Friday, September 2, 2016

Patients and Patience

I love being a nurse.

Most of the time.

Just like any other job or career, there are ups and downs. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the job, nurses (and other healthcare providers) get to work with people who are sick. And sick people aren’t always happy. I don’t blame them. I’m not happy when I’m sick either. You feel gross, and on top of that, you just want to sleep. Then we come in, wake you up and ask you a million questions. We ask about your bowel movements, and force you to use a pain scale about something you can’t even quantify.

I don’t blame my patients for getting a little short with me.

Then there are the ones who are so demanding that I wonder if they understand how healthcare works. When I work in a skilled facility, my typical patient load is anywhere from fifteen to thirty patients. I don’t even have time to go into everyone’s room in an hour, or even two. I run for hours without stopping, and I do my best to meet everyone’s needs.

When you talk to a nurse, you have no idea what other things are going through their head. Maybe there’s the patient next door who’s having a hard time breathing, and she’s waiting for a call back from the doctor. Or maybe three other patients need pain pills, and she stopped in your room on her way to get them. Maybe she’s about to get an admit, and is trying to get everything under control before things get really hectic. Maybe she just had a patient die, and is grieving for their family. Or maybe it’s the first day of the month, and she still has to change over all of the charts for the new month. Then there’s the possibility of issues at home. 

We’re all humans, and we all carry baggage.

No matter what, we hold it in, and we put a smile on our face, because you're important too.

For those who are patient with me, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. The reason I got into nursing was for the opportunity to make someone feel better. I know my shortcomings, and I know that there are times when I won’t ever live up to expectations. But I have no intention of making you feel worse, or making you feel guilty for asking for help.

Please remember that your nurse is on your side, no matter what else is happening.