My Most Humbling Nursing Experience - page 2
Nursing is a very busy and rewarding career. During my 36 years, I have had many experiences in which I have been exhilarated, saddened, overwhelmed, and just plain exhausted. None, however,... Read More
Oct 14, '12Quote from BrandonLPNIn some ways being a nurse is like being a defense lawyer. Every convicted person deserves an impartial defense. The guilty and the innocent. The rapist and the shoplifter. Likewise, every patient deserves impartial, competent care. The saints and the jerks alike. You can despise a patient and still provide quality nursing care.
Well said! I agree.
Oct 15, '12Very humble experience!!! Nursing, indeed, is very challenging but rewarding career!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 16, '12Reminding me why I had become a nurse in the first place: to provide care and comfort to the sick, to heal when I could, to provide comfort when I couldn't, and to practice nursing in a compassionate and non-judgmental way.
Oct 17, '12Beautiful story!! I'm a brand new nurse and have only been working as one for a little under a month now. I'm going to save this story for times I know will come where I will start to forget the reason why I became a nurse in the first place. I don't ever want to lose my compassion for those that depend on me to take care of. Thank you for this story. It's a must have for new and seasoned nurses alike.
Oct 17, '12This thread should be required reading in all nursing and med schools and read and signed by all employees as part of orientation into a nursing or medically related job!
Quote from cienurseNursing is a very busy and rewarding career. During my 36 years, I have had many experiences in which I have been exhilarated, saddened, overwhelmed, and just plain exhausted. None, however, compare to the night that I was humbled right in the place I stood at the bedside of a young man who was dying of AIDS. Here is that story:
I was working full time on the night shift at a chronic care hospital. Most of the patients I was taking care of were in the end stages of HIV infection, most with accompanying dementia and behaviors which were out of their control. These patients did not sleep through the night; there were many with med-seeking behaviors, belligerence, cigarette privileges which went through the night time hours, in addition to physical limitations such as insomnia and incontinence that come with end stage disease process.
Sadly, most of the patients were under the age of 40 and the job was more emotionally draining than physical, particularly when one of these young persons died.
There was one patient in particular, a 26 year old male, who seemed always to be arguing with staff, refusing his HIV medications while demanding more and more pain medications, and disturbing the unit often enough to elicit many complaints from the other patients. When he didn’t get his way, he would call the staff vulgar names in a very loud voice, would spit at staff, and become physically aggressive. I had to keep reminding myself that he was very young and very sick, and was extremely angry at life and was facing his own mortality.
Still, I would dread going to work at night, knowing that this young man would be up half the night, screaming obscenities until he got what he wanted, either medication, cigarettes, or take-out food. To put it bluntly, he was not my favorite patient and it was a real effort to provide care for him objectively and non-judgementally on a consistant basis.
One evening, I arrived for my shift at 10:45 p.m. as usual. As I was putting away my belongings in my locker, one of the 3-11 nurses came in to the locker room and told me they were having a problem with this particular patient and could I please come and help them. I remember that I rolled my eyes and reluctantly followed the nurse into this young man’s room. There were 2 other staff members who were gowned, gloved, and masked trying to remove sweat pants from this patient, who had been incontinent of a large, bloody stool. His body was limp and he was barely breathing. I gowned up and moved to one side of the bed to assist in turning him over so that we could clean him, all the while wondering what had happened.
As the nurse on the other side of the bed rolled him toward me, he was so weak and limp that I put my arm under his head to cradle it while easing his lower body over onto his side. He was so thin! I looked down into his eyes while my arm cradled his head. He seemed to look up at me with eyes that were half closed and then…….this young man took his last breath and passed away!
My eyes immediately began to fill up with tears-I felt I had just been sent a message from a power higher than myself, reminding me why I had become a nurse in the first place: to provide care and comfort to the sick, to heal when I could, to provide comfort when I couldn’t, and to practice nursing in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. To this day, when I encounter a difficult resident, I always remember that experience and, instead of becoming annoyed, I treat that resident with extra patience, kindness, and compassion.Last edit by Esme12 on Oct 18, '12 : Reason: formatting
Oct 18, '12This is a nursing website, sick patients deserve compassion and kindness no matter how difficult they are. This guy was sick and scared so he lashed outLast edit by Esme12 on Oct 18, '12 : Reason: ToS
Oct 18, '12Thank you for providing a compassionate posting. It makes me proud to have entered the nursing profession over 30 years ago and finding compassionate peers is wonderful to see. It makes me even more wanting to proceed with my doctoral work on compassion fatigue, to ensure that those nurses who have compassion remain in nursing and receive the help they need and deserve. Compassion fatigue should not stay in the way of providing compassionate, care to the sick who only deserve the best.
Oct 20, '12Although I am a new grad and haven't encountered as many difficult patients, I do admit that I have acted annoyed towards patients who were rude and overall unpleasant to say the least. This posting reminded me of why I went into nursing and encouraged me to reevaluate my attitude and behavior when battling compassion fatigue. I will definitely remember to treat those patients with "extra patience, kindness, and compassion." Thank you for sharing your experience.
Oct 21, '12This story is exactly why i want to become a nurse. I'm in nursing school right now and am learning so much. I can't wait to be done with school and experience real life situations.
Nov 30, '12Quote from BrandonLPNI've always hated that statement. Because the law works that way, and defense atty's are obligated to do everything in their power-including exploiting loopholes and technicalities-to defend their clients, murderers, rapist and pedifiles are free to walk the streets and carry on because someone forgot to sign something somewhere.In some ways being a nurse is like being a defense lawyer. Every convicted person deserves an impartial defense.
You can despise a patient and still provide quality nursing care.
Can't argue with that though....