How has nursing changed you? - page 4

I definitely don't feel like the same person I was, years ago, before I started going to nursing school and working in healthcare. How has nursing changed you?... Read More

  1. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from RNrhythm
    Just the usual stuff:
    • I look at my friends and families and see chronic conditions starting and wonder how it will end.
    • I am very protective of my mobility.
    • I look at my spouse and think of all the things that I have seen and want to spare us from as we age.
    • My words are optimistic but my thoughts are very pragmatic.
    • I have become somewhat utilitarian in my clothing and nutrition.
    • I am wary of excess sugar in my diet.
    • I care about organs, like pancreas and kidneys, that I never thought about before.
    • I am grateful that I live a life free of pain.
    • I am grateful for the affection, support, and humor of my loved ones. Some people are so alone.
    • I am grateful that my mind is clear and I am not at war with myself.
    I can't "like" this post enough. When I saw the question, my first thought was "I don't know how nursing has changed me. I was 20 when I started and I know life has changed me. How much do I attribute to nursing?" Reading this post brought it home to me, because I think all those thoughts too and probably wouldn't if not for being a nurse.
  2. by   FuturePsychNP21
    Quote from EGspirit
    So, my best comes with my religious convictions. The only reason I'm a nurse and not an accountant is because of my religious convictions. I have had so many dying patients. I have been on so many codes. When you've walked a mile in my shoes then I might listen to you. I loved my patient as I love myself.
    This is wrong on so many levels. It is 100% UNETHICAL to impose your religious convictions on a patient who has not personally told you that they share the same convictions as you. You could have easily made this man's final moments frustrating and upsetting and if you became a nurse purely based on religious convictions I would highly suggest a different career. Nursing is not, and will not ever be, a religious profession- when you are at work your beliefs and opinions stay outside of the hospital doors. Your focus is on your patient, their beliefs, their needs. If your patient doesn't believe in the same thing you do then you focus on helping them using THEIR beliefs.
  3. by   Davey Do
    The old saying,"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" can be interpreted with "good intentions, when acted upon, may have unintended consequences".

    Actions are often perceived by others as being right or wrong. Intentions cannot always be interpreted by others as such.

    There are basically two emotions: love and fear- all other emotions spring from these two.

    An attempt to provide comfort for another, stems from, and is, an act of love. The act of judging another's actions stems from fear, motivated by a perceived challenge to our basic system of beliefs. In other words, if someone's act of love is a challenge to our system of beliefs, we may judge that act as being wrong; that act was a sin.

    An act of love is never a sin, for the act of selfishness is the only true sin. If we act for the benefit of others, we act for love. If we act only for ourselves, it is an act of sin.
  4. by   Kitiger
    Quote from RNrhythm
    Just the usual stuff:
    • I look at my friends and families and see chronic conditions starting and wonder how it will end.
    • I am very protective of my mobility.
    • I look at my spouse and think of all the things that I have seen and want to spare us from as we age.
    • My words are optimistic but my thoughts are very pragmatic.
    • I have become somewhat utilitarian in my clothing and nutrition.
    • I am wary of excess sugar in my diet.
    • I care about organs, like pancreas and kidneys, that I never thought about before.
    • I am grateful that I live a life free of pain.
    • I am grateful for the affection, support, and humor of my loved ones. Some people are so alone.
    • I am grateful that my mind is clear and I am not at war with myself.
    Wow. Just wow. You have read my mind, and you've said it better than I could have, especially the first several points.

    I cannot separate who I am from the fact that I'm a nurse. I see things differently. I see a person limping, and I think, "He has a progressive, muscle-wasting disease," or, "He had a stroke affecting the right side of his body." I think about what his life is like, what problems he's had to overcome.

    If I meet him and actually get to know him, I might see that my initial diagnosis was wrong, but I still can't help but run these possibilities through my mind.

    No, I don't go up to him, trying to tell him what's wrong, or whatever; these are things that I keep to myself.

    Now, when I see "medical" things on a TV show, I can hardly keep silent, even though my long-suffering husband doesn't really want to know why that particular episode couldn't really happen.

