of the mouth). The disease is due to a hypersensitive (allergic) reaction to one of a number of immunologic stimuli including drugs and infectious agents. SJS is a rare condition, with a reported incidence of around 2.6 to 6.1 cases per million people per year. In the United States, there are about 300 new diagnoses per year. The condition is more common in adults than in children. Women are affected more often than men, with cases occurring at a three to two sex ratio. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StevensJohnson_syndrome).

    According to the history of her present illness , his condition was caused by hypersensitivity to drug when she was under Chloramphenicol treatment, the drug of choice to treat Typhoid fever and was first confined in their provincial hospital 2 weeks prior to admission. At first, I was trying to remember what her condition really was. I approached my C.I. for confirmation. Perhaps, I recalled that one of our lecturers had included this topic in our Medical-Surgical class. She even claimed that she hasn't actually cared for a patient with this rare kind of illness.

    Together with the staff nurses, our clinical instructor, and some of my group mates, I entered patient X's room during the nurse's rounds. We first greeted her and introduced ourselves. Identified our patient, assessed her intravenous fluid level and site, verified the amount of oxygen that she's receiving and checked on her in general. After the rounds, I was left inside the room and started to interact with patient x and to her significant others. She was lying on bed, awake, coherent and oriented to time and place. I obtained her vital signs, with temperature of 40 C, heart rate of 98 beats/min and respiratory rate of 25 cycles /min. She had pale and dry skin, from the scalp down to her lower extremities, and arms were filled with small lesions. Her lips and gums were slightly bleeding which causes mild pain every time she opens her mouth, like when talking or eating.

    After that 20-minute interaction, I started to formulate my nursing care plan. Since she had a high fever, I utilized this realistic plan on top of three nursing priorities that I identified that could be done in my eight-hour duty. Part of bedside care, I gave her a tepid sponge bath and after two hours, her temperature lowered down from 40 C down to 38 C. "That was amazing! Her mother claimed. "Everyone from that 4-corner room was filled with glee and they were all smiling at me. At the back of my mind, I definitely said, Wow! What I did was just an ordinary thing yet for them it was so amazing. For a couple of hours that I was on her side, it built an extraordinary kind of friendship. Her sister Sheryl said, that she haven't seen her sister so happy and even it's a bit painful for her to smile because of her chopped and bleeding lips, she could now stand the pain and afforded to show a wonderful smile. When I was about to end my shift, I went back to my patient's room to bid goodbye. She held my hands, tight and firm, spoke in a soft and low-tone of voice saying, "Thank you nurse". "You're welcome", I replied. Her eyes were teary and had shown the best smile that I'd seen in my whole life. I went out from her room, knowing that another shift on that week was over but the story never ended there yet.

    The next day, I went to the same hospital and submitted our OR gowns for autoclaving in preparation for our OR exposure the following week. I and two of my group mates decided to dropped by patient X's room. We saw her side-lying on her bed and I noticed that a working ventilator was on her bed side. "Hi, how are you? I asked her. She's not smiling but she kept on staring at me, trying to say something. I think you wanted to say something. Can you tell me more about it? Then she replied," I'm tired. Please pray for me". My heart was torn into pieces and I didn't know what to say. I just held her hand, I was silent for 5 seconds and replied, "Sure, I will. Actually, I and my friends would visit the Holy sacrament later this afternoon. Do you want to come with us?" Finally, she smiled and held my hand with earnest desire to come over. On the other hand, her mother and sister Sheryl were at my back. They said that she was under code blue that early morning and they were hopeless about her condition. They were sad and I understood what they went through. After that quick visit, I went to Basilica del Sto. Nino with my friends, Johanna Marie and Maria Richelle.

    When I arrived home, I took a nap in my bed. I suddenly dreamt of her, she was smiling back at me and was totally well. I was abruptly awakened by a telephone call from her sister Sheryl, crying out loud and informed me that her sister passed away couple of minutes ago. Heavy goose bumps ruled over me and couldn't really believe it. That was the first time that my assigned patient passed away. Since they were not from Cebu, her sister asked me to drop by the hospital before they went back to their province the next day. I met her family and they were so grateful about the support and care that I contributed to them. Her big brother attempted to gave me cold cash but I impetuously refused.

