Friday, February 13, 2015

Turn the Other Cheek

  I've heard somewhere that it's more effective to just turn the other cheek, and I will tell you in nursing I have learned to do it not to say that I like it, but is it really more effective? 

  The other night we were getting killed and PACU sudden calls in a panic, no surprise they are bringing over another patient and it's mine, of course.They come over and I am trying to triage the situation when I hear my charge nurse talking to someone with a very loud voice outside my room, a very loud, angry voice. I step in and introduce myself as this patients nurse and proceed to get blasted about the lack of communication and how we have kept the very worried family out in the waiting room way too long. I bite my tongue and swallow the tart response that wants to jump up, I take a deep breath and then another and explain in my calmest voice that the unit is very busy, their family member just arrived 20 minutes ago, all of which I have spent at his bedside trying to stabilize his condition. I tell them if I had had someone who could have gone out to update them I would have and apologize but we are a bit busy tonight.

  What I wanted to say was that I wasn't sorry, I have been working hard to fix your loved one and if you think my time is better spent talking to you then at their bedside then they wouldn't be here! I wanted to tell them to look at the board, see all those spots filled up and not one empty? That means we have a ton of sick people here who are more important than you. 

  But I didn't, I turned the other cheek. 
  I settled their fears and sent them home knowing their family member was safe and cared for. As is often with these sorts of encounters I promptly forgot about it.

  A week later my charge nurse handed me a small white envelope while making her rounds someone had left it for me a few days ago. Curiously I opened it to find a small pastel card inside with an unfamiliar handwriting. The card was addressed to me, thanking me for my care of their loved one and my ability to make myself available to them in such a busy time. It also apologized for their "terrible" behavior and explained that not too long ago a family member was in the same situation and did not have such a good outcome, so if I could please understand they were very very emotional, and since they knew I worked long nights please have a coffee on us. Inside was a gift card to Starbucks. 

Suddenly I knew who this was from.

Is turning the other cheek more effective? I don't know, but in this instance I am very, very glad I did. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Old Timer?

  Yesterday I asked my director about some education pertaining to "new hires" and if I had to take it or could I just submit the completion certificates I have from Community Hospital. She laughed and told me I was way past that new hire stage in fact I was "old" now. I had to stop and think about it, old? Me? But I just  got here, or maybe I didn't, but it feels like I just started and then again it doesn't. I get the feeling that didn't make any sense, OK let me explain.
  There is still a ton of stuff that I don't know, and patients in this unit I simply have no way of handling myself. It's amazingly scary to me to feel this, for lack of a better word, new again. I have relationships to build with the doctors, and there are SO many of them now. I have given up pretending like I know who belongs to which specialty anymore, I just flat out ask in report. 
  "Uh what does he do again?" 
  Right. Then there are the nurses, breaking into a new unit I have learned is like going back to high school all over again.  You learn who the "cool" people are, who to and not to associate with and who the class clowns are, and just like on the first day of high school, you belong to no group or crowd and everyone is just watching to see what you do. 
  On the flip side I've had time to settle in, I at least have learned where most of the supplies I need on a daily basis are located and have determined who I would prefer to be sandwiched between for the night. I am learning who I want with me when a patient goes south and who won't lift a finger to throw you a line when you are drowning. 
  The thing is now to become a part of the unit. It's happening slowly, there are some who come to seek me out when they need help and a few who actually listen. I've made a couple friends who think of me when outside the building and away from work and a few "work friends". While I may be labeled as old by HR and my director I know I have much to learn and hopefully in time I'll figure it all out.