Why I became a nurse

  1. 13 For as long as I have been in nursing I am so tired of being asked this question: Why did you become a nurse instead of a doctor?

    Yesterday I had a social admission/respite care for a much older patient who was just dropped off at the emergency room for the holiday and eventually admitted "pending PT eval on Monday for safe discharge". The patient's family called me back after I informed them that my patient was crying and asking for them and they said they would be there shortly. I am assuming they were taking advantage of my patient's dementia by making false promises by never showing up. After several bouts of hearing the crying, I spent the day watching "dog the bounty hunter" and "storage wars" marathon on A&E in between providing care for my other patient's just giving company to a confused elderly patient.

    Could a doctor do that?
  2. Visit  MattNurse profile page

    About MattNurse

    MattNurse has '39' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'med-tele/ER'. From 'nyc'; Joined Jan '12; Posts: 162; Likes: 224.

    10 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  beeker profile page
    3
    I spent a good portion of last night charting in one of my confused elderly patients room for the same reason. She kept crying and asking for Emily ( a family member I assumed) and she thought I was Emily whenever I went in. So I kept her company while watching Lifetime Movies and Home Shopping while I charted. I felt so bad each time I had to go out, which as you know is often. I was hoping to meet Emily this morning, but the fam was not in yet by shift change.
  4. Visit  MJB2010 profile page
    5
    The moments when you get to feel like you are really bringing comfort to someone, those are the moments that remind us why we are nurses!
    kh321, catebsn25, SHGR, and 2 others like this.
  5. Visit  BostonTerrierLoverRN profile page
    13
    One of my absolute favorite moments of nursing came when I had a "sun downer" on an Acute Care Floor. She was a walky/talky patient- and really quite young for a dementia patient, but she had been giving the weekend crew fits- you should have heard the report- they said if we wanted to get anything done, make her a 1:1. Guess who got her-. . .

    If you guessed "Boston" you are right!

    I approached her room first with hands shaking, and there she was. She immediately came to hug me (thought I was her son, her "Favorite" son, and she wanted me to tell her "everything" I had been doing. I told her I was sooooo glad to see her- but, when I had finished assessment- she got real angry when I tried to leave. Jackpot- CNA came in to check VS, and had some fresh linen- her water bottle was empty, so I ran to fill it up (she had spilled the water on her bed.) CNA had bed made up by the time I came back, and though she remembered nothing we spoke of- she still thought I was her son.

    I noticed the CNA had left the linens on the little couch by accident- and the patient was smiling, and folding each one up- "professionally" like hand towels are in a 4 star Hotel. I said, Momma? Is there anyway way you could help me fold my towels, and rags? I have so many clean, but I have been toooooo busy to get to it.

    I raced to the linen closet shaking out 6-8 towels, and 5 or 6 hand towels, put them on a cart, and raced back. People followed me to the door to peek (thanking it was a bad BM, or something awful.) As she would get them folded, she would bring them to the desk, and I would make such a big deal over how great they looked- and how grateful I was for her help, and was she ready for the next load? Of course she was.

    She folded towels until 3 or 4 AM, Me, another Nurse, or the CNA would shake them out, and race them back. She was D/C'd later that day back to her facility. Before I left, She told me how wonderful it was to spend time with me (still thinking I was her "Son," and I told her vice versa.) I cried nearly half the way home that someone that healthy with obviously YEARS ahead of them has been tortured by dementia, and how the family must feel.

    My own family has been hit on my inlaw side with Alzhiemers, and it's a nasty dz! I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy! Never forget HOW BAD the family feels, and the toll it has taken on the caregivers daily to see their family member confused and not know them. I have seen really intelligent people try to "re-orient" them, and torture theirselves, and the patient in a grieving and gruelling no win situation.

    I never blame a family for not being there in these GRIEF FILLED times, and even if they do bring comfort to the patient- it's temporary, and it will be forgotten. It is sad. My patient made a huge impact on my life, and my career. She was a very sweet lady, and it just took a small miracle- and we connected. That reward, if I never get another, was the best so far- and cherish that memory.

