Its not easy to be a nurse, nor is it easy to be human at that. We make mistakes. We have feelings. We have opinions. And we also have judgements because thats human nature. But we are nurses. We should strive for excellence in health and it is our job and duty to do. So although after 10 hours on shift we may be tired, irritated, frustrated, and quite possibly stewing over the judgements we have made about this patient or that patient. I believe as nurses we can rise to the challenge of trying not to judge our patients. It is not easy and of course we may catch ourselves doing it, but in the moments we do catch ourselves lets try to just take a step back, breathe, and remember we are all imperfect humans. Plus...it never hurts to try.
Last night was a rough one. As I attempted to lay a patient down for the 15th time I slowly found myself in a state of total irritation. Thinking in my head why does she keep doing this? I swear this only happens to me! Ok, now she is doing it on purpose! And lastly I found myself thinking wth is wrong with you?!? But as slowly as the irritation came on it quickly subsided when i heard her say..."Im sorry i cant sleep, my brain wont."
This stopped me from what i was doing as I was reminded of why i was there. I was there bc she needed help, because she needed to be safe and well. I was there to do a job, not to judge her and wonder almost aloud what was "wrong" with her. I took a moment, we sat down, we watched TV, we talked about why her brain wont work. She smiled and laughed for no reason...so did I. After an hour, guess who was ready for bed? After doing the bedtime routine for the umpteenth time I found myself alone and in silence.
But I also found myself with a new way of thinking and the simple way of thinking can change so much for so many. Because as nurses our job is to provide care to people during what is likely some of the most difficult and trying times of their lives. We also tend to major catalyst in the way someone is cared for. We are all human and during rough times we may not always be at our finest moments or remember how much our small actions and thoughts affect the way we treat others and reflect how we feel towards them. We must remember this about our patients always but we must also remember this when it comes to our fellow nurses and all humans alike.
When you see the man yelling at all the staff down the hall and you think to yourself geez what a grumpy old man. Or when your brain injured client ask you the same question 13 times in 5 minutes, you think omg why do keep asking the same question?!? Or when you never seem to see the parents of that 4 year old peds patient and think to yourself, I would never leave my kid alone in the hospital. Well during these moments remember to stop, take a breath and not judge. Maybe that old man knows he is dying and is having a difficult time coping. Maybe that brain injured client didn't ask to be hit by a drunk driver and spend the rest of her life permanently confused. And maybe that parent you never see is struggling to work full time and provide for the other 3 children still at home.
In times of sadness, illness, life changes, and everything in between let's all stop to remember our patients are only human, just as we all our. Our job is not to judge those whom we don't know, but to heal our patients and provide them with care and comfort during times of distress or need. Sometimes a simple smile or words of encouragement go far beyond what you know. And sometimes when we open our eyes just a little wider we learn to accept the fault of being human and we also allow ourselves to see our patients as they truly are...not as just another patient but as a person.