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To be human to another human – this is why we Nurse by Laura Oliver - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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To be human to another human – this is why we Nurse by Laura Oliver by Idowu Olabode : April 27, 2017, 08:44:55 AM
When I can help people at a terrible time, that’s my favourite bit

A patient of mine had come into A&E because he wasn’t feeling well. The trouble with aneurysms is they aren’t always obvious, sometimes you might just feel a bit of back pain. He was sent for a scan, but went into cardiac arrest before he went in.

They managed to revive him, but he needed to go to another hospital to get the treatment he needed. The doctor was telling him that the chances of him surviving the journey were slim and the chances of him dying were high. He asked the patient if he wanted to stay. I said to the doctor: “Please can you make sure he understands what you mean by staying here, because staying here means you are going to lay here and die.”

The patient did understand and decided to stay. Some of his family members were with him, but one of his sons was in Australia. I managed to get a number and call him. I put the phone to the patient’s ear so he could say goodbye.

I feel like nurses have an unwritten permission to be more human in these situations. I’m around people on what’s often the worst day of their lives or a difficult time. To be a human being to another human being who is in trouble is the most beautiful thing.

I don’t think hospitals deal with trauma and death well. I don’t think we are equipped in the way we should be to deal with something that’s harrowing.

One of the biggest gaps is when there isn’t someone to give relatives tea, to hold their hand, to listen to them. You are taking away some of their fear because people don’t often get to see people die. They don’t know what it’s like. Not only have they got the trauma of losing that person but they have also got the trauma of seeing somebody die. When I can help in this way, that’s my favourite bit – not because I like to see it, I hate to see it, but because I feel it’s so important. Accident and emergency nurse, south-east England

Using my skills at the scene of a car crash reminded me that nurses are never really off duty


I was on my way to work when I got to a roundabout and saw an HGV lorry, a rather mangled looking moped and a person lying in the middle of the road.

I felt I had a professional responsibility to stop. My immediate thought was: “I haven’t got anything to give to this person if they’re in a bad way.”

The young lad in the road had taken his helmet off and could talk to me, which is always a positive sign. There was a shocked lorry driver standing there too, as well as cars and traffic.

I didn’t realise at the time, but I took control of that situation until help arrived. I used my nursing skills to talk to him and reassure him, and I did a top-to-toe assessment.

The paramedics turned up after what felt like an eternity with some pain relief. He went off to hospital, but I wondered what happened to that young lad the whole day. I had left my number with his mum and she phoned me to say he was going to be OK.

At work I’m used to having lots of tools and equipment, people, help and advice. When you are in the middle of nowhere without any of those things it challenges you to the best of your abilities. That affirmed to me that the job I do is worth it: it’s worth taking on all this training for those crazy situations you might find yourself in.

Nurses undersell their abilities, especially when things don’t go as expected, but those kind of situations affirm to you that you can do this. It reminds you that as nurses we are never really off duty and that it’s not just a job – it’s a vocation. George, advanced clinical practitioner, acute medicine, east of England

I was able to help a dying patient and her relatives, and that is why I nurse


I was with a cardiothoracic patient who became unwell. She wasn’t a difficult patient, but knew who she liked. She gave really good banter – if you were cheeky with her, she was cheeky with you.

She was anxious and depressed when she first came to us and a little cantankerous . But she warmed to us over the first few weeks and ended up making a lot of friends in the ward and with the staff, as we did with her relatives.

She was in hospital for about six months, including her birthday. We got her a cake, some birthday presents, cards and banners. When she was asleep we put them up for her and she woke up to a sort of surprise birthday.

She spent time between us, intensive care and the medical ward, but unfortunately later passed away because her condition was too far gone. We had become so invested in her, but we knew it was her time. She passed away in as dignified a manner as possible. Because she was comfortable with us and the family were too, they said it was a positive experience even though it wasn’t the ideal result. The care that we gave was excellent, especially with such a dependent patient. We were able to help her and them, and that is why I nurse.Shaun Codognato, charge nurse, high dependency unit, London; previously nursed in Dundee

I made a difference to a young boy and his family when I washed his hair


We had a three-year-old boy who was recovering from surgery. He was so frightened by everything and upset all the time. Every time we’d go in to see him with a tray that had his antibiotics on, he’d start crying. Nursing children is hard because they don’t always understand what’s going on.

He hadn’t had his hair washed for about two weeks. He was afraid of anyone going near the line in his neck that gave him antibiotics. When the time came I tried to make it fun and pretend we were at the hairdressers. He was laughing and smiling. His mum told me this was the best she’d seen him since he’d been in hospital. We’re lucky in children’s nursing that we do have parents who give personal care. We don’t want to take that role from them, but we do become part of the family and I was able to make a difference to that family through such a simple act. Jackie Wallace, staff nurse, children’s high dependency unit, Brighton

Source :https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/apr/26/this-is-why-i-nurse

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