Have nurses lost their 'human' touch?

  1. I have recently been on the receiving end of nursing care and have noted a few things which seemed relevant to me. I had abdo surgery but had some minor complicaitons with extended nausea/vomiting/diarhhoea and a reaction to the narcotic pain relief and also to the anti emetic (hallucinations) extending for 5 days (was meant to be a overnight procedure).
    After 4 days of this I was ready to give up - and lost the plot, cried and was extremely anxious as it was not improving.
    The RN's were very effecient, did my ob's on time, checked my chart/wound, gave my medications but unless there was something task orientated to do I did not see an RN. I know at the time there were 4 RN's in a unit with only 16 occupancies and at least 3 health care assistants (prac nurses). The acuity was not high.
    I was in desperate need of an RN to come and talk with me and let me know what was going on, just to ask me how I was, just to acknowledge that I was having a rough time. This may sound silly but when vomiting into a bowl a cold face washer would have been very appreciated. IN the end my boss, an RN, came in and talked with me. After this I improved and my anxiety was greatly reduced and I felt much better.
    I just wanted some human kindness and reassurance but it seems this isn't an RN role now? Surely psychological health is important too?

    Serani
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Mijourney
    Hi Serani. I encourage you to take the time and read as much of the discussions on this bb as you can. You will find nurses as distressed as you are about not being able to have the time to give TLC. This is why it's so important to have supportive family and friends with you when you're hospitalized.

    It's unfortunate, but many people in management do not care about your plight. If they did, they would staff for TLC. Maybe you could write a nonnurse critical letter to the board and let them know that you felt that you were being cared for by robots as opposed to nurses and that you prefer the human touch for your care.
  4. by   doliveri
    Serani,
    Unfortunately, I think nursing has become somewhat "task oriented" or should I say still is? The psychosocial needs of the patient, although studied and studied ad nauseam, seems to be by the wayside. As an educator, I know that we place a great deal on "critical thinking" in the curriculum. We want students to have the ability to critically think. But we also are so focused on the student's ability to perform the "skills" that we sometimes lose the focus of the ability to relate to the patient, no matter what is going on the with patient at the time of the nurse's encounter with the patient.

    I too was a patient not too long ago, but my experience was very positive. The nurse caring for me knew what I did for a living, although I did not know her professionally. She did an excellent job. I had a real fear of having to receive Versed and Fentanyl for a procedure that I had to have. I verbalized that to her, and she was very supportive to me.

    In conclusion, the most memorable intervention that she did to me was that of the psychological or psychosocial element. I do agree that as nurses sometimes we do not have time for this aspect; however are we selling ourselves short by not making this part of our assessment and priority? Is this something that as nurses we will have delegated out to some other source because we do not have time?
  5. by   plumrn
    When our hospital cut back the ratio of nurses to patients a couple of years ago, they told us, "You still have enough nurses to do the important things (meaning priorities)." They said

    # 1. Do the priorities.
    # 2. Try to do the important things.
    # 3. Lastly,try to do the things you would like to do, if you can.

    Well... we very rarely have time to do the things we would like to do. We barely have time to do the important things. (Sometimes they don't get done, either.) And, sadly, there are times when the priorities come close to not getting done. Its amazing, but the higher ups sure get upset when they get a complaint from a patient or their family about some of the things we like to do, but can't get to. They seem to forget all about how they told us to manage our time.

    I remember when I was a new nurse 16 years ago on the evening shift; I enjoyed giving back rubs, shampoos in bed, and even lotion foot rubs. My pts. wrote me letters and sent me cards after they got home and I was rarely stressed. Now, I run a fast pace all day, wolf down lunch, put off bathroom breaks till I'm about to pop, and go home mentally and physically exhausted every day.

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Have nurses lost their 'human' touch?