Every once in a while, someone will say something to me that is meant just as part of conversation, but it turns out that the comment has a profound impact on me.
On Sunday, I was working a rare day shift in our 9 bed palliative care residence. We have an older gentleman (really older, he's 94!) - our average age is in the 50s usually. Anyway, this man is very demanding. He doesn't want to be alone, he wants to be positioned this way, that way and then start all over again.
We know what the issues are - he didn't get to 94 in the condition he kept himself in by being a pushover - so he's having a hard time giving up control. And he's scared. We all know that and are doing our best to help him and provide him with all the resources he needs. FWIW, we have noticed a considerable decrease in his anxiety level since he was first admitted.
So on Sunday, this other nurse had this patient who was taking a lot of her time for comfort. She was at the desk and said to me, "I know some of us are very frustrated with G, but I just keep reminding myself that I can leave here at 3:30 and he cannot."
That comment is still sitting with me. How many times over my nursing career have I been frustrated with a patient because he or she may have been taking more of my time than I was willing to give - I wish I had had the wisdom that I heard on Sunday.
I am proud to say that my patience is much better now than it was when I was a much younger nurse, but I think that this comment really helped me stop and put things in even better perspective.