One area I had the opportunity to render my compassion and show the patient that I cared was when the patient went to a peer for help with her medication concerns. The patient informed the nurse that she was still having withdrawal symptoms after starting the methadone program and receiving 20mg as a starting dose and being on the dose for several weeks; she informed the nurse that she could not sleep, was in pain, was irritated, and nauseated. The nurse continued to instruct the patient to follow the protocol of filling out the increase request form and giving it to her counselor who would give it to the doctor and if the doctor felt it necessary, he would increase her dose and inform the nurse to give the increase in dosage. The patient was tearful and pleading with me to increase her dose. After assessing the situation and realizing that the patient was uncomfortable with her dose and needed/required an increase in her dose, I called the physician and informed him of the situation; the physician gave the order to increase the patients Methadone dosage by 5mg/day until she reached 40mgs. The patient was so appreciative and thankful towards me, as she walked away, she stopped to say to the other nurse who followed protocol “I have been telling you my dose wasn’t holding for 2 weeks now and all you had to do was what she just did. You don’t care about us and you shouldn’t be a nurse”. Although my peer was acting according to policy, there are sometimes when we must go above and beyond to ensure the well being of our patients.
I do not like to overstep another nurse, especially in front of a patient, after hearing her vent when being dispensed her medication by this nurse, I couldn’t allow the patient to suffer for what could have been something as simple as her form with the request for an increase being lost in the shuffle. I felt the need to show compassion by trying to talk with the doctor to bend the rules. I wish that I would have intervened much sooner; the patient would not have suffered so long.
“Compassion is a virtue and a necessary trait of nursing and being a nurse (Dalvandi, et al, 2019)”. My thinking about compassion expands to include self and colleagues by applying the same methods we use with our patients to ourselves and our colleagues. Such as making the time to listen; allows us to be attentive for ones concerns and let them know that we are actively listening to them to effectively communicate and come up with ideas to better address their concerns. Making time for ourselves is another way we can show a sense of compassion. Taking care of yourself so that you are well and focused for the people you encounter throughout your day. We have each other and many people within our discipline to assist us with when caring for ourselves, our patients, and our colleagues (CCN, 2021).
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Chamberlain College of Nursing (2021). Week 1 Lesson: Foundational Concepts. [online lesson]. DeVry Institute: Downers Grove, IL.
Dalvandi, A., Vaisi-Raygani, A., Nourozi, K., Ebadi, A., & Rahgozar, M. (2019). The Importance and Extent of Providing Compassionate Nursing Care from The Viewpoint of Patients Hospitalized in Educational Hospitals in Kermanshah – Iran 2017. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 7(6), 1047–1052. https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2019.204
I had a similar situation involving a resident and a narcotic. I had a new resident admit to my long term care facility. He had been there about half the day and the nurses were having a hard time with him. They believed that he was having trouble adjusting to the facility, which a lot of residents do. He had lived in the same house that he had built for 70 years. The resident was yelling out and continuing to attempt to stand even though he could not support his own weight. To help the staff, I had the nurse bring the resident to my office so that I could assist with him and allow the nurses to complete their other assigned work. During the course of visiting with and observing the resident, I observed him reaching for his legs then attempting to stand. Something about the way he was reaching bothered me or “tickled my nursing nose”. He denied any pain and displayed no grimacing or guarding. All he was doing was bending over with his arm stretched toward his feet then would attempt to stand. I ended up calling his family and found out that the resident had been taking a hydro 7.5, twice a day for several years. This medication was not on his admission paperwork. I am glad that I was able to find this out and get this taken care of for this resident but do wish I would have acted sooner then I did. He was in pain for several hours.
According to American Nurses Association (2015) nursing is healing and one component of healing is intuition. My nurses were frustrated with this resident. I followed my intuition and discovered an error in his care. After this, the nurses had more compassion for the resident because they understood a little more what he was going through. Now, I do believe they should have had compassion for him even before this because of the major life change he was going through but was glad it turned out like it did. This is something that could have easily been missed for a long time.
Back many years ago, when I was just starting clinicals as an LPN student I was at a long-term care facility. We were assigned only one resident that we would complete all care for including CNA and nursing duties. I was told by the staff that my resident was unaware of his environment, could not communicate and could not understand anything that was said to him. He also had contractures in both legs and in his right arm. I spent two eight hour shifts with this resident, talking to him and providing the best care that I knew how to do. At the end of the second shift, which was my last shift at this facility, I was telling the resident goodbye and thanking him for letting me care for him. He reached up with his left arm, pulled me down to him, and gave me a kiss on my cheek. He told me “thank you”. This resident did understand and could speak. He responded to the compassion that I had showed to him.
I feel proud of the way that I treated this resident but I do wish that I would have been a little more forceful in letting the regular staff know about what this resident could and could not do. I have thought about this resident a lot over the years that I have worked in long term care.
I believe that too often, in today’s society, that all medical professionals are caught up in the paperwork that is now required. I understand and still believe in the ago old quote of “if it’s not charted, it’s not done” but I do believe that there is too much paperwork required by society. This comes at the expense of spending time with the patients. Getting to know the patients and their families is a large part of developing compassion for them and their situation. Newton (2009) stated, “Patients don’t remember nurses who stay at the desk or computer, they remember the ones who spend time with them.” I would like to see nursing go back to the bedside and the compassion and care that comes with that.
Newton, Cindy. (2009). Restore the compassion to nursing practice. Nursing, 39, 8. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NURSE.0000361254.23551.d7
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