Patient Diaries: What a Patient Wants Nurses to Know

Thelma has been sitting quietly on her bed for a while as she observes the scenario going around her. She raises her right hand, with an IV line attached to it and tucks the hair that was all messed up on her forehead absentmindedly as she watches the nurse go on and about her business. She is roaming around the ward, moving as quickly as possible from one patient to another, administering certain medications. She then proceeds to finishing paperwork at the station.

Thelma is scheduled for colonoscopy today. Though she has been contemplating this for days now, she is still feeling a bit anxious.

“What will happen? Will I get through this? I’m so scared,” are the questions and thought swirling around her head continuously. She has been spending long nights thinking about these, yet she found no answers. She wishes she could talk to somebody about this, she wishes the nurse could talk some sense into her. But how could that happen when her nurse is so busy with all her work? How could she vent out her feelings to someone who has not time at all?

Yes, we nurses are given a heavy workload with so little time to accomplish a long list of nursing tasks. Sometimes, it takes its toll on us that we can’t just wait for our duty shift to end. We are so focused on accomplishing and checking everything written on our “to-do” list, that we sometimes forget some things we equally should be giving attention to, one of which is our patients.

We are people, too.

Yes, we understand. We are your patients, and you have a lot of things in your mind, but we are people, too. With feelings, worries and all the other things people feel. Being sick and hospitalized isn’t exactly one of the best feelings. Don’t just pass by our beds without giving even a single glance.  Don’t just give medications and leave. A single smile, a nod of acknowledgement, or even a simple “hi” won’t hurt. But it would definitely brighten our gloomy day.

We are scared, and there are certain things we don’t understand.

Unlike you, we don’t know all the other things in the medical field. We don’t know why you are giving us injections, we don’t know about our disease, what’s going to happen and what our choices are. Instead of scurrying away after you inject that yellowish fluid into our IV lines, please find time tell why you’re giving it to us, what we should expect when we are bound to undergo a certain procedure, why you perform some things to us. You never know what goes on a person’s head, especially if his questions are left unanswered. It leaves us all scared, anxious and sometimes doubtful.

Please lend us a fraction of your time and ears

Being admitted in the hospital is one of the scariest feelings, we don’t understand what will happen and what it’s going to take for us to be well again. We miss our “normal” lives where we can go about our own businesses instead of just lying on the hospital bed. We may fear injections, face some unwarranted news and may undergo some scary procedures. In all of these, please be with us. Listen to us ramble about our feelings. Tell us about what we need to know, comfort us. Just be there and listen to us. Really, knowing that someone is there with us through situations like these makes everything feel a lot better.

Respect goes a long way

Yes, we are sick and weak. But we still deserve an ounce of respect. Please honor our privacy when you’re performing some procedures. Don’t talk behind our backs. We may not be in our best possible condition, but it doesn’t mean that you can gossip all about our condition to other unauthorized persons. Lift us lightly, perform procedures gently, respect our decisions.  We have lives too, a family, a job and feelings. We respect you, as our health care provider, please respect us in return.

Sometimes, being a good nurse isn’t just about finishing everything on time. There are also times wherein we need to only give attention to our tasks, but to our patients as well. They are our clients here, our top priority. Instead of letting them be miserable and feeling down with their health condition, let us make their hospital stay a pleasant one. Think about things in a patient’s perspective. Be the nurse you would want to have as a patient.

Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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