Saturday, August 13, 2011

The First of Many

I have great news! The Q&A will definitely need to be a series! I love my job and I enjoy talking about my job (just ask my husband- He knows more about the ins & outs of Labor & Delivery than any man should ever know, OB-GYNs excluded of course.). I've already started thinking about my answers to some of the questions and depending on what I'm talking about, I could go on for hours. Yikes!

Series it is.

Disclaimer: I haven't been doing this labor & delivery thing forever. I don't know everything. The End.

1. What is the most appreciated thing a patient can do for their nurse?
For this question, I hit the streets. And by hit the streets, I mean that I asked a few of my coworkers for their opinions on this topic. I got lots of great answers:
  • Hang up the phone when I come in to talk to you.
  • Don't ask me to get you ice chips when there are 18 family members sitting nearby.
  • Take a shower and brush your teeth before you come to the hospital. (more on this in a separate post!)
  • Don't touch the call bell.
The last one's a personal favorite of mine.

In all seriousness, I just want to be treated like another human being. All the coworkers I talked to first answered with, "just say thank you and mean it... ... and don't touch the call bell." A sincere 'thank you' goes a long way. Talking on the phone or having the TV turned up while I'm trying to discuss your care is disrespectful. As is eye rolling. Flexibility should be a prerequisite for labor as things rarely go as planned. If you don't understand something, ask questions nicely. If I can do something for you within my scope of practice, I will do it! I don't have phenomenal cosmic powers (name that movie!), I have to follow YOUR physician's orders. I work hard to make your experience safe and healthy for everyone involved. Please don't treat me like I'm an idiot or a slave or a nobody.

2. What is the best thing a patient or family has done for you?
This is another question I posed to several nurses and would have to wholeheartedly agree with this answer: "I consider it the biggest compliment when a patient asks to have me in their new family picture- the patient, her husband, baby and myself. It's such an honor to be a tangible memory of their experience." Now, there have been hundreds of times where grandma-to-be is running around taking pictures of all the tiny minutiae that clutter a labor & delivery room and says,"oh I guess I should take a picture of the nurse." Look, lady, I know you're meaning well, but I'm not a room accessory and I have a name. When I say I love pictures with family, I mean the parents come to me and ask for me to be in a picture with them or even just a picture of me holding their precious baby. It really tells me that you've valued the effort I've put into your experience.

Sure, getting food and thank yous from patients is nice, but the picture thing is a super simple way to really make your nurse feel loved.

You see, first and foremost, It's my job to care for my patients and make sure their labor and delivery is safe and healthy. BUT it makes my job so much easier and more fun if I feel like I've bonded with my patient and her family. Regardless, I really do consider it a true privilege to have even just a tiny role in this monumental occasion, even if I don't feel like I have any emotional attachment to my patient.

Lastly, I have to mention that getting cards in the mail is a huge HUGE deal. I once got a card in the mail with the picture that I took with my patient and her baby! What a mail day double score!!!!

Stay tuned for the next set of questions!


Devin said...

Hi Hollie! I am following you from Erika's blog. I love this post topic! I wish something like this had been available before I had my son. You should consider writing a book!

Erika said...

Hmmm...I will be sure to include nurses in all of my future medical-related pictures. "Hey, can I get a pic with you? I mean, you just witnessed my Pap smear and all...I want to immortalize this moment!" Hahaha.

Seriously though. Good advice! Can't wait to read more when you get to the JUICY questions! :)

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