    I'll bet others have some of the same insights, especially when it comes to TV.
  5. by   djh123
    Quote from EGspirit
    For the record, I hope my patient was able to hear me. I doubt it, but I hope so. I did my best for him and his family, and my best is something I have always had a very good reputation for as a nurse, even among people who didn't like me. Keep in mind, the reason I did all that I did for him was because a bunch of lazy nurses before me never did--probably atheists.
    Oh My God. No pun intended. So now atheists are always lazy? I'm going to stop before I say a LOT more.
  6. by   RotorRunner
    Quote from EGspirit
    For the record, I hope my patient was able to hear me. I doubt it, but I hope so. I did my best for him and his family, and my best is something I have always had a very good reputation for as a nurse, even among people who didn't like me. Keep in mind, the reason I did all that I did for him was because a bunch of lazy nurses before me never did--probably atheists.

    This is where you lost me. I am an atheist, and over the years I've had patients and family members of patients ask to pray with me countless times, and I hold their hands and listen as they pray. I've been told by patients and their families that I am an angel. I've been blessed more times than I can count. Do I believe in any of this? No. But I believe in the power of belief, and the comfort it gives my patients. I treat all my patients with dignity and respect. It has nothing to do with religion. I take offense when you suggest that my lack of religious belief makes me lazy, or somehow less compassionate. It's just not true.
  7. by   HeySis
    Quote from RNrhythm
    Just the usual stuff:
    • I look at my friends and families and see chronic conditions starting and wonder how it will end.
    • I am very protective of my mobility.
    • I look at my spouse and think of all the things that I have seen and want to spare us from as we age.
    • My words are optimistic but my thoughts are very pragmatic.
    • I have become somewhat utilitarian in my clothing and nutrition.
    • I am wary of excess sugar in my diet.
    • I care about organs, like pancreas and kidneys, that I never thought about before.
    • I am grateful that I live a life free of pain.
    • I am grateful for the affection, support, and humor of my loved ones. Some people are so alone.
    • I am grateful that my mind is clear and I am not at war with myself.
    I agree ^^^^ (and I should be more wary of excess sugar... enough that I stop eating it!!)

    I do think that nursing has allowed me to see into "windows" of others lives that I would otherwise never experience. By witnessing the hurt and pain I have come to appreciate how good my life actually is and have gratitude for good friends, family and a clear conscious.
  8. by   Daisy4RN
    Quote from EGspirit
    I'm not surprised you don't feel like the same person. The nurse at whatever level (PCT, CNA, LPN, RN) does earn a living, but they are in a vocation of service to earn that living, and that vocation of service--dare I say it: compassion and caring--changes a person. It's supposed to. It's why God called you to it--to change you.

    Now, I realize that it may be that you feel jaded. That as bad as you thought people could be, you've learned that they are a whole lot worse. But you are becoming something: You are becoming a love that is big enough to take in all evil. And that changes you.

    And by love, I don't mean something abstract, but rather the concrete empathy and kindness that you can give--even though your job description doesn't require it. It glows in the tiny extra things that you do. And that love changes you. It changes you now, and it changes what you will be in the hereafter. Don't ever doubt that, and no matter how cynical or skeptical you feel, always hold on to the faith that you are changing for the better, because it is true.

    I recognized my change when I had a patient in ICU that was dying. He was no longer responsive, on a vent, four different IV's, TPN, and in MODS. His family was flying in and would arrive in a couple of hours.

    So, I closed his door; I cleaned his room, and I whispered into his ear: "You may not be here much longer, but you will look presentable and respectable for your family. I will not let you be seen without your dignity and honor. You must endure this for them. We are men; we put our faith in God."

    Then I gave him a complete and thorough bed bath and peri-care. Changed all his linen for some crisp new linen. I shaved him, washed and combed his hair, straightened all his IV tubing, and made things look orderly. I folded his sheet over the top of his blanket and tucked him in without a crease. I hid his foley bag. Everything was neat and clean and in order. And he was lying there peacefully, looking sharp and ready for the next world.

    I don't know if he heard me when I spoke to him. But he looked respectable and clean, practically military, when his family arrived.

