Yesterday I overheard a nursing student snark, “Yeah, this is why I’m in nursing school – so I can pass trays.”
The following was posted by an Anonymous Facebook User… Her words resonated with me intensely. Her thoughts echoed the same words that I’ve whispered in my thoughts many times, and not simply in response to the Nursing Student but also to the many CNA’s, RN’s, LPN’s and other Healthcare professionals who have forgotten what it means to be a caretaker.
….and if I hadn’t been up to my eyeballs in other things to do for my patients, I would have stopped and said: “You’ve already missed the point entirely. I’m not sure why you DO think you’re here.”
If you hope to be a good nurse (or coworker, or person with a heart), you’re going to spend the majority of your working life doing things you SO mistakenly think are beneath you. You are going to pass trays with a smile – excitement even, when your patient finally gets to try clear liquids. You will even open the milk and butter the toast and cut the meat. You will feed full-grown adults from those trays, bite by tedious, hard-to-swallow bite.
You are going to pass trays with a smile – excitement even, when your patient finally gets to try clear liquids.
You will, at times, get your own vital signs or glucoscans, empty Foley bags and bedside commodes without thinking twice. You will reposition the same person, move the same three pillows, 27 times in one shift because they can’t get comfortable. You will not only help bathe patients, but wash and dry between the toes they can’t reach. Lotion and apply deodorant. Scratch backs. Nystatin powder skin folds. Comb hair. Carefully brush teeth and dentures. Shave an old man’s wrinkled face. Because these things make them feel more human again.
You will NOT delegate every “code brown,” and you will handle them with a mix of grace and humor so as not to humiliate someone who already feels quite small. You will change ostomy appliances and redress infected and necrotic wounds and smell odors that stay with you, and you will work hard not to show how disgusted you may feel because you will remember that this person can’t walk away from what you have only to face for a few moments.
You will fetch ice and tissues and an extra blanket and hunt down an applesauce when you know you don’t have time to.
“. . . you will try your best to stay mindful of the fact that while this is your everyday, it’s this patient or family’s high-stress situation, a potential tragedy in the making.”
You won’t always eat when you’re hungry or pee when you need to because there’s usually something more important to do. You’ll be aggravated by Q2 narcotic pushes, but keenly aware that the person who requires them is far more put upon.
You will navigate unbelievably messy family dramas, and you will be griped at for things you have no control over, and be talked down to, and you will remain calm and respectful (even though you’ll surely say what you really felt to your coworkers later), because you will try your best to stay mindful of the fact that while this is your everyday, it’s this patient or family’s high-stress situation, a potential tragedy in the making.
“The “little” stuff is rarely small. It’s heavy and you can’t carry it by yourself. So yes, little nursling, you are here to pass trays.”