Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nurses Are People Too

Sometimes I feel like people expect perfection of nurses. They want us to be precise, perfect, and work with an almost robotic efficiency. I understand that we are dealing with peoples' lives, health, and general well being. However (and I may only be speaking for myself, here), I'm only one human person. I am not a robot. I am not perfect. I do make mistakes.

For example:
I have cared for a patient recently who came into the hospital for routine knee replacement surgery. This patient opted to have both knees done at the same time, which is quite common. She and her family were informed of the risks, signed the consents, and the process began. After surgery she had a few clotting issues and ended up with a clot in either side of her brain, essentially a stroke on both sides. Now, clots are one of the known risks of any joint replacement surgery. The patient, and her family, were well aware of this when they signed the surgery consent forms. Unfortunately, they feel that they were wronged in some way and are taking legal action against the surgeon, and consequently, the hospital. They are very closely monitoring the care of the patient while she does her course on rehab. They watch the nurses and doctors like hawks, ask completely unanswerable questions, and essentially expect perfection. Can I just say, it is very difficult to deliver good care, much less perfect, with an angry family breathing down your neck.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that this is someone's loved one. I understand that they feel wronged, uncared for, etc. What they are forgetting, though, is that nurses and doctors are only human. We're not mind readers. We're not robots. We're not perfect. A lot of the time I am one person trying to do a job that requires more than 2 hands. I do the best I can in the situation I am placed in.

I read on a lot of blogs people complaining about less-than-perfect performance from some healthcare professional or another: an iv stick hurt, the nurse was too slow getting to you, someone wasn't able to answer your question right away but had to research an answer. I also see people blaming all nurses for the deficiencies of one. We are not all the same. We are individuals with personalities, senses of humor, and different priorities. What is important to one of us may not be important to another. The one thing we all have in common, though, is this: We are all human beings with feelings that can be hurt. Please remember this next time you deal with a nurse.


Reid, Megan and Jackson said...

That my friend, is why I got out of rehab. I did rehab for five years at helathsouth usually dealing with the worst of the worst there. I couldn't stand people like that and it seemed like they were there FOREVER!!!! That's why I love the nursery and mom baby care, the most you ever have them is for four or five days and when you come back the next week, they're gone.

Check it out, seriously!

Ally said...

Oh Annie how I wish more people could read this. Everytime I go to the doctor's office I cringe to see the way people think it's okay to treat the medical professionals around them. I just want to get up and yell, sit down and shut up and wait your turn. They are doing the best they can. It's not like the entire staff is in the back room having a party while you complain about your sore throat and sniffles.

I felt so bad last time I went to the doctor when I saw the receptionist brace herself to tell me I would have to pay $75 because they can't diretly bill my insurance (I get reimbursed for it later) to be seen. I knew this going into it and I didn't care but I can only imagine how upset others have gotten at her for asking them to (gasp!) pay to see a doctor. Crazy!

Lena said...

I get this from people at the bank too. I am not allowed to put something in the wrong savings or not be able to find an account number, or heaven forbid, I ask for an ID when you know your password. Not quite life-or-death, but you would not know that talking to the members here!

Hope tomorrow is a better day!

jill said...



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