I see, and sometimes post, some vents and frustrations here on AllNurses, and I think it's time for a positive story. I'm a recent grad RN, working in a small ICU. I've had many bad days, and have been about to quit quite a few times, especially in the last two weeks. I don't feel that my 6 weeks of pseudo-orientation were adequate, and I'm getting tired of being reprimanded for not knowing enough about the unit. One day last week, however, I had a patient that changed my point of view.
This patient was very kind, very sweet, and fairly healthy, a rarity in the ICU. He continued to say "thank you" to all the nurses and doctors that saw him, he was truly grateful for our care. I was lucky enough to have him one night, and in true ICU-form, I had to wake him almost every hour for some kind of treatment, medication, or IVF replacement. He never complained. Not once. About anything. He just kept thanking me for being there for him. Unfortunately, he had the opportunity to hear another nurse berate me for an easily fixed documentation error. (I forgot to initial a note. oops.)
That morning, I went in to finish my care and say good-bye, and I told him I hoped he went home that day so he could get some rest. He told me he hoped so too, but that it was ok if he had to stay. He said that he was lucky to be there and get to experience an ICU without being a "real patient." He said that he and myself were blessed, and to know that for a fact, all we had to do was look around at all the other patients in the unit.
Before I left, he also told me that he knew my job was hard, but to keep remembering that as long as I am on my side of the desk, my day hasn't really been all that bad.
I can't even remember his name, but his words will stick with me for a long time. It was because of him that I didn't give my 2 weeks notice that morning. He was absolutely right. After seeing my other patients, with dementia, renal failure, and end-stage diseases of various types, I did realize that when I put it all in perspective, my day wasn't all that bad at all.
I hope this helps someone else to take a step back, take a deep breath, and be glad for what you DO have, rather than what you don't.
Oct 31, '11
This reminds me of a favorite quote from the book "ICU FAQs" by Mark Hammerschmidt, RN (it's a fabulous book/website by the way). He says,
"...Here’s one thought you might hold in mind: every day, when you walk out of that ICU, don’t you look down at your feet, walking there under you, and say to yourself: “How priceless”? Aren’t you glad that you can just breathe in and out on your own? Drink coffee? For me, that’s the gift I get, every day, working in the unit. The gift that only nurses get. “Chop wood, carry water – how amazing!”. Well, it is, isn’t it?"
Nov 15, '11
It was very kind of your patient to recognize and acknowledge your work.
BTW, the first few months (or year) are always hard. Just keep swimming!