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Old 01-06-2008, 11:07 PM
LesleyJoy
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Originally Posted by heatherhoney View Post
Darling Caroline, One of the first things a student nurse must learn is respect for her patients. I find the term "little ladies" and "so cute" disrespectful and condescending. If you described my mum in this way, I would give you a piece of my mind madam.
Friend,

Thank you for your comment on how the phrases "little ladies" and "so cute" can be intrepreted. Language and culture color so much of what we understand, don't you think? Even though our countries have a common language, the meaning of that language seems to vary in many ways. In my part of the world, "litle old lady/little lady" and "so cute" can most certainly be considered respectful endearments. I wonder what other phrases have the potential to cause offense or misunderstanding between us... I hope you take the time to enlighten us as your association with NV continues!

Now for my own little old lady story:

Once upon a time I worked part-time as a hospital patient care services supervisor and part-time as a life flight nurse. Early during the day as a house supervisor I was given a flu shot. I then worked all day and quit in time to assume my scheduled flight shift. I was not feeling well, but thought I could provide adequate care. My first flight of the night was to accompany a little old lady (whose hip prothesis had yet once again failed) from a small hospital to a very much larger one. The sky was bumpy and I began to feel quite ill. But my patient needed me. Her pain was under control, but she was now nauseated. As I turned in my seat to get a medication the small plane in which we were flying abruptly tilted to the right and dropped like a rock. When our sideways slippage stopped, I closed the med box and pick up a biohazard bag. After I had very noisily emptied the contents of my stomach, the little old lady reached toward me with one gentle old hand. "Oh, dear!" she exclaimed. "Did I make you sick?"

Little old ladies! You have got to love them!!

Joy
  #12  
Old 01-07-2008, 10:21 AM
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What a sweetheart. It's patients like her who have kept me in the nursing profession.


MJ
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:30 PM
Marachne
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Originally Posted by LesleyJoy View Post
Friend,

Thank you for your comment on how the phrases "little ladies" and "so cute" can be intrepreted. Language and culture color so much of what we understand, don't you think? Even though our countries have a common language, the meaning of that language seems to vary in many ways. In my part of the world, "litle old lady/little lady" and "so cute" can most certainly be considered respectful endearments.
Joy
And I have to agree with Heather, the use of the terms "little old lady" and "so cute" are not respectful, and I don't think it is so in any English speaking country. I also want to thank Heather for bringing it up, I too had a negative reaction and should've said something.

We live in an ageist society. Just like probably none of you nurses would like to be patted on the head and called "little lady" or "sweetie," or any other patronizing language, using diminutives and language that paints pictures of people as weak, ineffectual...in essence not a productive, intelligent adult is disrespectful. Yes, our patients are sometimes, in their current situation needing help, but that doesn't discount their history, experience, or wisdom. For all you know, that "little old lady" might have been a molecular biologist, or a CEO or influential politician. Would anyone call Margaret Thatcher a "little old lady?" (I might call her some other things, but this isn't a political board). Mother Theresa? Katherine Graham? (was owner of the Washington Post), Mother Jones? (1920's labor activist). I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.

We see people at their most vulnerable, but we have to be careful not to negate the rest of their existence and identity, what we often know nothing about.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:41 PM
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This is a really interesting debate and probably not in the right place now (in laughter is the best medicine thread). But for what it is worth here is my take on all of this.

We all have tales to tell of the things that patients have said and done, from young children through to people wandering round with their gowns done up back to front or not knowing they are showing all, to older people who often speak their minds or because of their condition / age are as innocent as a 3 year old.

The important thing for us as nurses is the care we take in translating what we have seen or heard onto a place like this and demonstrating that while what they have said or done has been amusing to us we understand that there is a fine line between being amused and being just that bit too condescending.

Any 'little old lady' story flippantly described here is a heartbreaking realisation somewhere else that our loved one is no longer the person they were. We would do well to remember that.
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Marachne View Post
And I have to agree with Heather, the use of the terms "little old lady" and "so cute" are not respectful, and I don't think it is so in any English speaking country.
I've actually known many senior women -- all with their full faculties -- who had no problem with terms like that. Maybe it's the area of the country I live in, but I think Joy was absolutely right: terms like these can obviously have very different meanings depending on where you are. I think we've seen enough examples just in this thread to show that that's the case, and as Julie said, we've definitely devolved away from the main topic so I'll go ahead and close this one now.
  
 

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