My mother passed away this morning, My father, my sister and I were both at the bedside. My mother was extubated early sunday morning, it became obvious pretty quickly that she wasn't going to do well. My dad had already decided that she wouldn't be re intubated and that had been communicated to the hospital staff already.
It took 14 hours from that time, till she took her last breath. During that time I kept occsilating back and forth from being a clinician and being a son. During those hours I watched the staff of the hosptital work. All the staff, not just the nursing staff. I have nothing but praise for the staff of the hosptital.
I did notice one thing that is reinforcing my thoughts that nursing needs to change if it's going to continue to flourish in today health care environment. Recently i saw a post on Pinterest that stated, “The Essense of Nursing is Caring” As I thought about it, and watched the staff of the hopisal, I felt even more that this mentality is wrong and is keeping nursing from advancing and taking it's rightfull place in health care. You see nursing no longer has the corner market on caring.
You knowed who cared for my mother and family? The housekeeper that came into the room andadjusted the temperature when she saw is with blankets. The respiratory theripist who help my mohters hand and talked to her explaingin the endo tracheal suctioning each time she did it, even though my mother was well sedated and not responding. It was the intensivst, who held my dad, and brought in extra chairs when we needed them. Yes it was the Doc who brought in the chairs. AND it was the nursing staff. Each different, each competent and caring. Even when they were busy. The nurse that was there at the end was quite and compasionate, and busy. But even though she was busy, she never gave the impression she was rushed when she was in the room. She took the time to provide oral care for my mom, and made sure my dad didn't need anything.
Nursing no longer hs the corner on “Caring” the profession is to complex now. Back in the days were we didn't have the technology and the clinical options we have now, that is what nursing had to offer. The bed bath, the back rub, fluffing pillows. And paraphrasing and old NCLEX question, sitting and holding the hand of the patient who you discovered was scared about their surgery the next morning.
Maybe the essense of nursing is “Having the tools to provide what your patient needs” I know that's not going to make a poster anywere soon.
I look at the sheer voume of information that a nurse has to deal with. Back in the dark ages, when I was a student, I could actually memorize every medication that I gave. There were only a few of them. Well more than a few. But one pack of index cards pretty much covered it. When I look at the different meds that were hanging, the one thing that nursing school didn't teach me was how to keep up with those changes on my own.
The paradigm of nursing school and NCLEX needs to change. It's time to re-identify the basic core of nursing and test for that. No longer is rote memorization good enough. We need to change our focus to teaching life long learning and instill those habits early on. We need to teach nurses to read journals, go to classes and listen during rounds. I know from personal experience that when the docs realised I was actually paying attention and wanted to learn, that they included me in the discusion. I wasn't just the person pushing the chart rack.
It's time to move on. Nuring needs to be practicing in the century we live in, not during the Crimea War. Maybe nursing's place is as the foundation of health care with skills and knowledge that overlap all the other disciplines.
To the Clinical and Nursing staff of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Thank You for showing how it should be done!