I’ve been a patient more times than I would like to admit. From a car accident to painful miscarriages to child birth to spinal procedures, I’ve had my share of pokes and prods, bleached sheets and foul-tasting hospital meals. I’ve come into contact with a broad range of medical staff with just as many unique characteristics. As a patient, these are a few qualities that made these difficult times in my life more bearable.
1) I know that nurses see hundreds of patients per month, but each patient is a person. Okay, that’s terribly obvious but so many times and in so many areas in life we get treated like numbers. It’s one thing to be treated like a number when I’m ordering a Value Meal; it’s another thing when I found out I have a mass in my pituitary gland and need an MRI. Compassion is just as important as knowing how to take vitals.
2) Professionalism. I know that this is a job and with immense pressure, but the people who are coming in to be treated are not in the same mental place as the medical staff. When I had my second miscarriage I was devastated. The technician who was performing my sonogram asked where I lived and what good restaurants were in the area. At that moment, the last thing I cared about was where to eat. Another example is when I took my daughter to the ER. While we were waiting near the nurses’ station to be checked into a room, we could clearly hear their conversation about the best strip clubs. If they want to talk about this on their break or away from patients, so be it… not when I have a crying and hurting baby in my arms.
3) Going the Extra Mile. When I was about to have my baby, I was terrified with all of the horror stories that everyone had told me. However, I had the best experience imaginable. The nurse who checked me in stayed an extra hour after her shift ended until I held my baby in my arms. Every nurse who came on duty taught me her special way to bundle my baby. I got drugs, ice and advice when needed. I felt safe and pampered; two very important things when you’re scared and hurting.