A letter to my Patient

  1. 33 Dear Patient;
    Tonight I looked in on you, you looked so sad & lost in that bed with your nasal canula resting on your cheek. As I carefully readjust the canula, you wake, look up at me and say thank you for taking such good care of me. Do you know what that did to me? You will never realize how your simple words made me want to cry. I want so badly to make your pain and struggles go away. I feel so helpless; I can only do so much for you. I'm afraid it's not enough. I can give you medicine to ease your pain, oxygen to help you breath, reposition you to relieve sore muscles, clean you when you have an "accident", feed you when you're hungry, hold a glass for you when you're thirsty. I assure you it is an honor to care for you; you don't need to thank me. I rearrange your pillow, tuck your blankets around you, then I quietly walk out of the room. You don't know it, but, I stand in the doorway, watching over you as you fall back to sleep. It is all I can do, I wish it was more, but, I will watch over you and be by your side each night on this lonely walk. I am always there, looking in on you as you sleep. Have sweet dreams my patient.
    Your Night Nurse
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  3. Visit  gentlegiver} profile page

    About gentlegiver

    From 'Western Massachusetts'; Joined Mar '07; Posts: 897; Likes: 1,588.

    15 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  anonymurse} profile page
    6
    Dear Night Nurse,

    I'm not helpless. I proactively came here to your floor to get better. I intend to fight for wellness with every fiber of my being. I appreciate your deep feeling for your art, but more than that, I need your vigilance, your knowledge, your sharp critical thinking and, when the time comes, your decisive action. Above all, I need you to be rightfully confident in these, because if you aren't, on whom may I depend? The doctor, who rounded this morning and won't round again until tomorrow morning? The aide, who hasn't been trained in critical thinking? My family, more fearful than I? It's on you. I hope I may trust in your abilities.

    Your Patient.
    bonestAx, Ivanna_Nurse, sharpeimom, and 3 others like this.
  5. Visit  redessa} profile page
    2
    Quote from anonymurse
    Dear Night Nurse,

    I'm not helpless. I proactively came here to your floor to get better. I intend to fight for wellness with every fiber of my being. I appreciate your deep feeling for your art, but more than that, I need your vigilance, your knowledge, your sharp critical thinking and, when the time comes, your decisive action. Above all, I need you to be rightfully confident in these, because if you aren't, on whom may I depend? The doctor, who rounded this morning and won't round again until tomorrow morning? The aide, who hasn't been trained in critical thinking? My family, more fearful than I? It's on you. I hope I may trust in your abilities.

    Your Patient.

    I got the feeling the OP was working LTC and that this is a person who is not expected to ever get better and go home.
    RNSC and TipitiwichitRN like this.
  6. Visit  nohika} profile page
    0
    Quote from anonymurse
    Dear Night Nurse,

    I'm not helpless. I proactively came here to your floor to get better. I intend to fight for wellness with every fiber of my being. I appreciate your deep feeling for your art, but more than that, I need your vigilance, your knowledge, your sharp critical thinking and, when the time comes, your decisive action. Above all, I need you to be rightfully confident in these, because if you aren't, on whom may I depend? The doctor, who rounded this morning and won't round again until tomorrow morning? The aide, who hasn't been trained in critical thinking? My family, more fearful than I? It's on you. I hope I may trust in your abilities.

    Your Patient.
    ...just to note, I think the OP was talking about a hospice patient. So...yeah. No wellness or better there.
  7. Visit  Rabid Response} profile page
    0
    No patient has ever thanked me for waking him/her up to replace a nasal cannula. Your post puts me in mind of what I thought nursing would be like before I became a nurse--grateful patients who know I'm doing my best for them with a song and good wishes in my heart for the dear helpless souls in my care. Bwahahaha. Actually, I think I like my reality better; I always had a hard time keeping the halo from falling off.
  8. Visit  lpnstudentin2010} profile page
    0
    1. OP I have been trying to think of what to say. right now i am still justapatient (my old screen name) in septmeber I start lpn school, but i am and always will be a patient. thank you, you are the type of nurse I want to have.

