Be the Nurse You Want as a Patient

Be the Nurse you want as a patient. (by AllNurses.Com)
If you have had the misfortune of being a patient in the hospital, what stands out about your experience? No matter the specific reason for your admission, I’m sure it was an experience you would rather not have had. What was it that made your experience a good one…….or a not so good one?? Was it the care you received……… or the care you did not receive??

Nurses do not have the ability to change your reason for being in the hospital, but they do have the capacity to make your hospital experience a more pleasant one. I am not talking about customer care, so to speak. I am talking about nursing………including the little things. What might seem little to us may mean the world to the patient. Think about lying in bed in pain….not being able to get out of bed by yourself….dependent upon strangers for even the small things…..like a drink of cold water……assistance to the bathroom……kind words of explanation regarding tests and procedures……common courtesies. Nurses can change patient experiences — making difficult things less difficult, being present when there are painful and uncomfortable situations, being there to help navigate through the confusing medical world.

We all know all the administrative tasks vying for our time as nurses, with technical and managerial aspects of care sometimes taking priority over delivery of care. We also know that increased patient loads decreases the amount of time we can spend with each patient. Sometimes we get so caught up in all the “things” we have to do that we forget what one of our main jobs is…..to compassionately and empathetically care for the patient. But the patient is more than a name, a room number, a diagnosis….. The patient is a real person with feelings, concerns, and needs. We only get to see them while they are hurting. But we must remember, that this patient has a life outside of the hospital……or at least they did before they got to the hospital. For all we know, this may be their last stop before they die. Ours may be the last face that they see……our words the last that they hear.

If you were the patient in room 37-H who had just been told that they only had a few weeks to live, how would you feel? What would you want from your nurse? How could she/he help ease the blow you had just been dealt? It is true she/he cannot change your diagnosis…..cannot take away the disease that is slowly taking your life. But she can help to ease some of your physical and mental discomforts…….by just being there……for you and you family. Being there to listen and answer questions. Being there to see if you would like for her/him to call your pastor or the hospital chaplain. Being there to hold your hand when others have gone home for the night.

Sometimes we forget that bedside nursing involves being at the bedside for more than procedures, medications, assessments. Yes, all of these things are definitely important to the care of our patient. But we must also remember that it is at the bedside where we can let the true compassion of our profession shine through some of the darkest hours that our patients and their families face. Remember………one day we will all experience those dark hours. Maybe it will only be a few days before the sun shines again for us and we are discharged home. Or maybe it will be for the final time that we will see the light shine on this side of death. When our time comes, let’s hope that we are lucky enough to get the type of nurse we were to our patients.

As we go through each day, let us try to imagine what we would think if we were in the patient’s place. Let us be the nurse that we would want as a patient.

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2 thoughts on “Be the Nurse You Want as a Patient

  1. Beautifully written article. Thank you for bringing the compassion back into nursing. Hospital systems try to dumb-down the staff and morph them into robots. Your article reminds nurses of the reason they went to nursing school in the first place.

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