    He was my patient, and I was his nurse. I gave him my self-respect, my dignity that he could not do for himself. I loved him as I loved myself, and that changed me in that moment.

    Some nurses in here will understand what I'm talking about. Others will judge me for it. But that's my long answer to your question. Thank you for asking it.
    I have been in many many situations like yours with a dying patient. I also have spent time bathing and putting the surroundings in order for the patient/family, either before or after the death. This is our job if this is our patient; to provide dignity and respect as much as possible.
    I am a Christian but I would never assume to think that my patient was also a Christian unless I had either spoke to them or reviewed the chart, you haven't said that you knew this so I guess you didn't. If you didn't know (that pt was Christian) this was not appropriate. As others have stated, a person in a coma can (more than likely) hear you, I thought this was medically accepted but maybe I am wrong on that. As a nurse it is your responsibility to provide the best medical, emotional, and spiritual care that is possible at the time. Spiritual care does not always mean "Christian" care. If you are attempting to provide spiritual care you must find out what the patient wants, because just like medical care, the pt has a right to refuse. How can a person in a coma refuse you? (they cant!). If I, as a Christian, am in a position that I am able to help another Christian along their journey, then great I am happy to do that, and I do that as much as possible. I am also happy to help anyone else, no matter what they believe, as much as possible. So, while I understand maybe your intentions were good, maybe it would have been better to (only) offer that instead of assuming.
  9. by   Daisy4RN
    Quote from TriciaJ
    Surely not this old, this tired and this fat.
    Same here!!
  10. by   Leader25
    I am not the same person.I am better in some areas not so great in others.The schoolwork and hospital job has toughened me,and I have learned how to be tougher from abusive co workers,as well as learning to be kinder from kind,respectful ones. I learned that hard work will not maim me nor kill me but will make me weary yet stronger.I have stood up to abusive doctors,ill mannered sexist docs,fought the handmaiden selfless sterotype.I really believe one can learn something new every day.I have stuck my neck out for my co workers and gotten it nicked a few times.I have missed my family dearly during holidays,but managed to get thru a shift holding back tears.Mostly I am better for it.
    Last edit by Leader25 on Feb 4
  11. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Quote from FuturePsychNP21
    This is wrong on so many levels. It is 100% UNETHICAL to impose your religious convictions on a patient who has not personally told you that they share the same convictions as you. You could have easily made this man's final moments frustrating and upsetting and if you became a nurse purely based on religious convictions I would highly suggest a different career. Nursing is not, and will not ever be, a religious profession- when you are at work your beliefs and opinions stay outside of the hospital doors. Your focus is on your patient, their beliefs, their needs. If your patient doesn't believe in the same thing you do then you focus on helping them using THEIR beliefs.
    I'm just a baby student, but we've already learned about cultural competency and how inappropriate this type of behavior is. I wonder how EGspirit would feel if someone from another religion - did something similar to him or someone he loved.

    To the OP, like I stated above, I'm a baby nursing student, so obviously nursing hasn't changed me yet. I do find myself assessing random people on the street though - we're still on the head part of the head to toe assessment!
  12. by   ThePsychWhisperer
    How has nursing changed me? Hmm... I'm certainly more jaded and cynical than I was prior to getting into nursing. Now as a psychiatric NP, I find myself trying to diagnose Axis I and II disorders in almost everyone I run into. I also seem to have this odd dent in my forehead; it may or may not be from repetitively banging my head into walls.

