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.