MedRN11 1,746 Views
Joined: Feb 24, '12;
Posts: 3 (67% Liked)
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Anyone who works in nursing for any length of time has had this moment.
It's the moment where you have done everything, exhausted an extensive supply of interventions, and all the medically appropriate treatment has happened but the outcome is not the desired one. It's an awful moment because almost everyone who gets into the side of health care where you work with patients has a deep desire to alleviate suffering, heal, and give patients/families the news they want to hear.
Sometimes we can't.
All I can offer as a nurse in these cases so often is support, empathy, and an ear. Most of the time, it feels pitifully inadequate. I always wish I could do more.
For the first time, I'm not the one safely on the other side of the stethoscope. Instead, suddenly, I'm a patient managing a life-altering condition who happens to be a nurse. The day I was diagnosed with infertility related to an ovarian condition, I entered the whirl of appointments, tests, highs, lows, and the emotional terrain that comes with being a patient who desperately wants a certain outcome. And I'm starting to recognize just how much these gestures by health care professionals do, indeed, mean something.
When I first began going for testing, one of the nurses at my doctor's office showed a great concern for my privacy, since my tests would happen at the same facility I work at. She understood that testing for reproductive problems might be something I would especially want to keep private. She went well beyond what HIPAA would require her to do to ensure my privacy was respected. I appreciated that.
Other nurses have quickly returned phone calls, taken time out of their day to talk to me when I've had to stop by the office with questions, and relayed messages. They made sure I knew when I could call for test results to help alleviate the wondering and worry about when those would come back.
In every instance, nurses have stopped and listened even when I know they have to be very busy and listening to me likely meant putting off something else or leaving a little later that day. Several have let me know that they're hoping along with me that the treatments work out. That support touches my heart and sometimes gives me a little bit of hope on the dark days when I don't have any.
None of these things changed my basic condition. I still had to have embarrassing, upsetting, and sometimes uncomfortable tests. The test results were still not what I hoped for. But nurses' empathy and patience gave me dignity as a patient and helped me get from one moment to the next.
That's why it's important.
I was sitting on the table at the doctor's office after my day 14 follicle scan. The treatment had not worked, and there was little chance I'd achieve that much-wanted pregnancy this month. There was an additional worry now. I'd already failed to ovulate on a different drug, and this brought me one step closer to the more invasive and expensive treatments. The doctor seeing me that day, my regular OB/GYN who's seen me for years and I got to talking a bit about all this.
Instead of hurrying on to his next patient, my doctor patiently listened to me attempt to articulate my distress at my condition, repeating myself, slightly incoherent. He listened. Responded empathetically and appropriately. Took the time to sit there and let me get my words out. I knew, as he listened and responded and gave me the time I needed, that right now this was all he could offer me. There was nothing medically he could do that wasn't already happening. So he did the only thing he could: he listened and was kind to me.
It doesn't change my messed-up ovaries. It doesn't change my inability to ovulate. But it changes me from a patient, a malfunctioning body part, an infertile, to a human being with real pain and real feelings. Of course it's not a fix. I'm still sad. I'm still not pregnant. But somehow, it makes the grief and anger a little easier to bear. That physician's compassion was absolutely vital in that awful moment.
That's why it's important.
Or the OB/GYN I see for my infertility issues. She's worked me into her schedule on the fly and spent significant time explaining treatments, making sure I truly understand what the plan is. She's listened to me as well. She's called me after her office hours have ended, staying late so that she could make sure I got the information I needed.
She's also honest and upfront, and is now helping me make the transition to seeing a reproductive endocrinologist. That's something I don't take for granted. It would be easy to refer me on and let that be the end of it. Instead, she's helping me finish getting the extensive testing such as the HSG done here in my community so that I don't have to drive an hour each direction and can have the procedures done where my health insurance will cover some of the cost.
Again, it doesn't change my infertile status. It doesn't "fix" me. But it makes my life a little less hectic, a little easier. The compassion and help allows me to have procedures done where I'm more comfortable and with a doctor I like and trust.
That's why it's important.
I still don't want to be a patient. I want to be one of those women who got pregnant within the first couple of months without the stress, worry, or expense surrounding infertility. I want to have textbook normal ovaries. I want to be back where I'm comfortable, as a nurse providing care, not a patient. I'd happily give up every insight I've gained during this process to just be normal.
But since that's not going to happen, the small silver lining in all of this is the knowledge that those words, those gestures, the ones that feel so inadequate in the face of life-changing situations should not be underestimated. That those gestures are not without impact. It's something I've done my best to act on as a nurse prior to this. I understood it was important. I worked to make sure I was available to patients, that I offered empathy to the best of my ability. But it was theoretical, academic. No longer, though.
Now I understand, in a way I never did before, why it's important.
Yes, nursing school is really about as hard as they say it is.
The best thing I ever did in nursing school was really work to get ahead at the beginning of the semester. I really pushed to get As on my tests/work because I lived an hour away from school in an area that has bad winter storms - that way if I had to miss something or couldn't get to school, it wasn't a tragedy or killing my grade.
This really helped with pharmacology - we had tests once a week on Friday, so I'd study the chapter(s) in depth the Saturday and Sunday before, then just do flashcards through the week, and do a quick re-read of the chapter(s) on Thursday. If I'd tried to cram, I'd never have made it!
[FONT=comic sans ms]Hi Everyone, I'm a new nurse really struggling to keep afloat. I've always been hardworking and very determined. I have always known that with determination and hard work I can achieve anything. I have now been working in the Med/Surg floor for almost 3months and while I feel like I get the vey basics of my job I Constantly miss things that are then caught by my Preceptor, I get frustrated that I myself can't get it right. I feel like I come off as a ditz which in reality I'm not. This whole hospital job is really out of my comfort zone and I've never had to work with so many different challenging personalities, and while I absolutely love my job the fact that I just can't get it right is really starting to affect me. I need some help
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