Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lessons from a phone....

My husband and I walked into a phone store, that shall remain nameless~  the store was brightly lite, the employees were well dressed in shirts and ties and the layout of the store was neat, clean and well organized…One would have thought that what would accompany such a store would be good customer service, joyful employees and that we would walk out of the store with new upgraded phones and a smile.  NOPE…the experience was less than stellar. The employee was well versed in his sales pitch but was not willing to go outside of that pitch to make a sale… and the irritation level that it left us with was a bit high! 
We decided to try one other phone store/electronic store just a hop skip and jump away~ What met us this time was very different. The store was dimly lit, overstocked and a bit disheveled in appearance, the employees were dressed in jeans and matching t-shirts… The difference, however, was the employees met us with a smile and a helpful hand, some laughter and we left them with a big sale…
What made the most difference?  The first impression of the employees…not the interior of the building or the way the employees were dressed…when it came down to it those outside appearance things didn’t mean squat…Now I have been the first to say that appearance means everything…that cleanliness wins out and nicely dressed employees is a must~ now I still think this, BUT none of that matters if the employee isn’t personable or if they don’t  give a rats ass that your there!! The difference in the appearance of the stores and the way the employees were dressed was huge…BUT so were the attitudes that they each carried. 
I guess there really is a lesson in even the smallest of things…For whatever reason, as I drove home with my new phone, I was thinking how the 2 stores and their employee’s approach really did make a difference to me and my husband. We will not go back to that first store…but we will go back to the second.  The guys that helped us out with the phones even got a courtesy photo and upload to my Facebook page (with their permission of course J).
I’ve read in many a report that nursing is the most trusted profession…why is that?  I’ve often thought that it was because of our origin…Nurse Nightingale and all that…the white uniforms, the cap, and the role of caregiver…
While I am not 100% sure why nursing is perceived by patients to be the most trust worthy profession, it is my honor to be in that profession.  I want my patients to trust me and I want them to respect me.  I want to take care of my patient in a way that leaves them feeling cared about and listened to…as well as taken care of with expert hands.  I want them to feel my heart when I care for them.  I used to think that it was about a clean room, a clean pressed and stain free uniform, nice hair, clean nails, and of course good care! …… but after my experience I KNOW it is more than that… while all of the above is nice and adds to the comfort of the patient and their family~ without caring and comfort from the nurse, the patient and their families could give a bleep what their room or their nurse looked like!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The ER Beast

I usually write an inspiration to nurses on my blog and who knows maybe that is what this will end up being, but I feel the need to write about my experience yesterday and the decision that is solidified for me.  I work in the ER, in case you hadn’t gathered that from my blog already, and have done so for the last 11 years.  The ER can be a roaring beast that devours all in its path…or at times can be a gentle beast that lets those working there stay alive to come back another day. 
Yesterday was one of those days that just makes you want to find a corner to cry in…we had 2 nurses call out~ so we were short staffed from 7am -7pm and the patients just kept coming…our supervisory staff were all off to conferences so there was no physical help available from them…the rest of the hospital was dealing with their own issues and had no nurses to spare….(which makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is in the public bathroom and asks the women next to her if she could spare a square….and sure enough the women says NO!) any way…
Our amazing team that worked yesterday pulled together and we got the job done and we did it very well!!!!  BUT for 12 hours we didn’t get a break…we ate sandwiches, sent to us from our cafeteria, on the run… we had full rooms and a full waiting room all day long so there was no break  to be had when a patient was discharged…just another patient put in the bed…we had a serious trauma come in, in the midst of the day…so that takes 2 nurses, a tech and a doc out of the mix for an hour… and again the nursing team, techs, docs and secretary all did an amazing job keeping up with all the patients, the orders and the chaos!! 
I have stayed in the ER for several reasons, the energy of it, the staff, the schedule isn’t bad, I am really good at ER nursing, most other types of nursing seem boring in comparison, and complacency. For me, this type of nursing seems to be losing its appeal. What I don’t love anymore is the chaos…controlled chaos is one thing but the chaos of yesterday, and the all too frequency of those days, is another…and for this 45 year old nurse I’ve about reached my limit.
The self-care routine that I have been doing has allowed me to stay sane while working and has allowed me to feel less burned out with nursing all together…but what if yesterday is the wave of our future in the ER…Our hospital is building a new hospital in another town, merging another hospital… and this ER is going to remain open but with no beds to admit them to…so the ER will be full at all times with critical patients that need to be transferred to the new hospital for admission(and we all know how long that takes!!!!)…call outs are ongoing as is not being able to find anyone to come in… and on and on it goes…
For now I will be increasing my self-care in order to remain where I am until another plan unfolds…and I do have a plan~~ Praise God!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Partnership in the journey of health

