Last month, I ran into a man in the hallways of L1 whose wife was in the pre-op area. The man was frantic to find his wife before surgery so he could tell her that he loved her. There weren’t many people around because it was a holiday, yet, as is often the case, it was a very busy day. I escorted him to the pre-op area and then continued on my rounds while our periop nurses provided information on where he could wait with his family, how they would communicate with him post-procedure and how they would let him know when he could visit his wife.
Later, I saw him as he was wandering through the halls while his wife was in surgery. He was anxious to see his wife when she woke up to reassure her – and himself – that she would be ok. I took him and his family to the patient waiting area, oriented them to the area, confirmed we had his contact information, and provided an update on her progress. Reassuring him and supporting this man and his family was one of the most important things I did that day.
Extreme census, Code Help, high volumes of very sick patients with very anxious families – this is what makes up our days. My experience with this gentleman, though, serves as a very important lesson to me and to others about why we are here: for the patients and their families who find themselves in the hospital for life-altering illnesses, difficult procedures and many other needs. I realized that, at that moment, I was the caring environment for this gentleman and his family.
Each one of us promotes a caring presence by the way we approach and respond to patients and families, our colleagues and to our own needs. We must stay connected to ourselves and our own needs in order to connect with others.
If we allow the turmoil of the day to guide our behavior and responses, we will miss the many opportunities we have every day to make a difference for others and for ourselves. These opportunities are the essence of the caring environment for so many patients and their loved ones during difficult times. My thanks for all you do for our patients and for each other.
Lisa Morrissey, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC
Interim Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services