Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

To Be A Compassionate Nurse

February 20, 2011 by  
Filed under CNA Training

Okay, so here’s my story: I jumped in my work as an aid to the intensive care unit in a local hospital. I love my job, the nurses I work with are phenomenal, and the pay is good. Okay, so that the first two are true … BUT, there is a story that always warms my heart and remind me why I work afternoon shifts poorly paid work that sometimes make me want to gag until my graduation.

Everyone has a patient who really remembers why you want to be a nurse. Mine was a bit old, I’ll call “Jim.” Jim was in the hospital because he fell at home, where he lived with his wife of 50 years. He had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding after a meal … well, something that should not have! Now, Jim was a kind man, seldom asked for anything, but I was confused. You see, he was suffering from dementia. As you probably already know the intensive care unit is the worst place for a dementia patient, because virtually no day and night. Just an endless stream of nurses and doctors, drug pipes and 24 / 7.

So here’s Jim, called a skeleton stretched a little ‘of fat that I could not keep warm to save my life. I had to change its hottest covers the unit every 30 minutes or so, one is always wrapped around his head like a burka. It seemed a bit ‘old Jedi sat in his bed, which in itself made me laugh. However, what was clear was how Jim reacted to me. That morning, when I usually was not our patient awake (read: not sedated), I introduced myself, and Jim told me to accompany her to ring the bell if she needed anything. He smiled a toothless smile at me under the blanket wrapped around his head and said: “Thanks Jenny,” then immediately went to take a nap. Now, my name is not something like Jenny, but I gave it a go, because I knew that I was trying to convince him that “Jenny”, just to make her confusion worse.

When the patient load was light that day, and I had a test coming, I sat at a table at the end of the department where I could see all the patient’s bed, and pulled out my book super lightweight (which is what 30 pounds I was dragged around for two years), highlighter and sticky notes. Within two minutes, the second patient to ring the bell went, and I jumped to conscientiously care for him. When Jim popped his little eyes open and do not see me sitting at the end of her bed (the last church), he immediately began to scream. His nurse rushed to see what was wrong, and he yelled “Where’s Jenny?! I would like Jenny, where is it?”

Knowing that he believed me, I hastened back to the other end of the room to calm him. As soon as he saw me, he calmed right down. I saved his coverage of hard news around her chin and resumed my place on the bedside table. All day, watching Jim’s eyes opened just enough to see if I was still there. As long as he could see me, he remained calm, but if he opened his eyes and I was not there, he began to cry (which reminded me of his unfortunate nurse raised his blood pressure beyond this she would like). So I spent the day for Jim and it involved only patients in the two beds next to him.

When Jim opened his eyes, said: “Jenny?”, Which I always replied. “I’m here luv” He turns his head around to see me, and then a smile on his toothless smile, and lay down. We did this routine about every 20-30 minutes, and most of the day.

Around 1600, Jim’s wife came to visiting hours. He saw me sitting in my bed textbook Jim while he was sleeping peacefully, her head covered and the blanket Jedi. He asked me how she did that day, and I laughed as I described how I had to stay in his view the whole day, and how he called me Jenny. His eyes were filled with a little ‘, and he told me: “.. I think you remind me a bit’ when I was your age I’m Jenny” His tears ran down her face wrinkled and his shirt freshly pressed. I just did what I could think of at this moment: I have embraced.

She said that Jim cared home alone because their adult children had left and had children of their own. What Jim was a war hero, a faithful husband and loving father. As I sat there and heard her story, I realized that in his confusion, Jim thought I was his wife, so he got angry when he emerged from his point of view, because they lost theirs. She thanked me for taking such good care of him, and when she walked around her bed to see the kiss of greeting, smiled with so much love that broke my heart. Jim was more than patient with me that day. I remembered why I do, why he decided to become a nurse. When I got home that night, I kissed my husband and told him about my day. He does not need to say anything, I was glad to hear, be able to talk to me and know who I was.