Is buying a present for a pt. appropriate? - page 5

I have this one pt. who I really like very much. He is an about 80 y.o. quad on a vent and has been in the facility for years. His mind is so sharp and he so hungry for company, conversation and any... Read More

  1. by   Keely-FutureRN
    I love to receive cards thanking me for the care I provided. Once, someone tried to give me a 100 dollar bill (yikes!) after caring for their loved one. I (of course) thanked him but didn't accept it.

    It's a nice gesture which I'm sure would make him feel better. It's not really about the relationship between nurse and patient. It is just something that would be a very caring and compassionate gesture. Just get the bible and give it to him, it doesn't really matter if it's anonymously, from the unit, church, etc.

    Keely
  2. by   hospitalstaph
    Quote from ruby vee
    i think your nursing instructors were correct -- it's inappropriate.
    ooops, i think that i may have broken a rule then. when my husband was in the hospital for over a month we bought a basket of fancy lotion and other items for a nurse that really went above and beyond for us. (when we left something in the room at discharge, she offered to deliver it to our home that night) i hate to think that she would have been "on the fence" about accepting the gift. we truly wanted her to have something nice for herself after everything that she had done for us.

    just a patients point of view,

    tracy
  3. by   Gompers
    Quote from rn/writer
    You're right, you certainly weren't the only one to make that observation. Just the most recent and I didn't have the energy to go back to find the others. I was sincere when I said I meant no disrespect.

    If memory serves me, you work in a NICU and I can see where that kind of unit is just loaded with emotion. In your setting, you definitely have a point.

    What I reacted to is that, more and more, spiritual expressions get discouraged or outright squashed if anyone anywhere might take offense. In this case, both the potential giver and the recipient seem to be like-minded and, if she does what she wants off the clock, I don't think she should have to slink around or be apologetic or change her original plans entirely so that someone who isn't even a part of the transaction doesn't take offense. She should have the freedom to give this man what she believes would please him and in so doing, give him a little bit of warmth and connection as well.

    Again, I see that your situation is quite different and understand why you would have another outlook.

    Regarding the general idea that the OP might give a gift as long as it's not, God forbid (pun intended), a Bible, this is just sad. If he hadn't been reading Psalms and a liturgical book, I could see where her choice might seem intrusive, but the objection seems more about political correctness and fear of being misinterpreted than concern for what this man might actually want. I'm sure no one intended any harm, but the world is becoming a colder place with neutrality evolving, at times, into outright hostility where spiritual expression is concerned.

    At any rate, no offense, Gompers. When I was new to the board, you recommended the book, The Hatbox Baby, to me. I read it and loved it and have thought kindly of you since.
    Thanks for taking the time to further explain what you meant. You're right, emotions run quite high where I work so it really doesn't take much to set us off - both at work and on the boards!!! Good points.

    I'm glad you liked the book - we've come a long way since then!!!
  4. by   estrogen
    Quote from Gompers
    I agree that the book on tape sounds like a better idea for this particular patient. Also agree that maybe a bible might be inappropriate - even though you are both religious, it can be seen in other's eyes as pushing your beliefs onto someone. Maybe a book on tape of inspirational stories, something like that? ......
    Thanks for your input and your suggestions....but...

    A).... I never said I'm religious.
    B) As I stated earlier, the man really likes to READ. Why do you assume that a book on tape would be a better idea? And why inspirational stories? I'm just curious how you arrived at this particular conclusion...
  5. by   SierraC
    I worked on a pedi floor for a year or so...the staff would buy the kids who had no family or families that could not afford it..clothes and such. For Xmas, we would all pick a child and buy something special for that child and leave it on their bed on Xmas morning. I say do what you feel is right in your heart!
  6. by   estrogen
    Quote from rn/writer
    I have to say this again. There is a big difference between a patient in an acute care hospital and a resident in LTC. The facility where the OP works isn't just a health care setting. It is this man's home. Any ambiguity about roles can be addressed by coming in dressed in street clothes during non-work hours. According to the OP, this resident has no one in the world to care for him and the only ones who are aware of his situation are those in the facility. Should he be deprived of simple human connection and small gifts which might improve his quality of life because such attention might be misconstrued?

    As for those who said things like, " . . . a bible might be inappropriate - even though you are both religious, it can be seen in other's eyes as pushing your beliefs onto someone," I have to shake my head. I mean no disrespect, but I have grown incredibly weary of reactions that treat spiritual behavior as if it's something sinister. The resident--who has clearly demonstrated HIS beliefs--should matter more than those amorphous "others" who seem very good at robbing us of our humanity in the name of being blandly inoffensive.

    I really admired the OP's clarification that she isn't doing this to earn feel-good points for herself, but rather to provide some warmth and goodness in the life of an old man who is severly incapacitated. That statement of her motives says her heart and her head are both in the right place.

