This morning I was greeted by an elderly woman who really needed to get out of the hospital, so she thought. When I got to the floor and finished report a sitter in one of the patients’ rooms was getting off duty and had to leave for another job. The staff nurses really had no one available to watch the patient and they finally asked me if I could stay with her for while they drew up the meds for her agitation. I was happy to oblige and ended up staying with this patient for about 45 minutes. The only way she would not try and crawl out of the bed was if I was holding her hand. After getting her sedated and the bed monitor turned on she was happily resting, but she still wanted me to hold her hand. I would try and let go, but she would awaken and get very agitated again. Eventually she was so drowsy that she just couldn’t bring herself to try and get out of bed after I let go, but I still stayed with her. Soon after she started resting, her husband came in to visit. He spoke with the staff nurse for a minute and then sat down with his wife. He spoke with me for a few minutes while he sat. Come to find out, he was going to take her to a nursing home after she was released later that day. This couple had been married for nearly years and he had taken care of her by himself for the last several months. She had fallen three times prior to her admission and he was able to catch her. The fourth time caught him off guard and she ended up in the hospital. I cannot imagine what this man had to have been going through. I could tell that he was distraught by the situation, but he was holding himself together very well for the time being.
While I was sitting with the patient, I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance to my grandmother who passed away three years ago. After I met the husband and found out that they had been married for so long, I thought about my wife and how I would feel if we were in the same situation. It is very difficult to keep your professional demeanor when you sympathize with the patients so much. I am curious to learn more about this part of nursing. How should one react to such situations? What is appropriate to say and do for your patients? When does human compassion override facility and professional duties? I think that the only real way to learn this is to be in a facility with experienced nurses who are caring, compassionate, and respected in their positions.
In addition to my early morning experience I was able to be fairly productive with my time today. I completed an assessment on my patient (barely…I forgot my cheat sheet today. I’ll try again on Thursday.), and was able to learn a lot from both staff nurses in my hall. It is really hit or miss with the staff at this hospital. Some are great teachers and others just want to get their job done without some “kid” following them around. What was my greatest achievement today? I was able to dc an indwelling catheter. I was supervised by one of the staff nurses and this time........I DIDN’T PASS OUT. Some thing to be very proud of I’m sure.