The View From My Frames

How do you view your patient, and how they view you? The way that we view our patients, and the way they view us, will differ. The struggle is meet both views so that we can provide the best care, and so that they can receive it. This article is about my view, as I see it through my various and colorful glasses frames. Nurses Announcements Archive Article


The View From My Frames

Different types of frames

There are frames that embellish photographs, and there are those which enhance a letter page. While some frames cast a protective shadow around an eye to block the blinding ray of a sunny glare, others spark style and glamour onto the eyes that peek through them in order to view the world. Then there is the frame of mind; that intangible ability to see cups half full, to view the good masked in the evil, or even the frame of mind that can see the hope that transcends a disheartened state.

My kind of frames

My kind of frames vary; an assortment of numerous shapes colors and sizes. Some are round, others with leopard print, some are metal and some made of plastic, some are funky, or rather crazy, and few are classic. I choose mine to match my outfit, or to bring color, style and individuality to my green scrubbed attire. Some of my frames cover my face more than others, but all of my frames window the eyes that view the discomforts my patients experience, the stress their family endures, the helplessness they feel as they depend on my care, and their hope that can easily shatter into despair. The eyes that blink behind the glass sees a human surrendered to their most vulnerable state; when they are succumbed to dependence, when their fate is unknown, when their dreams of another tomorrow are uncertain.

My patients frames

Curled up in a bed, branded by their birth date and a bar-coded number, a human being with a whole life full of complexities is simplified to a body in a bed, chained to an IV pole, and labeled with a diagnosis. Really they are a power house. They worked three jobs to provide for their kids as a single mom, the world traveler who loves to live life and see the world, and the mother with hopes to continue to expand her family. They clutch onto hopes for their future, as they balance onto the tottering grasp of today.

As I walk in to each room, I must to see them through the lens of the ill, so that I can attend to their needs and help them progress their capabilities. I must see a person who needs several medications, and who must rely on me to eat, sleep or move. I see to it that their physical safety is ensured. Behind the glare of my frames are pupils that widen when a light of hope casts a hopeful beam on my patient's prognosis; it constricts when uncertainties of test results dampen a projected diagnosis. The lacrimal ducts leak tears as my comatose patient's son sings her a new song he learned that day in school, or when my patient learns that their cancer is back. I must wipe the dust, grime and tears from the glass filling my frames and I go about my day.

What they see

From their bedside view, they see a little person with an ID badge toddling about in her clogs, adorned in green scrubs, and a head of curls that tangle around a rubber stethoscope. Her eyes are hidden behind colorful frames as she looks at the body under the sheets as she introduces herself. She examines the body and shares the plan for the day. What they see, is the person on whom their life is dependent upon for the next 12.5 hours. This short little, green scrubbed, curly head, crowned with a colorful set of frames; will be their eyes when they walk so they don't trip over wires and tubing, the eyes that will position them in bed. Those eyes sheltered behind the frames will detect the downhill or upward movements of their state of health.

That being lays there with hope that the eyes hiding behind the leopard, or the bright red plastic frames will sympathize and understand their state. They hope that those eyes can look past the bed, and to the person laying in it, to see the life that lived before the body involuntarily elected to battle an unwanted illness. The eyes behind the frames will utilize their vantage point to see both the needs of the being in the bed, and still perceive what the person was before, and their needs that transcend the medications, diagnostic tests and therapies.

Different frames

Really, there are two sets of eyes that are looking through the glass lenses held together by my frames. One set in search of hope and understanding, the other set striving to provide that hope and to understand. Each day, their eyes will meet mine and look through the same glass through which I view them. Each day both sets of eyes strive to meet an identical view.

Devorah Goldberg, BS, RN, is an Emergency Room nurse in NYC. Ms. Goldberg is a graduate student in the Adult Nurse Practitioner program at Hunter-Bellevue College of Nursing and received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Adelphi University in 2013. Devorah has been blogging about some of her nursing adventures since she began her career in 2013.

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