What is Caring to You?

  1. Everyone associates nursing with caring, but I'm sure you've seen those that just "get by" or don't get involved.

    I feel that I'm a very caring person, but sometimes you get those patients that make it very difficult. There are so many ways to show caring. What are those special things you do to facilitate a caring environment?

    What I'm asking is, what do you think of when you describe caring? Any special stories? What is caring to you?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   altomga
    gosh...this could be so broad. Nurses can show caring in sooooo many different ways I guess if I had to think about it...hmmmmmmm

    it can be as little as holding someones hand

    sitting and talking with them for those few minutes that we really don't have

    taking a damp cloth and wiping a pt's brow

    providing kleenex and water for the family of a dying pt and blankets..stand and just listen to the family talk about their loved one.

    one time we even snuck in a tiny dog so it's "mom" could see her one more time before she died. (the pt would not have made it home..the doggie was brought in a suitcase by a family member)

    providing coffee that the staff made to a family member that just couldn't leave their loved one.

    breaking the rules just a tad and letting a child <12 into the unit to see their mom/dad/grandparent one more time before they passed.

    making clown faces out of latex gloves for the young child of a pt so they wouldn't associate the "hospital" as the bad place that took her mommy away and letting the little girl sit with me at my desk and giggle and talk with me when I knew I had other work I could've been doing.

    decorating the unit during the holidays and the rooms of the pt's to "make it a little cheerier"

    taking a basin and bringing in snow for a pt that had been on the unit for awhile and was wishing she could make a "snowball"

    The list can go on and on....I think we show caring everyday we are at work. We turn our patients, tuck them in when they are cold and can't do it themselves, do ROM, clean their "bottoms", put lotion on their body, etc...yes these are all things we should do, but yet we do it b/c we care about the pt.

    I am a NURSE because I CARE!
  4. by   defib queen
    How I would describe truly caring, I try to think of it like this: I try to treat my patients like I would want my family or myself treated if we were in their place. When I was in nursing school my father had a bout with cancer, this taught me what kind of nurse I did and didn't want to be. My father recently had a recurrence of the same cancer, and again my idea was reinforced. I try to have extra patience with the families of the critically ill, I know exactly how scared and lonely they feel. Words cannot describe how awful it feels to sit in an icu waiting room day after day and watch your loved one go through hell, not knowing if they are going to make it. My sister had her baby last week, I was at her bedside during labor, I had forgotten what it felt like to see someone you love in so much pain. It puts a new light on why we do what we do.

    PS: she had a beautiful baby girl, 6 pounds 15 ounces, I love her so much, she looks just like my sister, I could go on and on about her, but I guess I'll stop for now.
  5. by   ShelleyERgirl
    What a great question. I worked as a medical assistant for two years in an oncology office and grew close to a patient that had breast ca with brain mets. She was so awesome and took her disease in stride. She had a nine year son and she would show me pictures at every chance she got. When she died I went to her funeral against the advice of the doctor I worked for, he said it would be too hard. Of course, he was right, but I didn't care. That patient meant alot to me and I wanted to show her and her family how much I cared about them. I still miss her and it has been five years.
  6. by   ShandyLynnRN
    Caring is everything mentioned above. The first thing that I thought of when I saw the question, was that caring is to not judge patients by their seemingly non-existent pain, when they say they hurt.

    Caring is not judging patients by their family members.

    Caring is giving EVERY patient the SAME treatment, even if they aggravate us from time to time.
  7. by   gwenith
    I care by making them smile or laugh. Even if it;s just a qauip such as "I better get that pan for you before teh goverment puts a tax on it!" is enough to make most people smile.

    I intorduce myself by my first name - enven those who are venitlated and sedated and head injured. Just to let tehm know I am not another impersonal pair of hands.

    A lot is trying to go that "extra mile" and possibley the best way of summing it up is to descibe tow deaths. The fist in a Unit i left because it did not have a strong care committment and teh second in my present unit.

    She was elderly but not so old that death was yearned for or wanted. She was dying. Her family were gathered around. It was teh end bed in a busy and noisy intensive care unit. The nurse was in attendance but had her head buried in the notes. Her only interaction with the family - a bare aknowledgement of thier presence and a comment of restricting numbers. The family unused to ICU and stressed jumped each time an alarm sounded "Is this the end?" The nurse was annoyed "No" Finally when the end came they were ushered out so the doctor could make his pronouncement.

    He was young but had struggled through a life with a severe intellectual disability. No parents but loving sisters. His lung disease was so severe that he was failinhg before our eyes. The room was darkened, his favourite song was put on the CD player. An aromatherapy mixture was started as his sisters were brought into the room. The alarms were turned off so that they would not scare and distress the family. The family were given time alone to say thier good-byes. When the end came his sisters were allowed to stay for the final goodbye.

    Which shows a stronger care ethos?
  8. by   scrubs70
    Caring for me is providing each person with every assistance they require to the best of my ability and with a smile on my face even when i don't feel like smiling.
    I like my patients to always feel as though i get enjoyment and fullfilment out of my work even though some of those cleanup jobs get really hard to smile through
  9. by   Tweety
    Leaving my personal crap, feelings, illnesses, drama, stress at the door and walking in and doing what's best for the patient.
    Never saying anything like "you're not the only patient I have, I'm busy".

    I especially like caring for the total and the very old. It's an awesome responsibility to be responsible and try to meet every single need for the patient.
  10. by   cactus wren
    Where I worked, yeaterday, the ICU was ground level, with an outside door, for staff entrance. One of my patients was endstage COPD, nonresponsive, gasping. Her very caring family stayed at her bedside. One member said something about patients beloved dog.....So later in the day said dog was escorted through staff entrance for a visit. Did the patient respond....nothing overt, but her respiratory rate went fron 40`s to 28, and her heart rate also dropped, so even though she didn`t open her eyes or make a sound, I truly feel that she was aware of his being there. And even if she wasn`t aware, her family was....

    Whatever works...that`s my motto...and don`t forget that sometimes it`s the family you have to care for also...
  11. by   RNinICU
    This seems like an easy question, but is not really that simple. Caring is a feeling of wanting to do the best I am capable of doing for my patients. I cannot relate individual incidents to demonstrate what caring means, because caring is not episodic. It is part of everything I do during my workday, from giving the right meds, to providing physical comfort, to helping a family deal with a loved ones illness. Even something as basic as washing my hands demonstrates that I care enough about my patients to protect them. Caring is not always easy, physically or emotionally. but it is an integral part of my nursing practice.
  12. by   hoolahan
    [i]Caring is not judging patients by their family members.
    [/B]
    Oh how very true and I would like to personally thank you for that one!!
  13. by   Love-A-Nurse
    among many things, caring is treating each patient/person as an individual.

  14. by   mert
    Caring to me is treating each patient, as you would want your Mother, Father, Grandparent, Child to be treated. (As a person and not the DISEASE.) Each person is unique.
    Kind, thorough, competant care.
    Being able to laugh:chuckle , or cry . Nurses have feelings, too...

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