Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Nurse Success Tip: Seeing patients beyond the bed

student nurse, new nurse, nursing compassion, patient care, renee thompson, rtconnections

I recently took care of a 50-year-old woman who suffered a brain injury. The woman in the bed was almost bald, had a spastic left side, severe expressive aphasia, and was incontinent and unable to eat. Initially, I saw her as cognitively impaired, helpless, and requiring a lot of work on my part. 
But then I truly SAW her for who she really was.

You see, just 6 weeks before her brain injury, she was a vibrant, energetic and carefree woman. The pictures of her on the wall were of a beautiful woman with long flowing curly auburn hair. You could tell by her photos that she was the life of the party, she was happy, and joyful and everyone loved to be around her.
She looked nothing like the now feeble woman in the bed.
It was hard to hold back the tears as I looked at her photos yet at the same time, SEEING her for who she really was – inside the shell of the person in that bed – gave me the strength and motivation to do everything I could to care for her the way I KNEW she deserved to be cared for.
So often we see patients the way are while in our care – but that’s not who they really are.
I encourage you to SEE beyond the feeble patient or the elderly incontinent patient who is now cognitively impaired. SEE them for who they once were – full of energy, vibrant, fun-loving humans who now depend on the competence and compassion of strangers to care for them.
Being a great nurse requires that we SEE patients as they were before they require our care.

Thanks for reading and choosing to become a nurse. Take care and stay connected!
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