• Nurse as your new best friend

    Nurse as your new best friend

    About to go to the hospital? Nurse Natalie Trezza tells us why you want to make your nurses your new best friends

    An emergency visit or planned visit to the hospital can be a very difficult situation. As a patient entering the hospital you are going through an extremely stressful and anxiety producing experience. During challenging times in our lives we tend to lean on our “best friend” for support and guidance. Who is going to be your “best friend” during your stay as a patient in the hospital? Most people would automatically say the doctor that is taking care of you. Yes, the doctor caring for you is vital to your care, but who spends the most time at your bedside? The answer is your nurse. Your nurse is the link between you and your doctor, as well as the link between your doctor and the other healthcare disciplines involved in your care. Your nurse is your advocate.

    Now you ask how do I make my nurse my “best friend”? While your nurse truly wants to advocate for you and give you all his/her expertise, you must remember that he or she may have to advocate for as many as 8 patients. If you ask for something and it is not delivered in the time frame you consider appropriate just remind your nurse. They really do want to provide you with all of your needs, no matter how small, but sometimes they get pulled in many directions and it takes a little longer than expected to complete all the tasks. If your request requires immediate attention, you are in pain and need medication, please let the nurse know. Be precise. You and your comfort are a priority and the last thing a nurse wants is for a patient to be in pain and distressed. Also, if you do not understand the medical jargon your doctor uses, ask your nurse to translate for you. In addition, please do not get upset if your tests or procedures are not done at 11:00am as scheduled, but at 4:00pm. We all know that the best of plans can be and often are interrupted and your stressing will interfere with your state of being and the last thing your nurse/advocate wants is a stressed patient. Please be aware that your nurse is also upset when these plans go awry. Unfortunately they have no control over the schedule of other departments.

    Nurses understand that going through the experience of being a patient in the hospital can be very challenging. Your independence is taken away and you become dependent on others for almost everything. You may feel your dignity is being taken away because you need assistance with some or all of your basic needs. This along with the stress of illness and/or surgery can make it difficult to always be pleasant. Please remember that little words like “please” and “thank you” can go a long way. Your nurse/best friend, like you, appreciates all the niceties. They want to know that they have helped you and that you appreciate it. Ultimately, nurses went into nursing because they wanted to care for people. So by being forthcoming, pleasant, patient, and precise you can facilitate and strengthen your nurses’ advocacy.

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