    I got a reality check from this experience. Caring can't only be acquired inside the classroom. Patient care is part of a nurse's role since we have to assist them in their needs which they were not capable in doing. However, the simple art of caring is much appreciated when experienced and shared. It means that we are giving our time and best effort to alleviate our patient's suffering, not only to our patients, but most of the time those who are in need of our help. It might be our own families, relatives, friends and neighbors.

    Should someone choose nursing as a profession? "Yes!" Working so intimately with ill people and experiencing the pain of others directly affects how we nurses view life. Nursing lets me go home with a good feeling in my heart. Every day I hear "Thank you" or "I'm glad you are here." Knowing I have made a difference makes the long hours and late lunches worth the effort. For me, the career has been nursing, and for every nurses, mastering the art of caring is a lifelong mission. God Bless!

    New Jersey, USA
    Last edit by sweety_les07 on Oct 6, '11 : Reason: formatting for easier reading
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  2. Visit sweety_les07 profile page

    About sweety_les07, BSN, RN

    M.R.M, RN/Alumna of University of Cebu -Banilad College of Nursing, 2007 /Cebu, Philippines

    sweety_les07 has '5' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'MedSurg, Telemetry, Occupational Health'. From 'New Jersey, USA'; Joined Aug '11; Posts: 139; Likes: 83.

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  3. Visit  cherryames1949 profile page
    #1 2
    Sometimes the least "medical" act that you do matters the most to the patient and family. You can't teach caring but it is an essential ingredient to being, not just a good nurse, but a great nurse! Good luck in your career.
  4. Visit  sweety_les07 profile page
    #2 0
    Quote from cherryames1949
    sometimes the least "medical" act that you do matters the most to the patient and family. you can't teach caring but it is an essential ingredient to being, not just a good nurse, but a great nurse! good luck in your career.
    absolutely right!

    thanks a bunch:heartbeat :d
  5. Visit  lenovo profile page
    #3 0
    what an inspirational story.. the simple art of caring!!! Godbless us all!
  6. Visit  sweety_les07 profile page
    #4 0
    Quote from lenovo
    what an inspirational story.. the simple art of caring!!! godbless us all!
    thank you!:heartbeat
  7. Visit  sweety_les07 profile page
    #5 0
    thanks to each and every one who have read and voted for my article.

    god speed:redpinkhe!
  8. Visit  Brian profile page
    #6 0
    Congrats on winning the article contest! Well deserved, thanks for sharing your story!

    Article contest results: http://allnurses.com/news-and-announ...er-625513.html
  9. Visit  shobelesley profile page
    #7 0
    Ate Les, we are truly proud of you. Being an alumna in the same college, a writer in the same publication, and a nurse at heart, I wanna tell you that you have done such a great job. It's not only this time, but 2 years ago when you approved to have this article dished out to thousands of students and hundreds of clinical instructors in our campus. I challenged myself to read the article again, this one with success in my heart, and I couldn't help the tears falling from my eyes, AGAIN. Your story inspired people. Continue writing te.... You deserve the priceless prize.
  10. Visit  sweety_les07 profile page
    #8 0
    Quote from shobelesley
    ate les, we are truly proud of you. being an alumna in the same college, a writer in the same publication, and a nurse at heart, i wanna tell you that you have done such a great job. it's not only this time, but 2 years ago when you approved to have this article dished out to thousands of students and hundreds of clinical instructors in our campus. i challenged myself to read the article again, this one with success in my heart, and i couldn't help the tears falling from my eyes, again. your story inspired people. continue writing te.... you deserve the priceless prize.
    hi les! glad to know that u already signed up with allnurses.com. thanks for the warm greetings as well as for disseminating this information to our alma mater.

    in fact, i received tons of greetings from my friends way back in college, from our former clinical instructors, and from the student nurses of the new generation.

    as what i have posted on my facebook wall, ' i don't have the greatest talent in the world but i am willing to share the lil things that i know i have and what i might develop. knowing my weaknesses, believing in one omniscient god, trusting my instinct, valuing my life's treasures (my family & friends) and living my day as if it's my last. these are my powerful weapons as i battle through life.

    i may be too far away from home where i obtained my nursing degree. however, i will continue to practice this profession not just to earn dollars abroad but to fulfill the oath i took, the nightingale's pledge. i am also inspired to write more..more articles! =)

    i never did expect that this debut writing would touch a million lives. basta... words are not enough to express how grateful i am today, les. this thing is simple but priceless.
    Last edit by sweety_les07 on Oct 7, '11