It was another busy day on a mixed tele/step down/med surg floor. Carrying out my day. Learning all I can. Asking so many questions that the RN will have nightmares of me, but also on breaks day dreaming of ICU/ER rotations in 7 weeks to come.. Hehe.
Pain, it is something that most of our patients experience. However I feel that since pain is so expected, it is never properly assessed. The truth is that pain, it just may be the single most important indicative of complications. Pain assessment can lead to prevention of complications and correct diagnoses and treatments.
My story is simple. My patient was post surgical. Upon assessing her, I paid close attention to her. I am not sure what it was, something lead me to further investigate this pain. Without going by the book I had nearly assessed pain somewhat close to it. In a bit of a different order and in my own way. I found out she was having pain in her "bladder" as she described. I asked her the onset of pain and she said it started around midnight. As it turned out she was being neglected of assistance to the BSC. The told me it had been the same situation many nights in a row. She would call and call but.... No help would come. Meanwhile her pain increased and increased.
I felt so upset at this point! Something inside me... the nursing student inside me... It wasn't too happy.
I calmly assured her I would be right back with the RN. I smiled and put her at ease. I came back with her. We got her on the BSC. I immediately saw her relief. We also implanted the use of a bedpan.
Lesson: don't assume pain is always associated with medical diagnosis or procedure.
I felt good... I felt "nursey". I didn't save someone life ... No. I simply realised the importance of assessment.
I'm starting to realise that my patients can tell me a whole lot. They paint a picture, that labs alone simply cannot portray.