In my third year of nursing school, I have found myself in the unfamiliar territory of my obstetrics and maternity rotation. During the past three years I have discovered my passion for geriatric nursing, so I expected this semester in particular to be a challenge for me.
When I was assigned my first mom and baby pair, I was overcome with a feeling of incompetence. Only hours ago, she had the amazing experience of bringing a child into this world! I couldn’t possibly comprehend how I, a twenty-one-year-old student, could relate to this women and her life changing event.
When I walked into my patient’s room I cheerfully introduced myself, but instantly realized my upbeat tone fell upon deaf ears. My patient was visibly in pain, so I immediately softened my approach. I walked to her bedside and sat down next to her. I told her she was my number one priority and asked if there was anything I could do to make her more comfortable. Throughout the day, I quietly floated in and out of her room, always making sure my speech was soft and slow, my demeanor calm and composed.
At one point during my shift I needed to do an examination of her extremely tender abdomen. As my hands touched her skin it became apparent to us both this assessment would hurt. I looked deeply into her eyes and she looked into mine. In that unspoken moment I told her I was sorry for causing her more pain and I understood that she forgave me.
It was in that very moment I realized how powerful my presence as a nurse was to her. The simple act of being with my patient became the most important thing I could do for this new mom. Experiences like this, beautiful in their simplicity yet emotionally complex are what mold and reshape my philosophy as I continue to grow as a nurse.
I believe a nurse’s ability to truly be present is the difference between a good nurse and a great nurse. This fundamental element of nursing transcends all specialties and it is essential to providing compassionate care and creating a healing environment.
I believe in being with patients.
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