It's Literally Only a Couple of Extra Minutes in Your Day

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    A story thats un-related to nursing but reminds you of how small acts of kindness and how going the extra mile does reap benefits for all.

    It's Literally Only a Couple of Extra Minutes in Your Day

    Recently I’ve had the misfortune to have an un-invited guest perch onto my doorstep. Who is this you ask?

    His name is Homey (lovingly short for homeless) and he’s a large grey and white cat. Everyday in the morning, he sits on my doorstep literally screaming his little lungs off because he’s hungry.

    How do I know he’s hungry?

    I know this because I accidently dropped a part of my lunch once and he ate it so fast that I didn’t have a chance to shoo him. Doh! Too slow!

    Now common sense would dictate the following: DO NOT, under ANY circumstances feed this guy because he’s probably someone’s or, he’s got rabies, or so on, and so forth. Rather than figure out if this truly is the case, the plan was to avert my eyes, create stories as to what his background was, and continue everyday like the one before prior to giving any more thought. Now, I know, I know, you’re asking: WHAT does this have to do with nursing?

    Everyday, we are faced with the insurmountable task of taking care of patients from all walks of life while being selfless and compassionate. We don’t know where these patients have been or what their backgrounds but we do know them as a report we’re given during shift change. We also know that in order to survive, we either condition ourselves to become desensitized to some of the most basic needs and emotions or face the chance of becoming burnout.

    We groan when a patient asks us to assist them to the bathroom, we are annoyed by a family members demanding requests while their loved one is passing, and we complain when we have to get patients another blanket when their cold. Rather than taking a few moments our of our day to go over and beyond, we are tempted to remain status quo and to just “put in our twelve hours”.

    Patients we should be advocating for are now stockpiled into a category of being “needy”, “non-compliant” or, “system abusers” because it’s easier to not do anything than take a couple of extra steps to do the best.

    Is this heartless?

    Yes, but this survival skill protects us from being accountable for someone else and makes it easier to chock it up to being a job.

    Our profession will never be a profession while we continue to do this. Nursing is a large part of us and as we continue to build these survival skills, it resonates not only in our working life but also can spread into our personal lives; like the situation with my dear buddy Homey.

    Now faze back to Homey.

    One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to figure out if he was being taken care of and I figured, it’s not going to hurt to double check if he has an owner. As I was digging, I came to find out that Homey was left by my old neighbor who recently moved to a bigger home and decided to abandon his pet.

    Completely crushed by this revelation, I decided that something needed to happen. All it took was a bowl of food and needless to say, Homey has now become Mr. Smokey and he lives on my front porch and comes back for an occasional bite and to show me that he appreciates this, he licks my toes.

    It hasn’t taken any more out of my life but it has done one thing: it has given Smokey a chance and if we as nurses can do this in our personal lives we can do this with the patients we take care of.

    We have to remember to never become complacent and that sometimes, going the extra mile, IS really worth it. We are in one of the toughest professions and although we may not always get the thanks or rewards of being a nurse, we are privileged because not everyone can do what we do and not everyone has the power to make a small change into something profound.

    My so-called misfortune has turned out to become one of the biggest blessings of my life. Thanks Mr. Smokey. You are appreciated.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 11, '15
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    As a phoenix, I rise even though I have gone through unbearable challenges and hardships. I focus on the positives in my life and strive to be the best that I can knowing that standing apart from a crowd sees benefits only in the long run. My goal in life is to progress professionally while maintaining who I am and not be swayed by the glamours of money or phrase. I try to keep laughter in my life because sometimes that's the only thing that keeps me from crying. To be a leader, the road less traveled is customary but it doesn't have to be lonely!

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  3. by   Fuzzy
    Animals do make our lives whole. I work on the vet side of medicine. The animals are my's the owners that I nurse. These are the people who are very concerned about the well being, comfort and care of their animal family member. Many owners see the animal in the same light as a child. So I take that extra few minutes to comfort the owner. The animals are easy. The owners are harder.

    Fuzzy, Thanks for giving smokey a loving home.
  4. by   NayRN
    In my case, common sense would dictate that I feed the hungry animal. They will be grateful for the food, will take it when we give it, and they will not manipulate PRN medication (food) to be scheduled every 4 hours whether needed or not. It will be given rather than taken. Unfortunately in nursing, and in real life, you just can't continue to feed and house the patient who is not only demanding on our time and resources but his wife who hasn't showered or left the hospital for days because they have nowhere to live. Nursing suspicion is that they have no place to go, so the longer he can keep up his vague complaints of pain, the longer they are out of the cold. but then reality: are you going to take these people home? Is this a nursing problem, or is it a greater problem of society? There is only so much the social workers can do. They go to a homeless shelter, then eventually they end up back in the hospital as self pay asking for guest trays three times a day. Yes we want to do it, but if we did, how long would we have jobs ourselves? Yes, this is a whole new topic, but a very real one. I adopted a stray cat myself earlier this year, and she is grateful for what she can get. I leave her to fend for herself the rest of the time.
  5. by   Writerssecret
    For 33 years I have nursed patients from every walk of life. I have learned when I am able to stretch and grow beyond the person I am today and find a way to understand the patient's behavior, we are both served. They get there underlying needs met and I become a better person. Every behavior has an underlying explanation, the question is are we big enough to understand it?
  6. by   mindlor
    phoenix, you are my new hero What an awesome article

    Brilliant! Wonderful! Beautiful.

    One million kudos