Perspective: Taking a Step Back to Be a Better Nurse

  1. 8
    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.


    Perspective:
    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.

    Perspective:
    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!

    ~shawnakimberly
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 2,348 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    I'm a new grad and I'm constantly told I spend too much time in my pts room. To hear that really bothers me. I just want to get to know my patients. We need more nurses like you!
    herring_RN likes this.
  6. 2
    My main reason for leaving a hospital job was because I wanted more time to be human with my patients. More time to let them know that they werent alone, they are frightened, alone, and feel very vunerable and incredibly shut out with many strange people taking tests, blood, giving baths, meds, just running in and out all day long. Its very invasive to a person who is just thrown into a totally strange environment and just sit there with a tv, books or radio all day on. If you dont have much company, this could bring on stress which complicates their health even more. I found nursing homes to be more of a sad place in a way to work for these poor souls are old, and sometimes I feel like they are the ones that are really forgotten about because of their age. So, I left the hospital scene to become a LTC/sub acute Nurse. I however kept hearing a co worker of mine who was long in the tooth say to me, : What are you doing working in a place like this? You should be working at a hospital or something else? I told her my story. She used to be a Nurse Anesthetist. She had had her career and this was just to keep her busy. I felt somewhat taken back at her saying that but I knew in my heart that somewhere out there , there was a Nursing job where I can REALLY spend my time with people. I think being sick, alone and most of all old is the worse possible thing in your life. YOu also watch friends, and family pass away as you grow older. Its a very sad part of life and these people NEED somewhere to be there. We are human, I think medical facilities are very cold and corporate looking now. No sense of that Home like feeling that people long for when they are away from their homes. We all seek that security in our lives, that sense of belonging somewhere, we look for McDonalds restaurants in foreign countries, or something that reminds us of home. I could ramble on and on. But Nurses are there for many reasons and our jobs pull us all which ways. To answer your question....maybe your patient can get a headphone for his phone, but that still doesnt mean that you dont have to be there when the phone rings. Too bad it wasnt voice activated, like all he would say is hello and it would key in from voice recognition and the call would connect. That would be a wonderful idea for a company!!! Anyway. you are doing a wonderful job....you are very kind and caring with your patient. The BEST thing you mentioned is that you put yourself in that patients place. I was a patient for a week after an ovary exploded on me, I had peritonitis and it was an emergency, that week I spent in that hospital gave me a nasty nurse I will never forget. How mean and unemotional she was. I was frightened out of my skull. I didnt know what tubes were in me or what I had to do with a call bell. And actually THAT NURSE if I can find her today did me a great favor as a Nurse today....I Vowed NEVER EVER TO BE LIKE HER AS A NURSE because she made such a bad impression on me as a nurse that It actually turned out GOOD for me in the long run. You just never know.
    aprilpam77 and poppycat like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from lumbarpain
    My main reason for leaving a hospital job was because I wanted more time to be human with my patients. More time to let them know that they werent alone, they are frightened, alone, and feel very vunerable and incredibly shut out with many strange people taking tests, blood, giving baths, meds, just running in and out all day long. Its very invasive to a person who is just thrown into a totally strange environment and just sit there with a tv, books or radio all day on. If you dont have much company, this could bring on stress which complicates their health even more. I found nursing homes to be more of a sad place in a way to work for these poor souls are old, and sometimes I feel like they are the ones that are really forgotten about because of their age. So, I left the hospital scene to become a LTC/sub acute Nurse. I however kept hearing a co worker of mine who was long in the tooth say to me, : What are you doing working in a place like this? You should be working at a hospital or something else? I told her my story. She used to be a Nurse Anesthetist. She had had her career and this was just to keep her busy. I felt somewhat taken back at her saying that but I knew in my heart that somewhere out there , there was a Nursing job where I can REALLY spend my time with people. I think being sick, alone and most of all old is the worse possible thing in your life. YOu also watch friends, and family pass away as you grow older. Its a very sad part of life and these people NEED somewhere to be there. We are human, I think medical facilities are very cold and corporate looking now. No sense of that Home like feeling that people long for when they are away from their homes. We all seek that security in our lives, that sense of belonging somewhere, we look for McDonalds restaurants in foreign countries, or something that reminds us of home. I could ramble on and on. But Nurses are there for many reasons and our jobs pull us all which ways. To answer your question....maybe your patient can get a headphone for his phone, but that still doesnt mean that you dont have to be there when the phone rings. Too bad it wasnt voice activated, like all he would say is hello and it would key in from voice recognition and the call would connect. That would be a wonderful idea for a company!!! Anyway. you are doing a wonderful job....you are very kind and caring with your patient. The BEST thing you mentioned is that you put yourself in that patients place. I was a patient for a week after an ovary exploded on me, I had peritonitis and it was an emergency, that week I spent in that hospital gave me a nasty nurse I will never forget. How mean and unemotional she was. I was frightened out of my skull. I didnt know what tubes were in me or what I had to do with a call bell. And actually THAT NURSE if I can find her today did me a great favor as a Nurse today....I Vowed NEVER EVER TO BE LIKE HER AS A NURSE because she made such a bad impression on me as a nurse that It actually turned out GOOD for me in the long run. You just never know.
    Most of the nurses and staff in our hospital give exceptional care, and spend time with our patients. We live in a rural south Georgia town so that's just the nature of the people in our area. But every barrel has its bad apples. I make plenty of time to get to know my patients, some nights more than others. And I see plenty of nursing home patients come to my floor, too. I see all ages and walks of life. That's what I love about what I do. I just feel like we all need to remember how lonely, vulnerable, and scary it is to be a patient.
    Aongroup1990 likes this.
  8. 0
    Quote from smurph1
    I'm a new grad and I'm constantly told I spend too much time in my pts room. To hear that really bothers me. I just want to get to know my patients. We need more nurses like you!
    As long as you get your work done, you can never spend too much time in your patients' rooms! I find myself leaving later than most, and of I'm ever asked why, my answer will be, "because I always go the extra mile, and help before I'm asked. I should be employee of the month!"
  9. 0
    thanks for this post..This will serve as a good reminder for many nurses out there
  10. 0
    I've always like working the night shift because it seemed like I could steal away a few extra minutes to spend w/ my patients then when I worked any other shift.

    shawnakimberly, your poem is very sweet! Keep on writing and keep on nursing...
  11. 0
    This is so true. Thank you and if you don't mind I would like to post this to another page. Secretly I would like to hang it in our break room for some other nurses to read, maybe they would step back and think.
  12. 0
    I am encouraging anyone and everyone to share this anywhere you can! That awareness it brings, reminding us what it must feel like to be the patient, is a necessary tool for a good nurse to have. We need to bring humility to the table, remember that it could be us or our loved one someday, and treat the patient like a human being. I have many health problems myself, and it's very important to me that I'm taken seriously and treated with kindness and like a person when someone takes care of me, so I do the same. And I speak up when I see that others are not, and that is key. We cannot look the other way, because we are just as liable.


Top