Have you ever heard “Nurses are a different breed?” It’s true, know you. It takes a special kind of person to become a nurse. Working in direct bedside care takes someone even more unique and specific. These frontline nurses make a difference in the way that behind-the-scenes, techy nurses like me can’t. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the ways that nurses make a difference in the patients they serve.
All hearts have the potential to be touched by a nurse. As nurses, we carry the potential to affect many peoples’ lives daily. The small things that we do for everybody can actually add up and create a huge effect. We could just show up to work every day and mull through our tasks to make our paycheck and punch out at the end of the day. That is entirely possible, and quite a few people do it. I will admit that there have been days and weeks when I just was not into going to work. All I wanted was for the day to end so I could go home. When we show up to work with that mindset, we lose our ability to touch those who are hurting and suffering truly.
On the contrary, when we show up to work fully engaged and motivated to touch the lives and hearts of those in pain and those who are scared, we can make a real difference. We can truly touch all hearts. With simple gestures, words, and empathy we can positively impact many peoples’ lives on both small and large scales. Let’s take a look at how we can touch hearts just by doing what we do every day.
How the Patients are Impacted
Obviously, first and foremost, a kind and compassionate nurse will bless their patient immensely. Caring for patients is the main reason why we became a nurse in the first place, isn’t it? We wanted to help others!
There is a huge difference for patients when they get a nurse that day (or night) willing to listen to their complaints, treat them with respect, and honor their dignity. A nurse will empathize with them and treat them as a person rather than a diagnosis. Their hearts are touched because they have someone who makes them feel safe and “more like a human”. It’s really quite amazing, actually, how we as nurses can sometimes see a patient in a blue or green gown and forget that they’re someone’s mother or grandfather. The gown can sometimes strip just a little bit of their identity.
Almost every patient has some level of fear. There are a lot of questions that they simply don’t have answers to. It can make them anxious. A nurse has the ability to change that. They can make a difference. Small gestures can make a huge impact. Even something as simple as answering the call bell with a genuine smile can improve someone’s mood.
Touching the Lives of the Families
Nurses make a difference because they are uniquely positioned to touch the hearts of the families involved. Here are a few simple ways nurses make an impact:
- getting them a chair so they can sit next to their loved one,
- offering to get the weary spouse a cup of coffee or a cup of water
- encouraging them to hold the patient’s hand while they’re sleeping
These are all small yet significant ways that a nurse can help the families who are suffering right alongside the patient.
It can be busy for a nurse to help multiple patients and multiple families, I thoroughly understand that. But when an opportunity presents itself to help a family member, we should do it. Simple things can touch all hearts and create a ripple effect. Maybe it’s getting a little old woman in a wheelchair back to the lobby or getting a visiting and cranky grandchild a graham cracker. When people are in dark times, your kindness and generosity will be remembered for years to come. Yes, even something as simple as a smile and a “good morning” could positively touch their hearts.
Touching the Hearts of Your Co-workers
How many times have you seen your co-worker “drowning?” I’m sure there have been days that you were all caught up and maybe took a few minutes to look at your phone. If you realized that your fellow nurse just got two admissions and her other patient’s family is ringing the call bell asking her to bring the patient some orange Jello (not red, not green, orange!), would to step up to help? Without her asking, would you “take care of it?” It’s so tempting to just bury your head and focus on your own patient load, but what if that was you? What if your day was so difficult? What would you want your co-workers to do to help you?
You can greatly help your co-workers by helping out when they are overwhelmed. Help them with the admission, settle the patient in bed, and get the other patient her orange Jello. Any nurse would appreciate this. The great ones will thank you immensely. And then one day, when you’re having an insane day and need help, he/she will be right by your side to make your day better!
It may not seem it, but these gestures can touch your co-worker’s hearts as well. Simple things matter the most. Patience and assistance when someone else has lost their patience can move mountains.
Nurses Make a Difference for Many
All hearts can be touched. Nurses take care of everyone. Because of this, nurses have one of the greatest abilities to make a positive impact on the lives of others. It all starts with the right attitude. But in order to help others, we must ensure that we are properly taking care of ourselves, no matter the setting. We cannot fully love others when we’re exhausted and stretched thin. We are in such a unique profession to positively impact so many people, so let’s take full advantage of that every day.
Take care of yourself so you can positively impact the lives of others. The first step in most first aid guidelines is ensuring you are safe. Please make sure you can “place your own oxygen mask on first”.
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