Here is another excellent guest post by Kathleen Bartholomew, author of the book The Dauntless Nurse and website I am Dauntless.
I recently read that 70% of physicians said that their bond with their patients has eroded. I wonder what the statistic is for nurses? I’m guessing even lower as electronic charting takes up more than 30% of our time, and hospitals crunch staffing grids for survival.
Forming a bond takes time.
I remember an older man who seemed to be fighting death with all he had – even the doctor was perplexed! Finally I asked everyone to leave and listened carefully to his incoherent mumbling while giving him a bath. I discovered that when he was only 19 he had joined the Navy and gone to a brothel and was terrified of going to hell. I provided comfort and reassurance. There is no pill for a peaceful death. He died serenely within the hour.
Share your story! The stories of our bonds with our patients energize us and remind us why this profession is so amazing.
Maybe this lack of time explains why nurses have twice the depression rate – 18.2% compared to 9% for the general population. The time we have to listen and connect has eroded like a massive mudslide over the last 10 years as acuity and complexity increased and length of stay became shorter. As humans, we don’t notice minute changes because we are so awesome at adapting. How can we can reclaim this time with our patients again, and protect it from eroding even more? It was, and will always be, time with my patients that nourishes my soul and validates why I chose nursing in the first place.
What tips or tools have you found that are helpful to regain quality time with your patients? Try the ‘pause at the door’. Just stopping at the threshold before entering a patient’s room long enough to inhale and exhale deeply two times will have a centering effect on your nervous systems. When you have a list of 20 things to do, and medications are late, and someone turned up the invisible treadmill to high, use breathing as a powerful way to stop the crazy cycle. And any intervention that helps a nurse, helps the patient.
Don’t miss Kathleen’s other guest posts
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