    Aaaand on to the main subsection of this post: EGSpirit

    I consider myself pretty religious. I believe in God and follow His commandments as well as I can in my day to day life. However, even as a fellow Christian, you have made some remarks here that deeply trouble me. Number one: It is not your place to be telling a patient on his or her deathbed that s/he must endure for anything. The patient was old, tired, in pain, and dying. He should have been allowed to pass into whatever afterlife (or lack thereof) he believed in without you telling him that he needed to endure another second in this world for any reason, and this includes seeing family, religious conversion, or anything else.
    Number two: I echo everyone else's sentiments regarding proselytizing to an unconscious person; it is not your job to try to convert a dying patient if he cannot participate and tell you whether or not your ministry is even wanted. I agree that bringing God into the fold as a healthcare worker when having not been asked to do so by patient or family is inappropriate. For some, religion is peace, for others, traumatic, and for any number of reasons. How would it make you feel to be on your deathbed and have a nurse praying over you in the name of Allah? Please keep things like this in mind.
    Number three: I have known many Atheists in my career and, funny enough, they all seem to be capable of providing proficient and compassionate care. It would probably also do you well to remember that we Christians haven't yet cornered the market in compassion, and some of the most hypocritical people I have ever had the displeasure of meeting claimed to be of faith. It was lovely that you prepared your patient for family visitation, but the nurses before you may simply have not had the time to do so; when I worked in the ER, it was all I could do to get my work done and make sure my patients were quasi-comfortable. I'm sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the previous nurses being Atheists.
    Number four: I will pray with my patients and attempt to comfort in a religious way if AND ONLY IF the patient (and any family present) has asked me to do so, or have made it known that it is okay. To do it at any other time is very presumptuous, and a violation of the therapeutic relationship I share with my patients.
    Finally, I do not believe that anyone here has addressed you in such a way that has necessitated you responding with the venom and name calling that you have. Please do not continue to give us of faith a bad reputation; it is bad enough as is anymore.
  13. by   Tenebrae
    Quote from EGspirit
    For the record, I hope my patient was able to hear me. I doubt it, but I hope so. I did my best for him and his family, and my best is something I have always had a very good reputation for as a nurse, even among people who didn't like me. Keep in mind, the reason I did all that I did for him was because a bunch of lazy nurses before me never did--probably atheists.
    So you did your job. Do you want a medal?

    I'm an agnostic and all my patients get the best nursing care I can give. If a patient dies unexpectedly I do my best to make sure they are clean and tidy and presentable for their loved one

    So, my best comes with my religious convictions. The only reason I'm a nurse and not an accountant is because of my religious convictions. I have had so many dying patients. I have been on so many codes.
    I've consistently worked in palliative care since I graduated and I've dealt with a lot of dead and dying people. My religion or lack of religion has never been an issue is because you know something weird, its not about me, its about my patient and their family and ensuring that what ever time the patient has left is as good as it possibly can be. Symptoms are well managed and more importantly ensuring that the patient is supported but that the family has support as well, whether thats from friends and other loved ones, or putting them in touch with family services at the local hospice.

    My reward out of all of this. Knowing that a patient has died a good death, symptom free as much as possible. Knowing that the family has people around them supporting them. The sense of inner achievement, and the absolute privilege of being able to walk the journey with the patient and their family is enough more than enough reward for me. I really dont care if no one else knows as long as I can walk away from the situation knowing that my patient got the very best care I can provide.

    When you've walked a mile in my shoes then I might listen to you. I loved my patient as I love myself. I did unto him, as I would have it done unto me.
    How would you feel if you walked into the room of an unconscious loved one and you found a muslim telling your loved one all about Islam and why they needed to meet Allah before they died.

    That's what my best comes with. And I can tell you right now, he was lucky I was his nurse. He never regained consciousness. He died. But when his family came to see him, he looked dignified instead of disheveled. He was clean, orderly, smelled good, and looking at peace.

    Judge me? Go judge yourself.
    I find it disturbing that you are so focused on giving yourself a gold star for the tasks that are apart of your job that you fail to realise what a gross violation of the nurse patient relationship to proselytise to a dying man, who you had no knowledge of his religious beliefs

    I was his nurse. He was my patient. He couldn't do for himself, so I did for him. And if the worst thing he had to endure was my statement of faith meant to encourage him and give him strength, then he got off pretty easy. He was an old man, a vet, he raised a family. I doubt he was offended by my comments--and I hope that he did hear them.
    Do yourself a favour and take your need to push your beliefs out of your work.

    There will come a day when you say something to a person who is able to respond and you will find yourself in alot of trouble. Personally if I found a nurse pushing their religious beliefs onto my brother in law (who just passed from pancreatic cancer) or my mum who is dying slowly and painfully of small cell lung cancer you can bet I would be seeking formal disciplinary action against the nurse, as a local level and with national nursing council.

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