Former ICU Patient, Kathy Torpie’s Story about a Nurse Who Made a Lasting Impression & a Brief Op-ed about the Time Involved!

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This youtube offers a patient’s perspective of what it is like to be in ICU and how important one nurse was in his  approach to care. Special because he included her in conversation and well, it’s only 4 min you can watch for yourself. One troubling part, for me, in this video is the patient’s perceptive that…”…and it didn’t take him a moment longer than it might have taken otherwise….it took him no extra time”. Please take 4 min and watch the video to celebrate the simple things this nurse did to make a lasting and grateful impression on this patient and the importance of what Elizabeth’s Scala’s Art of Nursing Event promises to offer: 

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After you do you can scroll down and consider the concerns I have about the misperception that it takes no time!”

I believe the nurse she spoke about was inclusive and honoring of his relationship with Cathy. I do think it takes a little more time to practice this kind of nursing, at least it does for me! When I am rushing from urgent problem to urgent problem and have a workload and work environment that translates into Rush, rush, rush, not only do I not spend this kind of quality care with patients as much as they and their families would like, but I am exhausted and frustrated by the end of the shift. It is a reimbursement, bottom-line mindset of what is and isn’t important. We have to absolutely value the time it takes if we are going to be better listeners and increase the human touch, slightly slower pace, and gentle approach that meant so much to her. It means we have to slow down a little bit, not in terms of clinical response to emergencies, but in overall pace-setting. This idea that healthcare professionals should be in a constant state of productivity, in or on the brink of “overload”  is detrimental to everyone. (Maybe a few people who are making a lot of money from the business of healthcare will not be harmed, but I can’t help but wonder how the overall care will be when they need it!)

Why do I think it takes time?

BB closer Headshot 1-13 CherationsIt means we are paying attention to the patient, a kind of listening that occurs even when someone is not saying anything. This listening is being mindful and present for all of our patients rather than thinking about the next task we have to do, medication we have to give, doctor we have to call, alarm we have to turn off, doctors order we have to transcribe, assessment we have to enter into the computer, family member we have to contact or problem we have to solve. To the patient or outsider, this listening doesn’t take any time, but it requires that we slow down a little bit and pay attention. It is safer, kinder, and ultimately more cost effective because we will make less mistakes.  It may not take a lot of time, but when healthcare professionals are treated like “Direct Labor Units” and every possible moment must be accounted for and billable, these things are very easily lost in the urgent-stat-shuffle of healthcare today!

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What are your thoughts?