Being a patient is a difficult task for me.
I’m used to being the leader, the provider, the organizer, the nurse, but never the patient.
But when the diagnosis of a brain tumor stops you dead in your tracks, you have no choice but to become a patient. Then again, I should know better. As Six Until Me and Chronic Babe have already taught me, We Are All Patients.
But my own stubbornness has told me that I am the nurse. I am to be the caregiver and not the cared for. I am to take care and not be taken care of. I am to heal not be healed.
Or so I thought.
What I’ve learned from my time in the bed and not at the bedside will hopefully aid me in my nursing career and continue to give me compassion for the patients I help serve.
There were a few things that I learned that were quite impacting that I will share for with you in and effort to help you identify with and have more patience for your patients.
7 Things a Nurse Can Learn as a Patient
- When you’re already sick and encumbered, it is quite an insult to also be treated like a child. Give your patients dignity and respect and the ability to make their own decisions. Don’t less this confuse you with the need to sometimes be assertive. But adults deserve to make their own decisions an no nurse should be attempting to make it for them.
- 5 minutes can seem like an eternity when you are in pain, nauseous, need to use the bathroom, or are uncomfortable. Prioritize your patient’s needs, of course,but realize to each patient their problem is an emergency to them. And really they probably don’t care why you were delayed in assisting them, they likely just want an apology and whatever they called you for.
- There is no comfortable position in a hospital bed. There are position that are less awkward for a short period of time, but nothing that could be considered comfortable for any extended period of time.
- Sleep is precious and ill got in a hospital. If you can time your routine to minimize the disturbance of your patient’s sleep routines, they will be thankful.
- If you have the opportunity to take care of another nurse do not think of it as opportunity to take your time, slack off, or air your frustrations about your other patients, your career, or anything else for that matter. If anything you should use it as an opportunity to shine. Wouldn’t it be excellent for your manager to get a compliment card when you had a nurse as a patient? And wouldn’t it be terrible if you had your nurse patient fire you?
- The call light on the side rail is entirely too easy to hit accidentally. But in contrast, the corded call light and remote are almost impossible to find when you need them.
- A patient doesn’t get a shift change. There is no hour window where you can not be as sick. You’re sick the entire time you are in the hospital. If you have a good nurse they prepare their patient’s for shift change and do not leave them to get left in the shuffle.
If you are young and privileged to have not had to be sick and in the hospital, count your blessings.
Put yourself in your patient’s position each and every time you are at the bedside. You may never know when you will be there and you certainly want good karma on your side.