    To you, OP, I hope you can find a balance between professional obligations and personal inspiration that will let you connect with this man in a way that blesses you both.
    Thank you Miranda! I've been reading your posts for a while and I admire your intelligence end eloquence. What an inspiration!
    Last edit by estrogen on Nov 6, '05
  7. by   estrogen
    Quote from Gompers
    Hey, I wasn't the first one to bring up the fact that a bible might not be the best gift in this already very ethical situation. And I have seen things like that happen because I DO work in an area where there is a lot of gift-giving. I have seen tension mount on the unit when some nurses discuss religion with familes and others don't. It gets very uncomfortable sometimes because there are quite a few of us out there that don't like to discuss religion, especially at work. So what it sometimes feels like is that the families think that the nurses who are religious are somehow better people and better nurses than those who aren't. Seen it, lived it, so please don't shake your head at me about it. I was just trying to help the OP find an appropriate gift since she is obviously unsure about this gift-giving in the first place and came here for advice.
    This might come as a surprise to you, Gompers, but I also do not discuss religion with anyone, especially not it the workplace. I don't approve of any employees (or anyone actually) imposing their religious views on anyone else, and eventhough I concider myself privately a spiritual person, I am not particularly religious. I perceive spirituality and religion as something very private and individual. I may go to church every once in a great while and I have great respect for all religions.(...and that's as far as I will go with describing my own spirituality.)

    However this gentleman happens to be very religious. Religion is if not the most important then definitely one of the most important themes in his life.

    As far as my ethical dilemma, I am not really questioning the appropriateness of the gift of a Bible. If he was all about fishing, I would be looking into buying him a book about fishing. If he was into horticulture... you know what I mean... Also, if he was, say Muslim, I would look into buying him a Koran. The same goes for the book vs. "book on tape" issue that someone brought up. If he likes to read, why would I decide, that it's more appropriate for him to listen to a tape? (Eventhough I'm not denying that he may enjoythat also?)

    What I am unsure about, and am trying to find an answer to, is the appropriateness of any gift to a patient such as mine in general.
    See, I'm asking myself, what if he starts to think of me as a friend? What if I become "important" to him? ....Then, one day, what if I go to another job an he never sees me again? Could I actually possibly hurt him with my gift? Sometimes, humanity requires courage. and I don't know if I posess such courage.
    Last edit by estrogen on Nov 6, '05
  8. by   Gompers
    Quote from estrogen
    Thanks for your input and your suggestions....but...

    A).... I never said I'm religious.
    B) As I stated earlier, the man really likes to READ. Why do you assume that a book on tape would be a better idea? And why inspirational stories? I'm just curious how you arrived at this particular conclusion...
    I have no idea why I'm being targeted. I'm only trying to help. I was not the first to mention books on tape. Honestly, with nurse staffing the way it is these days, who in the world would assume there would be time for someone to come and turn the pages of a book for this man? That's why the tape was suggested instead. And the reason I recommended inspirational stories was because my grandmother was deeply religious, and when she wasn't reading the Bible, she was reading inspirational stories by Christian authors. It was just an idea, a suggestion!

    I know you came here to ask about the ethical issue of giving gifts to patients, not about the appropriateness of the Bible. But some of us mentioned that it might not be a good idea. It's just our opinions, we didn't misunderstand your original question. It was just that it sounded like a double whammy - first a very generous gift (you said it was a very very nice Bible, and those aren't cheap) and then it being a Bible on top of that.

    We're just trying to help here. If you don't like our advice, don't take it.

    You seem really on the fence about giving this gift. Just don't do it, and then you won't have to worry about it. Or if you do, give it totally anonymously, and never admit to him or anyone else that it was from you.

    Good luck.
  9. by   estrogen
    Quote from Gompers
    I have no idea why I'm being targeted. I'm only trying to help. I was not the first to mention books on tape. Honestly, with nurse staffing the way it is these days, who in the world would assume there would be time for someone to come and turn the pages of a book for this man? That's why the tape was suggested instead. And the reason I recommended inspirational stories was because my grandmother was deeply religious, and when she wasn't reading the Bible, she was reading inspirational stories by Christian authors. It was just an idea, a suggestion!

    I know you came here to ask about the ethical issue of giving gifts to patients, not about the appropriateness of the Bible. But some of us mentioned that it might not be a good idea. It's just our opinions, we didn't misunderstand your original question. It was just that it sounded like a double whammy - first a very generous gift (you said it was a very very nice Bible, and those aren't cheap) and then it being a Bible on top of that.

    We're just trying to help here. If you don't like our advice, don't take it.

    You seem really on the fence about giving this gift. Just don't do it, and then you won't have to worry about it. Or if you do, give it totally anonymously, and never admit to him or anyone else that it was from you.

    Good luck.
    I'm sorry that you feel attacked. That was not my intention.
  10. by   Chaya
    What I am unsure about, and am trying to find an answer to, is the appropriateness of any gift to a patient such as mine in general.
    See, I'm asking myself, what if he starts to think of me as a friend? What if I become "important" to him? ....Then, one day, what if I go to another job an he never sees me again? Could I actually possibly hurt him with my gift? Sometimes, humanity requires courage. and I don't know if I posess such courage.[/QUOTE]

    Estrogen-
    Sounds like you are already important to this patient. If you were to leave I think he would remember you always and just be grateful you touched his life. Follow your heart on this one. Which would you regret more-giving this gift OR knowing you had the chance to and did not?
  11. by   BittyBabyGrower
    We do it all the time....especially if it is a family we have gotten close to, we'll buy a book or an outfit for them.

    I had a nurse in the LTC that took care of my dad...she would bring him little things and it just brightened his day! I loved that someone cared for him that much

    I have received small gifts from parents also...nothing extravagent, and usually of the food persuasion that is shared with everyone Several of us have had cards with money...we turn that over to the NM to put in the general fund, monetary gifts are a huge nono!!

    I say go with your heart...you care for this person

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