I have been a nurse for more than 40 years. Several years ago when my husband Trip suffered a terrible injury, I became aware of the difference in the perception of healthcare providers. Not having practiced at the bedside for more than 20 years, I was suddenly on the “other side” of care.
I became aware of those who encourage and promote healing, and those who mechanically go through the protocols. I pondered this during my husband’s hospitalization as I watched every nurse and physician who came into his room.
There is a natural barrier of fear and uncertainty when you are a patient in the hospital, and there is a way to break down that barrier.
First, I have to know who you are. Tell me your name and ask me my own. It’s a relationship. I want to know you, and I need for you to know me. Sit with me and hold my hand. Touch my shoulder and be present with me when neither of us have words. Stand in silence with my tears.
When this nurse came into Trip’s room, I heard “Hello, Pat. My name is Phyllis. I’m sorry you’re here, but thank you for trusting us to come to our hospital. We care about you, and I want you to know that.” The walls came tumbling down.
Thank you to all of the staff members who broke down the barriers of fear. Even when you didn’t have time, you sat with Trip during the night, and you made time for him and for me.
Thank you for climbing with us over every mountain of uncertainty; at times, even pulling and pushing us along the way. The key word is that it was always “us” – you, Trip and me. You made us feel like we mattered, and that we were not alone, which provides a tremendous dose of healing.
Thank you to all of my colleagues who work to make a difference in the lives of those people who cross their paths every single day.
Your reward is coming, and it will be certain.
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 14:7