Friday, August 12, 2016

Patients That Changed My Life: Dorothy

As a nurse, I have the chance to meet a lot of people from all walks of life. Some are fun, some are not so fun. Then there are those that change my life, and changed the kind of nurse I am. For privacy purposes, I won’t use real names, but I want to tell you their stories. To read about previous patients, click here.

Several years ago, I worked at an Assisted Living. Those facilities are usually for people who can take care of most of their needs, but need help with a few essentials, such as cooking or taking medications. Because they’re supposed to be fairly self-efficient, there’s a lot less staff then there are at a skilled nursing facility or hospital.

I had one patient, Dorothy, who was a very sweet lady that loved to walk around. She would take her walker, and her little dog, and they would just cruise around the nursing home all day. She would visit other residents, go outside and sit in the sun, or gather in the front room. When I first started working there, she pulled me aside with one very special request.

She wanted someone to cut her toenails. It’s something so small that it would only take a few minutes, yet no one seemed to have the time to help her. Most CNAs can’t cut toenails because of the risk for infection, especially in diabetic patients, but nurses can. I went into her room before I went home, and I cut her nails. It was such a simple act that I didn’t even think anything of it. But for her, it made her day. Actually, it made her week. She was so grateful, she came and found me every day to thank me.


We don’t need to do something big to make a difference in our patients’ lives. Something as simple as brushing their hair, shaving their face, or cutting their toenails can transform their day.