Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

One of my jobs

She came in with the others that show up first thing in the morning, the ‘7:30’s we collectively call the first arrivals.

Her husband walked five feet behind. Before I spoke, she did.

“Which way is East?”

I immediately understood why she asked, but I didn’t have an answer. I have no sense of direction even when in my car unless I turn on the dashboard compass, so just imagine the dumb look on my face when she asked this simple question.

Her husband saved me and pointed in the direction behind me.

Then I regained my bearings.

“Let me move some chairs. You both can pray together.”

Within a few minutes they were in the pre – op bay next to me, curtain in front of them, with only their mats visible at the bottom hem.

It was just two weeks earlier that forty-nine people who shared my patients’ same faith were murdered in New Zealand. Not even children were spared.

While I stood outside the bay waiting for them to pull the curtain back, I was filled with an overwhelming empathy and a new understanding of something I don’t think consciously about in my role as a Nurse.

We use standard precautions, wash our hands, wear gloves, masks when needed, even gown up if the diagnosis requires it. We practice sterile technique, audit our clinical practices, do quality control testing… the list goes on.

In those ten minutes, my understanding of the importance of someone feeling safe grew tenfold.

________________________________

I almost didn’t want to share this because my empathetic response is miniscule compared to the turbulent emotions families surely experienced when the New Zealand massacre occurred.

__________________________________

I consider myself lucky to have gotten this patient to take care of.

Having a job that teaches me how to be a better human is a pretty damn special job.

 

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It Should be.

CC

Compassion isn’t cool anymore…or so it seems.

Very few of the people listed in TIME’s Most Influential of 2018 are known for charitable work, or serve as role models. Who’s getting followed by millions on social media? Movie stars and singers, political figures who name call via tweets, online celebrities whose only quality seems to be performing outlandish stunts.

And it makes me weary.

Deflecting the course humor about the #MeToo movement, about the Wall intended to keep out people — people seeking hope on new soil, and openly derisive attitudes about anyone who doesn’t fit the consumer market ideal (tall, thin, blond, athletic, blissfully happy heterosexual couple with Abercrombie dressed toddler walking through park with Labrador type family), yes, this brings me down.

Now, I do like Labradors and Abercrombie’s clothes (can’t buy them, they’re too expensive, but I like them), and I have fantasized meeting Mr. Wonderful and having those walks in the park, but…

Let me get back on track here

The meaning of compassion is to recognize and have concern for the suffering of others.

It’s a virtue.

In any country, in any language, it’s described as a virtue. It involves an empathetic response and an altruistic behavior. It’s not pity.

My well is low on witnessing compassion at work, hence the reason I haven’t been able to post much. I’ve been hearing, and I mean literally, more “I have to look out for me” or “Don’t worry about getting that for them, they’re going back to surgery soon”.

I ignore it. I do what feels right to me.

I am so grateful for all who read my posts, give me feedback, or share experiences.

I’m going to open my eyes wider. There are angels among us at work, I know there are, and I need this blog to continue to be a place to share positive and / or humorous experiences. That is my New Year’s resolution.

Thank you for reading this!

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Wish I’d Said It !

bill-bullard-quote

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Give Me A Hug

hugWe talked about empathy in our meeting today, or to be more exact, how to express more empathy to our patients.

The need for this to be the chosen topic was directly related to the recent drop in our Patient Satisfaction scores — the numbers that relate to our reimbursement from Medicare, which we, as the retirement capital state, is related to the livelihood of our hospital system.

So, it’s not enough that Medicare now dings us for early readmissions (no chance noncompliance and multiple comorbidities play into this, hmm), now we have to come across like sniveling simpletons because skill is not the first indicator; the factor that plays significantly into reimbursement is whether your patient likes you or not.

For me this is no problem. I have the disease To Please , a condition that makes me an exceptional nurse. I drop my ego off at the door and treat every patient the way I would treat my child. Who am I kidding, some I treat better than my daughter. Others aren’t as blessed with the ability to sooth the patient through words, reassurances, and willingness when the patient says “Jump”. They either have a healthier ego than me or, hehe, sensitivity issues.

The reality of the fiscal value of “patient satisfaction” scares me because I don’t think empathy can be expressed with a script or a directive from your manager to be “more caring”. You may come to work with it, but somewhere in your twelve hour day, it gets lost between your twenty minute meal break and your bathroom break five hours later.  You can’t teach empathy. You either have it or you don’t.

And if you don’t have it, or it’s getting harder and harder to express it to patients, it’s time for you to change careers…

or take a long vacation. (:

1 Comment »

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