    2. what type of pt is the op talking about: ltc probably because if you look at their profile they list that their specialty is geriatrics.
  9. Visit  KeeperMom} profile page
    1
    Well said. I had a patient just last night that nearly brought me to tears. I'm just NS working as an aide right now but it is words and patients like these that reaffirm my decision to return to school.
    My patient was in a very vulnerable state last night and her family couldn't spend the night so she was totally alone and seemed frightened & frustrated all night. At the end of my shift I told her good bye and she told me that she would never forget me or the care I gave her. I nearly cried!

    A simple "thank you" and a sincere look in the eye that can give US so much!

    m
    Tina, RN likes this.
  10. Visit  anonymurse} profile page
    3
    Machts nichts, guys. For every pt, no matter their condition, there is a possible quality of life better than the one they currently enjoy. I explored this with my little brother when he was dying; just started talking about food to get a response, and he said he wanted a strawberry. His wife started screeching about him being NPO and I went out and got him a strawberry and for a second, life was sweet for him and his then-current circumstances were forgotten. That's what I mean.
    Tina, RN, itsmejuli, and sharpeimom like this.
  11. Visit  Honey_Bee} profile page
    4
    I feel where you are coming from, OP. I have been an LPN for about 14 years. I was fortunate enough to gain experience, working in the emergency department and surgical intensive care unit, during the years I served in the military.

    But since then, most of my experience has been working nights in long term care, and right now I'm working in hospice until I finish my RN program. I think it's fair to say that in the more intense, fast-paced specialties, moments like this are less common. But in a long term setting, I don't think it's all that rare.

    Yes, sometimes I am annoyed and fed up with the cons of nursing. But I have also had plenty of moments where I've felt similar to what you've described in your letter.

    I have often had to readjust nasal cannulas, pull up covers, and do little things that might have seemed insignificant. But the patients were unable to do it for themselves. And yes, some have even woken up and said thank you.

    Many times I've felt sorry for my patients, who had no family or friends to help care for them or come by to visit. I've gotten sad on numerous occasions, as I looked at their bedside pictures, when they were young and carefree, having no idea the end would turn out the way it did for them.

    More than once, I've felt that I wasn't doing enough, or secretly wished I could make things better for them, when I couldn't. And yeah, I've even watched some of them as they slept, wondering what they were like before they ended up in a nursing home, or dying from cancer in hospice care.

    Thanks for sharing your letter.
    itsmejuli, Hithere, Ivanna_Nurse, and 1 other like this.
  12. Visit  melsch} profile page
    3
    To the OP, thank you for posting this. I am a night nurse in hospice and I know exactly how you are feeling. It is such an honor to take care of our patients. The fears and pains always seem so much greater at night when it is dark and they are alone, knowing that we can be the calm reassuring face in their lives and it really makes a difference.
    itsmejuli, Hithere, and Ivanna_Nurse like this.
  13. Visit  Hithere} profile page
    2
    You guys are awesome--and the reason I am getting into nursing. ...A little back story...my Alzheimer's stricken grandmother came to live with us when I was 15. My mom and I took care of her as best we could for as long as we could. When the end was near mom called in Hospice. I honestly thought that the nurses that came by to help were angels. They were so kind and loving--not only to my Grandma, but to us. Their kindness and support has stayed so fresh in mind--even after 20 years--as I'm writing this, my eyes are welling up with tears at the memory of how wonderful the Hospice nurses were. A big thank you to all end of life nurses out there--you are soooo much appreciated that words fall short of the blessings that you bring to families and those passing over.
    POTR and leslie :-D like this.
  14. Visit  bonestAx} profile page
    1
    Rock on gentlegiver!!!! Keep doing what your doing... and I loved how you showed your feelings in this post. THANK YOU.
    Tina, RN likes this.
  15. Visit  Katie5} profile page
    0
    Quote from NOCnewbie
    No patient has ever thanked me for waking him/her up to replace a nasal cannula. Your post puts me in mind of what I thought nursing would be like before I became a nurse--grateful patients who know I'm doing my best for them with a song and good wishes in my heart for the dear helpless souls in my care. Bwahahaha. Actually, I think I like my reality better; I always had a hard time keeping the halo from falling off.
    That's where you got it wrong- patients don't have to be grateful. Polite and courteous yes, but grateful? Not necessarily. You're being paid to do a job a certain way and it needs be done that way. It brings more of complex when people begin to see it as, "You should feel grateful I am taking care of you." Truly no.


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