Want happiness…apply the 10 second rule...on and off the nursing floor

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    Everyone strives to find the secret to happiness. What most of us never completely realize is that each one of us holds that truth within.Taking care of others is hard work, but you will find that even the smallest gesture can be life changing for you and your patients.

    Want happiness…apply the 10 second rule...on and off the nursing floor

    I walked onto the floor of the Oncology unit ready to start my day. It was a busy teaching facility but I had been there long enough to be comfortable in my RN role and not much surprised me anymore. It was a typical bedside RN position, little time for actually “caring” for a patient or family, just performing the usual tasks and routines. In addition to Oncology patients we also received overflow from other units including trauma patients awaiting transfer to long term care facilities.

    As I got report from the night shift nurse on one particular patient I immediately thought oh no, I am not going to have time for this today. Johnny was a young man who had been in a car accident and was now brain dead. He was waiting for transfer to a long term care facility. I knew there would be family issues to deal with and sure enough I was right.

    I walked into the patient’s room and was immediately met by the patient’s Dad with a barrage of questions regarding the (perceived) lack of care and his list of demands. I did my best to explain the situation to Dad but it only made him more upset. I did my work and escaped as fast as I could.

    Over the next few days Dad opened up to me explaining that he felt guilty about his son because he had provided the car that his son was driving. No matter what I said to him he never wavered in his guilt. I came back to work after a few days off to again have Johnny as my patient. Dad opened up to me further explaining that he (also) felt guilty because he is a Christian and didn’t feel that he had done enough to assure that his son was also a believer and had accepted Christ as his Savior, and now that he is brain dead he is unable. I was uncomfortable (even though I am also a Christian) and turned toward the door (to again escape) but felt called back, I realized how important this was to Dad (and Johnny) and had no choice but to stop and talk with him.

    We talked for a few minutes and I explained that (as a Christian) I believe since God has made us in His image we are comprised of body, soul, and spirit. And, since Johnny’s physical body was alive that means his spirit is also, and that just because our medical technology says that Johnny is brain dead that doesn’t mean that God cannot speak to and hear him. We talked a little more and eventually held hands and prayed over this young man asking God to converse with Johnny and give him the opportunity to accept Jesus as his Savior. I could feel the Spirit in that moment, and could see the wave of relief come over Dad knowing that his son was given the opportunity for salvation.

    We are all taught in nursing school how to provide spiritual care (appropriate to each individual patient of course); unfortunately, because of the workload this is rarely possible. We are all human beings (body, soul, spirit) and therefore we should do what we can to provide spiritual care to all people as such. I know that there is very little time during a busy day for spiritual care; but what each of us can remember is that even 10 seconds can make a huge difference in someone’s life. It only takes 10 seconds to show kindness to others, a brief word or smile can do wonders and sometimes can be life changing. I had to overcome my own insecurities and also take time (that I didn’t have) to provide spiritual care, but felt better after doing so.

    So what is the point? Realize that all human beings are comprised of body, soul, and spirit; therefore, we should care for ourselves in all three areas so we are empowered to care for others in the same way. We really do reap what we sow and taking care of other’s souls (mind/emotions) will, in the process, take care of our own souls as well, (thus providing us with the byproduct of happiness).

    I know that nurses are extremely busy, but if we keep ourselves open to when the spirit calls. and fight that urge to escape, both patient and nurse will benefit greatly. I know many of you have similar anecdotes to share. If you don’t that is alright, it is never too late to start your story now, you will have opportunities. Let’s vow to make 2017 the year that we be kind to others and provide spiritual care as we are able, not just to our patients but all people we interact with.

    Want to be happy…apply the 10 second rule as much as possible
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    7 Comments

  3. by   gunny48
    You did a good thing. Nurse on!
  4. by   futurenurseintx
    When I was in the ICU in 2015, my nurse had a similar talk with me. I'm thankful for it.
  5. by   Davey Do
    Yours is truly one of the most beautiful articles I have ever read, that touched me, here on AN.com, Daisy4RN!

    This sentence hooked me: "I was uncomfortable (even though I am also a Christian) and turned toward the door (to again escape) but felt called back, I realized how important this was to Dad (and Johnny) and had no choice but to stop and talk with him."

    That realization, that epiphany (that sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience) is a truly remarkable occurrence! In spite of a feeling of discomfort, you over came that discomfort in order to act and subsequently affect another's life and well-being!

    I doff my proverbial hat to you, Daisy4RN, bestow upon you and your article not only a like, but also a
    love-20button-20op-
  6. by   spotangel
    Beautiful! Bringing peace and closure! Rockstar nurse!
  7. by   marcos9999
    Beautiful story. I agree 100% with you that nurses should develop the humane and psycho-social potential. But nurses are overloaded with tasks that increasingly take them away from the bedside. To me this is one area I thrive as a nurse. I love to help people figure things out, I find patients very receptive and willing to listen to everything you have to say. I take these moments very seriously specially when is about death and dying.
  8. by   wonderwhy
    Brain dead or not, that patient was still "alive" and the LORD can reach him.
  9. by   Amy01
    No act of Kindness However small is ever wasted....

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