Monday, May 3, 2010

Patient's that bug and bother me (on the subject of) (Let's try this again I say)

This was prematurely published last week. I wasn't done yet. :)

That is one slamming office up there.

I've been thinking a lot lately. I want to be better at my job and LEAVE IT THERE. I am in a caring profession and sometimes patients bug and bother me. It's only natural to get caught up in the emotional nature of being a nurse.

But sometimes, I wake up thinking about a certain patient. Or fall asleep thinking about them. Trying to figure out how I can help them best. Like working a Rubik cube in my mind. Trying to figure out the solution.

Only, with certain patients, certain cases, there is no solution.

This does not sit well with the heart or mind of a nurse. Again, for the newbies-I'm a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Which means I have a big heart to listen and a type A, overachiever brain to whip up a detailed plan for the patient, so they can escape from suffering.

But sometimes patients can't escape. Which bugs and bothers me. Sometimes suffering cannot be alleviated. And I have a hard time accepting this AND THE RUBIK CUBE STARTS TURNING IN MY HEAD AGAIN!

So I ask myself,


I was sitting in my office eating a Fiber One Bar for lunch on Tuesday. This was the second time I had not gone out to lunch. I love going out to lunch, especially to Subway for lunch. It's where people eat fresh. It's where I get out of my basement office to see actual sunlight.

Only, there was no subway that day. Because I had worked a patient in, scheduled them during my lunch hour. For the second day in a row. They no-showed on Monday. And they no-showed on Tuesday. Didn't show for two days in a row. Despite me calling them each morning to let them know I was working them in.

This was a patient I had fallen asleep/woken up thinking about. Because they were in crisis. Crisis of their own making- but crisis all the same. And as I was eating my sad little Fiber One Bar, it hit me like a big black safe from above.

I have been a nurse for almost 10 years. I have had hundreds of patients I couldn't stop thinking about in my off hours. Hundreds of patients thought about in hundreds of off hours. None of those hours


to anything

in the way of me helping them.


As a nurse, this Rubik cube thinking, this is very common. Our job is heartbreaking. Especially if there are kids involved. I worked very briefly with kids. Almost broke me. Cried every night I came home, sobbed even. That was a dark time. ok . . that's a hole 'nother blog, moving on here ....

But now I work with adults. Adults who, for the most part, have lots of options available to them. They can speak English, read and write and drive to the clinic. Lots of options. Options I can point them to. And it is not my job to make them take them.

So no. no more. No more of this endless thinking. It's not a marker of the quality of my nursing, this think think thinking. No more working in people over my lunch hour. I think this last Tuesday was a breaking point in my professional life. It's scary to think like this. But no more.

It will be hard habit to break, this ruminating on certain patients. But, I only work eight hours during the day. If I can't help them within those eight hours, their pain will have to wait till tomorrow. Because their pain is not mine. Their life is not my life.

In fact, my life is going quite grand. Best to get to it!

4 Left a message at the beep:

Mrs. Hall said...

I love how my son's crabby face appears right after this post.

Like a punctuation mark of "THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT!!"

Heff said...

"Leave work at work" has ALWAYS been my motto.

Mrs. Hall said...

tee hee hee

Slyde said...

i think when you are a caregiver, the good ones will NEVER be able to leave it at work. i think thats the watermark that means your one of the good ones... dont lose that.

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