Monday, April 02, 2007

One tiny moment in time....

One thought from my final clinical day on Friday:

Just before clinical was over, I did my last round of cycling through the rooms to see if there were any last minute tasks that needed to be done, and I came across a fellow student who's elderly female patient had been throwing up for quite some time. The student had been by her side for awhile, not wanting to leave her, therefore, she was behind on her charting, and it was almost time to go! So I offered to stay with the patient so the student could go finish her charting.

It was so sad to see this bedridden elderly patient being sick - how every ounce of effort it took for her to hold her head up to allow her to be sick into the bowl. Other than ensuring she was propped up on her side, there wasn't a whole lot I could do. So I just kept getting clean faceclothes to wipe her face and mouth and gently rubbed her back. She spoke very little English, but had very little energy to speak, so the few words she would say, I really had to strain to hear her.

In between bouts of heaving, she would reach out and sqeeze my hand and whisper a few Finnish words. Finally, after about 15 minutes, a nurse showed up with a gravol injection for her, so I was able to leave and join my fellow students, as they were all waiting for me in the conference room to wrap things up. Just before I left, she reached up and stroked my face with her hand, and just kept repeating, "my Angel, my Angel!" One of those little moments that I know I will never forget! At the time, it felt like I wasn't able to do much for her, but it reminded me that making the effort to show compassion really does help to comfort the patient. I hope to remember this when I someday am a "real" nurse, in a "real" hectic setting so that I will still take the time to do the little things and not become "too busy" to truly care...

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