Patient by Patient
On busy days, it can be easy to flit from patient to patient with a laser focus on what our patients “need” in the moment, meeting that need, making sure the call bell is within reach, and heading off to the next patient, or call bell. On those days, it is important to remember that what all of our patients needs is personalized care, therapeutic communication and the feeling that they have been listened to and heard.
This week we seemed to have a number of crotchety and uncommunicative patients. That kind of patient can really make the day longer and more challenging. Talking with patients who just want us out of their space for whatever reason can be difficult. I had a wonderful conversation with my patient’s partner who was also a cancer survivor. She had popped in on her way to Rochester for a biopsy. Her boyfriend, my patient, was a completely different story. He wanted nothing to do with me. He was relatively tolerant of my necessary assessments, but wanted to lay back, enjoy the morphine drip and nap in peace. Even his physicians wanted him to go home, but –with no roommate- the hospital environment was pretty chill riding the opioid pony. The only real distraction was me.
In these situations, I think that it is important for me to remember that all patients have individualized needs. Although I have an assessment sheet that I am anxious to fill with details that are important to personalize my care, that sometimes that means care from a distance. Re-approaching, re-framing, and re-phrasing during hourly rounds to address questions and concerns sometimes doesn’t draw a patient out. In those cases, providing care with respect to their desire to be left alone is also part of nursing and frees us up to pop into other rooms and ask how people are doing and if they need anything. Nursing care is determined patient by patient.
It was comforting to hear some of the other stories from fellow students in post-conference of their patient experiences. It seemed like it was just “that kind of day.” It was also encouraging to hear about some of the brilliant successes that fellow students had, as well.
Going into next week, I am looking forward to the opportunity to take on more patients, to get in another med pass and to have my observational experience. So much to look forward to as I reflect on the near-misses and successes of the week.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend.