Monday, February 15, 2010

for the love of nursing

I survived another 36 hour shift, it wasn't pretty but here I am alive to tell you a story. Parts are sad, parts are not. The best part about working 3 - 12 hour shifts in a row is continuity of care for the patients. On Friday I was assigned 6 patients, some were discharged only to be replaced with someone else but for the most part throughout the weekend I had a "core" 4 that I took care of for 3 days. One is a spanish speaking woman who has been in the hospital for almost 3 weeks with congestive heart failure. One thing that amazes me about the human body is how each organ is dependant on another to work, they all have symbiotic relationships with others. Not one can stand alone without another and the heart is no exception. The heart and lungs and kidneys are all best friends. If one is out of wack, the rest follow suite. Her husband is very attentive to all her needs, bathes her, cleans her after using the bathroom, combs her hair and reads to her. She doesn't have the strength to do these things herself anymore and his love for her extends beyond traditional roles you and I would think of. I commented to him that I admired his devotion to his wife and he teared up, this was the love of his life I was speaking of, how else was he to act? Their relationship definitely moved me and "refilled" my kenosis tank so to speak.

One of my other patients was a young man, came to me from the ICU after ingesting some pills in an attempt to take his life. He also acted out in other ways that I am not able to talk about. When I met him he was very confused as to what landed him in the hospital and scared. I was nervous about telling him what happened, but as a patient in the hospital, he has rights. He had a right to know what happened and the plan of care for the remainder of his stay. He was dumbfounded as to why he would do such a thing. (I admit I was too) One of the protocols that my hospital has as do others is that when a patients comes in after trying to commit suicide an "emergency detention order" is obtained so that the patient cannot leave on his own accord, if he/she so chooses to try the police are brought in. This is for the safety of the patient (they still may or may not be in their right mind-considering they just tried to kill themselves, this is likely) and for the safety of anyone that may be involved in the patients life (girlfriend/boyfriend, family,etc....) Anyways, another part of obtaining an EDO is that a room at a psych facility needs to be available for when the pt is medically cleared to be transferred. This is where we ran into a snag over the weekend. I could not get an EDO for my patient due to the fact that no beds were available within a 100mile radius. My patient is asking to leave, insisting on leaving and I am throwing all my tactics to stall at him I can, "the doctor needs to evaluate you before you go", "you don't have a ride", "you don't have clothes", " whats your plan after you leave"....all the while I am getting assistance from a nurse at the local psych. center on how I can legally keep this guy here. I am scared he will hurt himself again, he has said things to warrant this. So she tells me the phone number of the judge that can I can possibly get to write a warrant to keep him at the hospital...its a long shot, but of course I am going to try. I called him, and explained the situation, telling him that between me and another nurse we've called over 20 facilities in Texas to see about availability. He said he cannot legally sign the warrant but was willing to help me out and make phone calls to people in higher places....and guess what? At 6:30pm I spoke to a Hospital that was willing to take my patient and approval was being made as I was leaving. My physician was on board and as a team this kid is going to get the help he needs ( I HOPE!). As exhausted as I am today, I am just so thankful that we could find a place and people were willing to help this kid. He probably doesn't care that all these efforts were being made, he was more concerned that he was missing his girlfriend but I will sleep easy
knowing I did all I could, we did all we could.

Nursing is so much more than handing out pills, doing dressing changes, starting IV's and preforming wound care. It's the leg work, its going the extra mile to be the change, the catalyst for something better, something more. I am so honored to be a part of it all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey! Your eloquence puts the reader in your world. I'm so proud of you!