You Are Not Going to Believe What a Patient Told Me Last Week!

You Are Not Going to Believe What a Patient Told Me Last Week!
I travel throughout rural South Carolina as a nurse practitioner taking care of mostly patients over the age of 65 who are on Medicare. Many of these patients have an education level of less than 8th grade as they had to leave school to help their parents work their farms or cotton fields.

So when I arrived at this particular gentlemen's home last week and he started to tell me the story of why he had recently started the habit of chewing tobacco to help him lose weight. I asked him why he would do that and he happily stated it was at the advice of his provider.
Now this patient was being perfectly serious and very adamant that he was following the advice of his doctor. He was up to a few tins a day.

It is truly hard for me to believe that his doctor really wanted him to start the harmful habit of chewing tobacco-instead I think this was an issue of mis-communication. Perhaps a joke gone wrong or something to that effect. 

This gentlemen is one reason why, we nurses cannot quit the profession. People like him need us.   

I cannot tell you how many situations like the above where I have explained to patients what the doctor or provider meant when they joked or said something. Even just simply explaining how to take a medication or why the doctor prescribed what they prescribed helps a patient be more willing to take their medications.

I know it is so hard right now with the current state of things, but patients like this gentlemen are everywhere and desperately need us. We cannot abandon them- Don't quit-instead Let's Disrupt this broken system.

2020 The Year of the Nurse???

2020 The Year of the Nurse???

2020 The Year of the Nurse?

I saw a meme the other day that said “When I heard 2020 was going to be The Year of the Nurse this is not what I expected.” At first I laughed and said “ain’t that the truth”.

This year has been shocking on so many levels. But then as I thought about that statement further my thoughts and the way I looked at that statement changed a bit.

No- this year is not at all what I expected-AT ALL!

I did not expect a worldwide pandemic.

I did not expect a shortage of life saving “personal protective equipment” (PPE) which includes masks, gowns, gloves, faceshields.

I did not expect that nurses would not be allowed to wear there own PPE, and get this- be written up or sent home if they refused to take their own mask off leaving them at risk to get sick- like what in the world. That was SHOCKING

I did not expect having to re-use n95 masks that could be contaminated with particles of the virus. In school we were always taught to discard and use a new mask. All of a sudden policies changed to make it okay all of a sudden to disregard everything we’ve learned.

I did not expect that the actual CDC would change guidelines in the beginning of the pandemic stating things like masks are not required and there is no evidence to show that this virus is airborne.  These policies were changed to protect hospitals and healthcare facilities-not the nurses and healthcare professionals. That was shocking. As we know recently the CDC once again changed their view on the possibility that the virus is airborne. 

I did not expect my fellow nurses to be expected to work when they had a positive result if they were not severely sick.

I did not expected this pandemic to become political in nature- causing some to debate simple things like wearing a mask to protect themselves and others and even denying it all together.

I never expected for nurses (one of the most trusted professions) to get spit on or yelled at out in public.

These are just some of the unexpected realizations that 2020 has brought to the forefront of my mind.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel-

My fellow nurses have realized their own gifts and powers.

They have stood up for themselves and not accepted being treated that way- many unfortunately have had to leave the bedside to prove this.

My fellow nurses, including myself,  have begun to think outside of the box and offer their gifts to the world in the forms of their own businesses- they are not just confined to the walls of a hospital with administration that simply does not care.

Many have dug deep to truly see their profession as a ministry. We as nurses, have comforted, supported, prayed with, held hands with those affected by this virus and the chaos it has caused.

No-2020 was not the year I expected as a nurse-but one thing is for sure-I will not forget how we as nurses were treated during this time.