Nurses General Nursing


i work at a fairly busy med-surg unit at a rural hospital. last night i received a change of shift admit. he was a middle aged man who is severely mentally handicapped. he came in with a fever of unknown origin. he comes from the local "state school" for the mentally handicapped.

i received report from the outgoing nurse who mentioned that he had broken his right leg about a week ago and it was in a cast. how he broke his leg, "no one knows".:eek: shocking considering he's bed bound.

anyway, i always talk to my patients as though they would be able to answer me even though they obviously can not. i asked him how he was doing and he smiled at me like he understood me. i then asked him how he broke his leg, and his mother broke in and exclaimed "he can't answer you".:uhoh3:

i'm thinking to myself "really? i did not notice." it took all i had not to tell the woman something, but all i said was i always talk every patient like that.

then she said "he only answers to yes and no questions"

i mentally roll my eyes at her and continue to talk to him as though he could answer me. the aid i had helping me told me after my face was priceless when she said the first thing.

i stayed a few minutes in the room to do my assessment and the mother barely even said a word to the patient.:crying2:

i love working with my patients, but not always the families. anyway that's my rant for the day.

Good for you for taking the time to treat your patient like a person first. When I did acute care, I had a patient that I spoke to during every step of her care. I knew that she'd never respond, but her mom looked at me one afternoon and told me that I was the person that she most preferred to have taking care of her daughter. I asked why, and she told me something that I'll never forget. She said, "You're the only one that actually speaks to her like she's a person. You tell her what you're doing, what's going on outside these four walls, and what the plan for the day is." It's sad when no one else that enters the room can be bothered to do that.

Kudos to you.

Specializes in Perinatal, Education.

I also always speak to my patients. I now teach and teach my students to do the same. I have had patients who are supposedly uncommunicative look me right in the eye when I talk to them. Students see this and it really touches them. Keep up the good work!

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I remember telling a wife, whose husband was in a coma, that I always talk to my patients regardless. Who knows? Maybe the tone of my voice got thru if nothing else did. Anyway, I told her it reminds me that the patient is a PERSON and I should treat that person with respect. She actually thanked me.

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