    The best we can do, is the best only WE can do. But please, give the family patience. Unless you have been through this personally- nothing can describe the pain of losing someone to Dementia. It is Hell on Earth. It every bit wants your sanity, as bad as the person with it. The family meant no harm, but are probably just DESPERATE!

    Boston
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Apr 10, '12
    kh321, catebsn25, hanasea, and 10 others like this.
  6. Visit  An_Apple_a_DayLVN profile page
    2
    I second that, Dementia is "most" of the time- too painful for a family to stand. First they visit daily, then a couple times a week, then maybe monthly, until they just come when there is a hospitalization, or an event that requires it.

    That's why I am always honored to be a "substitute" daughter for the day, and I would never try to re-orient them from such a Positive misunderstanding. You may make their day! Imagined trying to convince your mom or dad all of a sudden that their not your parents/your not their child.

    Painful and MORE Confusing.

    I agree, give the family some slack. It is just like a death.
    SXBlair and catebsn25 like this.
  7. Visit  wooh profile page
    6
    If I had a nickel for every old lady that I had help me fold "laundry," I'd have a lot of nickels. That's the only thing I miss about adult nursing, I really really liked my crazy old women. I'm going to be one someday, so I like to pick out which delusions I plan to have. I can pretty much guarantee, I won't be folding towels and washcloths, I'll tell whomever tries that, they can sit in the basket until they need to be used...

    ETA: Please know that "crazy old women" is a term of endearment. Like I said, I'll be one someday. (Alzheimer's runs strong in these genes...)
    SXBlair, DizzyLizzyNurse, joanna73, and 3 others like this.
  8. Visit  BostonTerrierLoverRN profile page
    4
    Just glad she didn't think I was the son who was always asking for money, and stealing her "coin change?". She told me all about "that boy!"
  9. Visit  BostonTerrierLoverRN profile page
    1
    Quote from wooh
    If I had a nickel for every old lady that I had help me fold "laundry," I'd have a lot of nickels. That's the only thing I miss about adult nursing, I really really liked my crazy old women. I'm going to be one someday, so I like to pick out which delusions I plan to have. I can pretty much guarantee, I won't be folding towels and washcloths, I'll tell whomever tries that, they can sit in the basket until they need to be used...

    ETA: Please know that "crazy old women" is a term of endearment. Like I said, I'll be one someday. (Alzheimer's runs strong in these genes...)
    Growing up in a small town, and knowing what some of the residents were like when they were still functional and independent-

    It amazes me how mean, hateful, and spiteful guys are now kind, gentle, and humble, . .

    And there was pastor I never saw or heard a negative thing about, and now he can out cuss, out vulgarize, and out argue the "Nurse Krachet" of the Unit.

    I wish I would have known about the "Folding," I bet there is alot LTC and LTAC nurses could teach me about taking care of these confused patients.

    I learned very quick not to attempt to re-orient a chronically confused patient!
    SHGR likes this.
  10. Visit  SHGR profile page
    6
    Quote from BostonTerrierLoverRN

    I learned very quick not to attempt to re-orient a chronically confused patient!
    Yeah, nothing like having another staff re-orient an elder to the fact that her husband, mom, gramma, whomever has been dead for years, and watching her cry all over again with grief. No thanks!!! I used to just let them tell me stories!
    I had a sweet LOL patient who liked me, and when I said good night to her, she called, "I love you!" and I said, "I love you too" without even thinking. Another staff looked at me like I was crazy. I just shrugged.
    Love your stories, guys. They are warming my heart.
    catebsn25, hanasea, wooh, and 3 others like this.
  11. Visit  joanna73 profile page
    2
    I love my seniors. They always have interesting stories to tell....some are true, some are not. Either way, very entertaining! I work nights, so a few of them make room in their beds for me to lay down. "You need to sleep too," one LOL always says. "OK, " I tell her, "After rounds I'll be back."
    wooh and LittleMissRedRaider like this.
  12. Visit  catebsn25 profile page
    0
    Quote from joanna73
    I love my seniors. They always have interesting stories to tell....some are true, some are not. Either way, very entertaining! I work nights, so a few of them make room in their beds for me to lay down. "You need to sleep too," one LOL always says. "OK, " I tell her, "After rounds I'll be back."

    That is the cutest thing I've heard in long time!


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