As the music starts pumping through the MP-3 player speakers, the whole gym full of women take their positions and ready for the Zumba class to take off.  My friend and I give each other a grin and laugh…this is our first class and the gym is full of women of varying ages and shapes, but we are feeling a bit on display.  As soon as the instructor starts moving her body and giving instructions, intimidation melted away and the music took over.  An hour later we were drenched in sweat with big smiles on our faces!  I will not say that we knew many of the moves or that we looked cute doing them but the class was soooo fun!!  Wed. night we are going back for more. J
One week ago today, my friend and I made a commitment to one another to hold each other accountable as we once again pledged to live a life of health and fitness… We both had slipped into some unhealthy patterns over time and needed a good nudging and a hand hold to make a plan and stick to it.  So this past week we went to the gym, ate a more healthy diet, drank more water and attended our first Zumba class.  During this week we called each other and checked in…all of this helped us to stay focused and motivated. 
My husband and I do this partnership as well~ In order for our marriage to be healthy and to continue to succeed we depend on one another to stay focused on what is important, to partner up on the household responsibilities and errands…we partner up with the family (grown children that they are now.) and with any problems that arise. We also both make time to attend to the other’s needs and to make the other feel special and cared for. We are best friends, lovers and partners in this thing called life.
I also watch my amazing team of nurses do this partnership thing quite well on a daily basis in the ER…One of the amazing things about working in the ER is the bond that you develop with your fellow nurses…you must become a team in order for the work to get done and for the heartache of the job to not be so painful.  The bonds that I have developed with these nurses in the ER are strong and meaningful.  I call many of them friends and I mean it.
Of course in order to develop strong bonds with others we have to want the bond…we have to be present and be ready to stay in the moment for a little while…we have to be open to another person and that may mean experiencing pain, but it also means experiencing great joy. I have been blessed in this life with an amazing family that I cannot imagine my life without, wonderful friendships, much love and joy…and many people that I partner with on this ride of life…
Just a reminder to my-self and to all of you fabulous nurses out there…Our patients need a partner in their health care journey as well…and most often that partner is their nurse. We spent more time at the bedside, in their homes, in the office or on the phone with the patient than the doctor usually does so we are the obvious choice.  I went into nursing because I wanted to help people…at that time it really was a blanket thought, one that I really had no idea what it meant.  Now I know that when I say I want to help my patient, I mean I want to be present; to hear their story and to care about why they are there…I want to deliver sensitive and appropriate, evidence based care that is timely and accurate. I am ready and willing to be their advocate. I want to hold their hand and pray with them if they want that…I want to show them strong confidence and knowledge as I do my nursing interventions to aid in their recovery…I want to help them; to be their partner that day.
For me, I have another partner in life that aids me in succeeding and staying focused on what is important and that is Jesus…On this Easter holiday eve I am especially thankful to my heavenly Father for the gift of salvation and for the constant presence and forgiveness that he offers. 
I pray that for all of you reading this posting that you are someone’s partner in something meaningful and that you are able to offer your partnership to someone else as well.  For all of us nurses reading this…I pray that you would see your role in your patient’s lives as a partner in their journey to health, safety, life or death.