Her enthusiasm at the success of my fixing her tablet brought a smile to my face. It reminded me how human this job actually is.
“It works! It works!” cried my patient.
Earlier, I had reset her tablet. It wasn’t working. She was very worried because she was already bored to death lying in her bed.
“This doesn’t have to do with my sickness, but you looked smart,” she explained as she handed me the non-cooperative device.
I am not one of those people who always wanted to be a nurse and enjoys every moment of the nursing experience. I very much dislike the current health system. Somehow, it degrades compassionate care to snappy processes and mechanical interventions. I do, however, love people and enjoy serving them. I’ll make the most of the field that I am in while I am here. Here are a couple of things that I learned from nursing this week.
When I was at university, I used like to go in person to get things done. I jokingly called it “knocking heads together.” From talking to a professor to taking care of issues at the student finance office. Things always seemed smoother when I took care of them in person. Sometimes, I would block off whole days to just run from office to office taking care of business. Calling on the phone just wasn’t as effective.
So, I don’t think much of it when I get up to got to 400 or 300 Hall to personally talk with a nurse about a patient. Likely her face will light up and she will thank me for coming to talk to her. Did I have a question for the lady in charge of supplies? Show up at her office. Now she knows both my name and my face.
When you get on the floor, it’s likely you’ll want to overachieve and help the CNA’s and LVN’s out with their work. This is good but remember to that your not being paid for that. Get your work done first. In the meantime, delegate and prioritize. Ask your team for help. Treat them like the integral part of your team that they are. Often times, learn a lot about the patients skin integrity from the wound care nurse. A CNA discovered a skin tear on a patient. These people have closer contact with the patient respect them for it.
When all the charting is complete and the IV’s are hung, feel free to get down and dirty with patient care. Change a few patients. Assist a few patients to the rest room. Fetch some water. Empty some urinals. Help the CNA transfer a patient.
Something that I learned from my patients is that they like follow up. When they ask a question, feel free to give them a “yes,” a “no” or an “I’ll get back to you.” If you have to give them an I’ll get back to you, try your best to follow up. If you can’t do something, let them know why. If you have something more important to do, let them know you’ll be back. If they are asking you do something out of your job description, let them know you’ll notify the appropriate person to come and help them.
Patients often get anxious when they don’t know what’s going on. Many times, they are completely trusting us with their lives (which I am not sure is appropriate) and they appreciate the extra effort we make when we explain what is going on and why. Of course, use lay man’s terms.
Be courteous and use your “please” and “thank you.” It makes people feel appreciated. No one like to feel that they are being looked down up on or ordered around. Give praise and appreciation where it’s due. Find ways to make people feel like part of the team. A smile can break down a lot of barriers.