Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So it's no surprise that I got a new job.  Totally unexpected, but it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Normally, I am a person that HATES change.  Working in health care, that doesn't exactly mesh real well together.  Things CONSTANTLY change.  And I constantly hate it.  When I got my first nursing position, I went into it with a very dear friend (hi, Julie!) so it wasn't quite as scary.  When I took on my second position, I went into it with another friend and previous coworker.  This time?  It was all me, all alone.  It's funny, because normally this would cause insane amounts of anxiety and guilt. I think I feel more guilt about not feeling guilty than I do about the changes!  I even TRY to feel unhappy...and I can't!  It literally is like there is sign after sign after sign that this was a really good decision.

Let me tell you the big sign today:

The spiritual director was giving a speech.  It was basically about patient's perception,  nonverbal body language, etc.  She personally knew someone who was in an ICU two separate occasions, but in the same health care system.  The first time, she had just gone through a very long night.  She had a cup of coffee in her hand and the nurse came in and said, "Coffee is NOT allowed in the ICU!  Please get rid of it immediately." Second time, same circumstance, just sans the cup of coffee, as it was "not allowed".  She was standing by her loved ones bed, feeling exhausted.  A nurse came up, but her hand on her shoulder and said, "You must be exhausted.  Can I get you a cup of coffee?"

Oh, yes.  THIS situation is right up my alley.  If you have paid attention to posts from a year or so ago,  I had a similar situation.  This time my sister was the critically ill patient.  Signs posted everywhere about the ICU rules, including family members cannot sleep in patients room.  Okay, understandable.  It was maybe day 2 or 3 of her stay.  She was still intubated and VERY touch and go.  Exhaustion was an understatement.  I held Leslie's hand, and rested my forehead on our clasped hands.  The nurse came in and said, "There is NO sleeping in the ICU."  Another day, I was in with Leslie, in the same  position, but with my head up, and the nurse said, "I need to position your sister..."  This was normally the cue for me to get out of the way and take a long walk.  Instead, the nurse finished her sentence with, "...so do you mind helping me?  We can wash her hair and braid it, too."

Perception.  Words.  Being observant of what is going on.  Empathy.

The only way I can describe how I feel about this huge change is: complete happiness and peace. 


Megan Maiani said...

I remember this story when I was going through orientation. It is not what we say rather how we say it. The family is so much a part of our care as is the patient. I may be asking you questions and coming to you as we are now on the same type of unit, different health systems.

Laura said...

Megan, you will be amazing, as you were BORN with empathy. You have been in situations yourself where you look at the patient as a PERSON, and treat the family as if they were your own. This is all it takes to treat them the right way. I am so excited for you!