It this the epitome of kitschiness or what?
Pardon me whilst I wipe up the sap pouring out of my computer.
Most patients don’t see me as an Angel of Mercy.
They see me as the Defender of the Dilaudid stash.
I don’t even wear my cap, although I want to.
My wings would so get in the way….
(Is it just me or does she look like she’s ready to check cervical dilation on two patients at once?)
Having spent some time with a relative in ICU, I realized that we are being watched.
By the family.
It doesn’t matter where you work.
Nurses are watched.
And families listen.
That comment you made with a sneer when you realized a patient was returning?
- The family member who beat the ambulance saw you. And heard you.
The times you left your patient exposed when you ran out of the room to grab a piece of equipment?
- The family noticed. Each time. Every time.
That time you offered to help your co-worker with their patient?
- You’re a professional.
The People magazine you were reading at the nurse’s station while your colleagues ran their butts off with 1:1 patients on multiple drips and a ventilator?
- The family watched you. For two weeks.
- The consensus? You’re lazy.
The vivid description of the concert you attended last night that the entire department could hear?
- Numerous families were listening. Think they appreciated your description of your guitar virtuoso du jour?
Keeping the family and patient apprised of how their admission is progressing?
- You’re efficient.
That F-bomb you dropped in the middle of a sentence while inserting an IV?
- It wasn’t appreciated.
Oh, and that gum chewing, finger snapping, in-your-face attitude that you think is so cool?
- It’s obnoxious. And so are you.
If all the world is a stage, when you are working with patients in a hospital setting you are in the spotlight.
Every move, every facial expression, every word you utter adds to the overall impression the patient gets of who you are. What you do as a nurse. Your professionalism.
Or lack of it.
It doesn’t matter that the patient’s perceptions may be inaccurate. Or that the family may have misunderstood.
We are there for them.
And when we are in sight or hearing range of those patients and their families we need to give that impression.
Even if we have to “fake it to make it”.
Because the family is watching.
And the patients are listening.