View Full Version : A Happy Memory: The way nursing should always be

10-30-2007, 04:54 AM
Can you remember your last good moment at work? A time or incident when something truly amazing happened? I find it too easy to remember the bad things that happen, while I often struggle to remember the good things that happen in the hospital environment. But the good does outweigh the bad, otherwise I wouldn't still be a nurse. One of the more memorable, feel good stories goes like this:

At 41 Mr Jones was very young to be needing vascular surgery, especially as he wasn't diabetic and as far as he was aware, he had no family history of circulation problems. But the supply of blood to his left leg was very poor and literally getting worse every day. "Will I be able to play gold again?" It was the night before Mr Jones' surgery and he had asked me this question several times over the shift. "If all goes well, I don't see why not" I replied. Only six months out of training but I knew never to give a definite answer. "Do you think it will go well?" It was the next logical question, but I chose my words very carefully. "Well, you're young, fit, no other health problems, don't smoke and hardly drink. You've got a better than many that I've known." He seemed to relax a bit at my words and let the matter drop. "See you sometime tomorrow afternoon" I said, making ready to leave the room. "If all goes well, I will" Mr Jones replied.

It's three thirty in the afternoon after Mr Jones' surgery and all seems to have gone well. He's still sleepy but he opened his eyes as I entered the room. "Think I'll be playing golf anytime soon" he smiled then drifted off back to sleep.

It was just as well that things had gone well with Mr Jones as I was so busy that I wouldn't have had time for things to go wrong. I had another patient due back from surgery sometimes after the evening meal, plus four other patients that were reasonable heavy. One was a stroke patients which was fully dependent, another was a prostate patient that was now 36hrs post surgery and still having reasonable heavy bleeding and in need of a blood transfusion. The other two patients were medical patients, one a male with congestive heart failure and the last patient, Mr Davis, with unstable angina. (heart pain)

At five o'clock I was seeing to Mr Davis as he had an episode of chest pain. At the same time the bell in Mr Jones' room began ringing, and didn't stop. "You'd better go answer that quick" Mr Davis said to me. He had been in and out of hospital so many times that he recognized a distress call. "He's probably sitting on the bell" I said, "But I better hurry and have a look. I'll be back in a second." I popped an oxygen mask on Mr Davis' face before leaving the room.

"What's wrong?" I asked Mr Jones as I walked in the room. Whatever it was it looked bad. His faced was screwed up in agony and he was clutching his leg. "Please do something, the pain, it's unbearable" he pleaded. His left leg was swollen, hot, and I couldn't feel a pulse in his foot. I called the doctor immediately.

Within five minutes the junior doc and the registrar were standing at Mr Jones' bed. "What' wrong doc?" Mr Jones managed between moans of pain. "We're going to have to take you back to theater" the registrar said, "It could be a clot, or the graft has failed. We'll know for sure when we open it up." The next hour passed in a blur. By the time I eventually saw Mr Jones off to theater, it was six thirty in the evening.

I wanted to rest, but I remembered Mr Davis and his chest pain. I had left him there with a mask on his face. I just hoped he was ok. I'd completely forgotten about him. I entered his room expecting the worst. "How you feeling?" I asked Mr Davis. He looked up from his paper, "Quite all right" he said. "And your pain?" I queried. "All taken care of" he said, then went back to reading his paper.

I went to check on my other patients, as one was overdue to start his blood transfusion and the others needed some other intravenous medication. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that the blood transfusion was started, and the medications given to all of my patients. I confronted the nurses in the office to ask who had done my work.

"We all did" Jan said to me. Jan had forty years of nursing behind her and was someone that anyone could turn to for sound advice. "But, no one has done that for me before" I stammered. My first six months of work since graduation had been spent in the gynaecology ward and I had been left to defend for myself. "That's how we do things here" Jan said matter of factly, "We look after each other." I was caught off guard by the rush of emotion that swept through me. I truly felt a part of this place.

-Years later I still vividly remember that moment and those words. To this day it still is the best run ward I have ever worked in and the patients received the best care in the world. We didn't always have the latest medical gadgets and medicines, but we had what mattered, people that care.

11-21-2007, 11:43 PM
Great post. Thank you so much for sharing that story. Sometimes, (most of the time), the best help someone can give you is when they take care of the patients you can't get to instead of wanting to be where the "action" is.

11-22-2007, 03:35 AM
That is a fantastic story. I was lucky to have a very supportive group of nurses around me when I first started out - I often wonder if I would have made it without them.