Drool Nurse & the Lesson He learned
It was a usual week in the Cancer ward for a senior nursing student like me undergoing clinical rotations. It was still early in the curriculum year, so I still have the initial excitement and zeal in me to do my duties as a health care provider. Not to brag, but I was often praised for being good at accomplishing my tasks.
I'm just an average student when it comes to the theoretical part, but I rock in the actual clinical application. I prefer going to and fro rather than just sitting down doing paperwork. I also see to it that I finish what I start, even if it means working a little beyond my shift.
On my first day in the ward, a post-op colorectal CA patient who developed a nosocomial infection was assigned to me. Aside from expensive chemotherapy drugs, she was on expensive antibiotics as well. Unfortunately she was running low on finances. This was the first time I had a patient who could not complete the prescribed drug regimen.
Sadly, the "semi-charity" institution only gave free service and bed. So without purchasing her medications, she won't get her succeeding doses. And non-compliance is not good for someone having antibiotic therapy because the infection might develop a resistance to the drug.
More complications for her meant more work for me. That might cramp up my style. So I thought of a way to keep her compliant. I remembered a nurse sending me for an errand before to "shop" for maintenance fluids. It was an effort to find good materials that were left by discharged patients or those that had extra but didn't have a need for it anymore.
I commenced operation "shop for meds" calling each and every nurse station to inquire if they have a spare of the antibiotic my patient needed. Out of the 15 nurse stations, there were 3 that had some and it added up good for 10 days. They agreed to only give me enough for a day because the patient might depend too much on charity. Also, others might need some of it just in case. That's reason enough. So I went there but had to wait for a long time because something came up and my correspondent had to do something first.
While waiting, every object I can lean on seemed like a bed that I could use to get a shut eye. It was the first time I got to doze off while leaning on a wall. I was beat and I was already doing overtime. I wished there was a harness of some sort where I could hang like a bat and be ready to roll anytime. A poke from my correspondent took me out of dreamland and jokingly asked me if I wanted a kidney basin propped under my chin.
After wiping my drool & expressing my gratitude with a f...fantastic smile, I quickly went out of there before any more wisecracks come cracking out of my correspondent. After saving the day and becoming the butt of the drool joke, all I cared about was jumping on my bed and hugging my six-foot long pillow.
Six days of antibiotic therapy and she was good to be discharged. I had to "shop" for meds 3 times before she had enough means to buy the rest. Finally, preparing her for discharge was all I had to do for her. But it was already near the end of my shift. If I don't discharge her that night, she'll have to stay and wait to be discharged tomorrow.
That means, I'll still have to provide her morning care the next day. Being a student with 6 patients including her, one less to worry about would be a relief for me. So, again I did overtime to prepare her for discharge, paper works and all. Zzzz...ngork...huh...wha? Oh, yeah...discharge papers...
I was a zombie who just wanted the job done perfectly. There was no feelings, no heart, no luuuuv. Blame it on being intoxicated with loads of paper work, errands, stressful patients, more stressful relatives and yakking superiors. If you look back at my story earlier, you'll see that I helped my patient with just the intent of avoiding having to deal with a complicated patient which I thought could possibly ruin my good track record. I only cared about the flow being smooth. I had to exert more effort though, I wasn't happy about it. I forgot about the one thing that makes a profession such as this noble. It's what makes the extra effort worthwhile. It would've made every task I did less exhausting and more rewarding...I was clueless, but that was going to change. Enlightenment was upon me.
My patient gave me a watermelon as a show of gratitude. Duh...it was huge and kind of embarrassing to lug around. She didn't have to, I thought. But what the heck...she was happy with what I did for her and it was all that she could afford to give me. She thanked me for making her stay in the hospital a bit shorter, saving her money & making it possible for her to be at her son's college graduation...blah-yakety-yada.
Okay, I was just doing my work. Looking appreciative, I went back to the nursing station with my watermelon. Then, out of some kind of divine intervention, I just chose to stop being busy for a while, sat down and stared at my watermelon. At that moment, something struck me and I came to a realization. With this experience, this accomplishment that had merit me a sweet, juicy...and huge watermelon, I remembered what was supposed to have mattered most.
Man, I should be proud flashing the over-sized bowling ball around. It was my accomplishment, my trophy...my happy thought. I suddenly felt good. The moment I considered the spiritual aspect of doing something for somebody and not considering it as just a form of service, I developed the habit of being compassionate. Every task I did held more meaning, a patient's smile became my heart's own. I still slept standing up, but at least I'm smiling while drooling. And the wisecracks seemed a bit less corny...yeah, right. Amidst the toxicity of being so busy, I should learn to stop and reflect sometimes.
Reflecting on what had happened, good thing it wasn't a huge thorny jackfruit or a huge smelly durian.
-Finding humor in everything that happens in my life makes the hardships easier for me to deal with.-Last edit by Joe V on Jan 11, '15
Oct 24, '08yeah right. being appreciated by your patients is overwhelming. some patients just think that it's just our job why we are doing our nursing care. and there are some which really appreciate us nurses.Oct 26, '08@reychz: Thanks for reading. Have you ever been told of something really humbling? When I was a medicine student, that was before I took up nursing, I was told by my professor whose also a doc himself, that there will be a time when a patient will make you feel like you've got the divine power to heal and may even consider giving a comment that you're such just because you're compassionate and doing your job as a health care provider. I did have that moment once during med school, and out of humility I replied that I was glad to be an instrument of that divine healing power. I can't believe that I forgot how it should be that way...you really have to pause and reflect on what should really matter, every now and then.
Take care & Godbless