How many of you are nurses or have been a patient? I am speaking to both nurses and patients. I have been in nursing for 40 years and have done many different types of nursing. I am currently an ER nurse.
ER nursing is tough. I remembered when I started as an ER nurse I could not believe my co-workers were so hardcore. I said I would never become hard hearted. It has taken every ounce of my inner being to stick to my word. But I still have my moments of unbelief and mistrust.
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Maybe you have been a patient, you were scared and wondered what would happen to you? Most people are. I wrote this to help remind myself, other nurses and patients, that we are here to help you.
When you enter the ER, you may be having pain. The pain produces fear of the unknown. This fear causes you to have an increase in your pain. It is a vicious cycle. Your pain is real but worsened by the fear.
You may have had this pain for a few days, and it has become worse each day or hour. So by the time you reach me you are so very weak with a heightened awareness of your surroundings and afraid you are dying. You have just had a very typical response.
As the patient, you don’t know this. I do know this. It is my job to teach you. It is my job and all other nurses’ job to calm your spent nerves and fears.
Now I am speaking to my fellow nurses. I know it is hard to tolerate pain and fear when it is probably not that serious. But you went to school just as I did to help people. Don’t feed into the emotions of your co-workers and be hard-hearted to your patients.
It is your job to teach them. Through knowledge, humans can understand and decrease their fear. We can show compassion and love when we use our knowledge to teach others.
It is your job to be an advocate for those who do not know their rights. Stand up for your patients. They are human and deserve the best possible love and care.
It is your job to calm their nerves with your voice and your healing touch. People need you to touch them, hold them and show them that someone cares about them.
It is no different for you if you are in a situation that is beyond your knowledge. My identity was taken from me, (stolen) a couple of years ago. I know nothing about the process that causes this or solves this problem.
I was so scared and anxious. Would I ever be me again? Would I be able to live in this world or would I be an alien? I know this sounds silly, but I have watched TV and seen this type of thing happen to people in movies. My fears were not based on reality.
I called the credit card company. They were so helpful and directed me to a government site that explained everything. It walked me through every step to protect myself and regain my identity.
How would I have made it if I had not been given the knowledge to deal with this situation? What would I have done? Would I be homeless or without money to pay my bills and buy food? I am a bit dramatic, but this is how I felt.
Patients feel this way when they enter your doors and have no knowledge of what is going to happen. Their intelligence or socioeconomic group is not of importance. How they feel and what you can do to help them is the biggest issue at this time.
I am asking all nurses to reach down and find that nurse you were when you graduated. Find your compassion and show it to the world.
I am telling patients that not all nurses are unkind and lack compassion. Many of us just need a reminder that you are the most important and need us to help you. Trust all of us and give us a chance to love you, heal you with touch and give you the knowledge to alleviate your fears.