I have been taking care of a patient that requires total care, sometimes two hours of my time at once on a busy telemetry floor with a high census and a nurse/patient ratio of 1:6. Granted that's a ratio that's a blessing compared to other hospitals, but our floor is usually the busiest in the hospital, of the med-surg floors, and we usually have one extender on night shift for 28 patients with a high volume of admissions and total cares. Suffice it to say, we work. And I love every second of what I do. I'm one of those nurses that goes the extra 100 miles for my patients and their families, and for my fellow nurses and extenders. I jump in before I'm asked and our floor has a pretty good team. But sometimes, like we can do as human beings, we forget to be humble and put ourselves in another person's shoes. My patient can't talk on the phone without someone holding the phone for him, and I would make the time, whether I had it or not, for his wife and daughter to call each night to say good night and just talk for a few minutes. They don't live in the same town as our hospital. He lights up when he sees me, he knows my daughter's name, I know his. I know his wife's name and all about him and his family. I connect and bond with my patients. I cannot tell you how sad and heartbroken I was when I came on shift after a few nights off, asked him how his wife was, and heard these words..."I don't know. I haven't talked to her this weekend. Nobody has been able to help me with the phone." Now, even if you can't make the time to make a separate trip for the phone call, why not do it while you're giving him meds through the G-tube, changing dressings, and setting up the G-tube feeding?? Because his family will stay by the phone and wait for you to let you know when you are in the room to assist with the call...so his situation inspired this "poem" I posted on my FB, with his permission, to open some callous eyes. I have a lot of nursing coworkers and fellow students and instructors on my page, so I hope it goes viral!
Please copy and share on your FB if you like.
I'm a quadriplegic. I can't do much of anything for myself. But I'm a person. I have a wife. A child. A life. A fully-capable mind. A soul. A personality. A sense of humor. Did you notice?
The doctor came in today. He said a lot of things were going on. I'm in a lot of pain. Will it get better? My family can't be here right now. There is a knock at the door. A nurse is coming. Will she talk to me tonight? I love to talk. This room can be so quiet for hours on end. Except for the pump. Beep beep beep.
I'm a nurse. I do so many things for hours on end. I'm life-saver, medicine-passer, companion, advocate, spiritual supporter, housekeeper, waitress, and friend. I'm a person. I just took a call and told them I would be there to take care of them in a minute, as soon as I could. I'm doing my best to take care of every need as quickly as possible. Did you notice? I love to talk to my patients and get to know more about them than just their medical diagnosis. I end up knowing where they grew up, their careers, vacations, children's careers, grandchildren's names, dreams, and regrets. And when I come in the next night and they don't speak two sentences, I notice. There goes another pump. Beep beep beep.
So you see, we all have different perspectives in life. The important thing to remember is that, no matter which one you have, you need to have compassion for the perspective you have never seen. Especially if you want to be a nurse, or any health care professional. This holds true for any aspect of life, because you do not know the weight another person carries on their shoulders.
Please share and pass this on. I would love to see this go viral. Let's fan the flames of passion in nursing care of the whole patient!