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I'm a child of God, wife to Charlie, mom to three beautiful girls, daughter to Dennis and Susan, and friend to as many as I can meet. (In that order.) Welcome to my bloggaroni. :) Follow me on Twitter: thatsmykimjay / Go to my site: www.kimjay.com

Monday, December 3, 2012

False Assurance...

Ahhhh, nursing school.  Filled will all the little secrets the public would LOVE to know!  Like, what does "b.i.d." on your prescription mean?  And, what exactly are they listening for when they listen to your back?  And, how can they possibly hear anything when they move the stethoscope so quickly?  And, shouldn't the nurses care that your "normal" temperature is 97.5, and shouldn't they be more upset when you come in with 99.9 based on this knowledge?

The thing about nursing school that has been so exciting for me, is to be a part of the secret "club."  To know what the heck they are talking about on Grey's Anatomy when  Meredith yells, "She's cyanotic!"  Or, "He's going into acidosis!"  Yes.  I know these things and way more things that I never dreamed would fit in my little itty-bitty teeny-tiny brain.  

I also know the "code."  Why yes, there is a code.  And, I may be kicked out of the club for sharing some of this, but a very profound thing hit me this past semester while learning to communicate "therapeutically."  (One thing I'm learning while writing this, is that I use "quotation marks" way too much.  Good heavens, if I ever air-quote in your presence, please shake me.)  But, the other thing - is learning how to talk to patients therapeutically.  In other words, why nurses just look at you funny and nod when you ask certain things.  You see, there are positive and negative methods that are to be learned when talking to patients.  A positive example is to give eye contact.  Or, use open-ended questions.  Negative examples include blocking, or evading questions.  Or, as I'd like to talk to you about, "giving false hope."  (There go the quotation marks again.)

False hope.  I briefly let that marinate during class one day, and then my ADD kicked in and I was on to other things like, say, lunch.  Or, Downton Abbey.  Or, the piece of fuzz on Jesse's shoulder I couldn't reach in order to correct the situation.  Still driving me crazy I couldn't get it.

This Sunday at church, the false hope topic reemerged and wouldn't go away.  The sermon series is called  "A Thrill of Hope."  (I actually think that was an appropriate use of quotation marks.)  It really hit me.  A lot of stuff hit me.  Like, Kim, you dummy!  What have you fretted over this past year and a half?  God brought you here, He will take you where He wants you to serve Him after school is over!  And, then I thought, Wow.  Hope.  What must it be like for those patients I come in contact with, who do not have that thrill of hope?  

See, I was raised with that thrill of hope.  I am not afraid of the "end."  (Again - quotes.)  Although I will mourn what my death will mean for those I leave behind, I ACHE for the touch of Jesus.  For His sweet eyes lighting up as I run into eternity with Him.  ACHE with everything in my core.  My assurance is TRUE.  BLESS-ED.  How incredibly hard it is for me to not want to share that assurance with my patients who are about to face death themselves!

How do nurses who are in Christ navigate these waters?  As a Christian, it is my number one job to tell every single person about the HOPE I have.  As a nurse, we are taught explicitly not to give FALSE HOPE.  What on earth do I do?  Nothing.  Nothing on earth at least.  As with everything, I guess I should trust God to navigate these waters for me.  Praying in each situation that He will give me the words to share the Gospel with those who will accept.  

Praise God for the hope that springs eternal!  Praise God for TRUE assurance!

"Now faith is confidence in what we HOPE for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweetness and kindness...

So, I'm nearly a year into my student nursing career.  And, although I'm not a real-live nurse yet, I do feel like I'm at the very least getting some pretty life-like practice.

I have had the blessing of caring for patients one and two days of every week for the past five months, give or take a break here and there.  Most of my patients are older (70+), and are suffering from the normal old-age ailments.  Congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among others.  Most of these patients' illnesses are chronic.  This means, they are used to the hospital.  Used to doctors.  Used to nurses.  They know the drill.

Going in to nursing school, I was all about pediatrics - just knowing I would not be too good at dealing with geriatric issues (adult diapers, ahem, we call them "briefs" / complete bed baths / enemas / bed sores / etc.)  I just knew it would gross me out to no end, and I would just have to suffer through it in nursing school until I could get to the cute little babies.

But, something happened.  I realized that every single week in the hospital with these precious older patients, I was being blessed.  Every.  Single.  Week.  No matter what the problems they were having, reading their charts the night before, the anxiety building up over the gross things I would be dealing with the next day, no matter what...I always end up blessed so much.  Many times, I cry on the way home thinking about the blessing I received, and praying for them.

On another note, pediatrics has been as much of a surprise.  I LOVE caring for the children. LOVE it.  Not so much the parents.  Inevitably, I get a patient whose parents are less than loving.  Less than responsible.  Less than tolerable.  And, I find myself not wanting to leave those sweet children not knowing if they will be okay once they are discharged.  Frankly, sometimes I just want to scream, "PICK THAT BABY UP AND HOLD HER!  GET IN THE BED AND CUDDLE WITH THAT POOR CHILD!  SHE'S SICK!"  It makes me crazy.  And, for goodness sakes, I would do it myself if I didn't think the parent would think I was crazy for cuddling with their child.

What is it?  I think it is complacency, and desensitization.  It's that many of them have chronically ill children, and they are tired.  They are so used to the hospital environment, that they forget their child still has very real pain, fear, need for love.  It is very similar to attitudes I see from nurses (not the majority - but some) who have become so automated, so accustomed to the drill.  Same meds, same tests, same routines.  I see a lot of very smart people taking very good care of their patients and children, but not CARING for them.

Contemplating the contrast between my adult health experience and my pediatric experience, the fact hit me.  I want to be an excellent nurse.  I want to know all the meds inside and out.  I want to be really good at starting IV's, maintaining sterile fields, checking labs.  But, most of all, I want people to feel better than when I met them.  In every way possible.  I want to know I am CARING for my patients, not just simply taking care of their needs.  I saw this photo on my friend, Kristi Bonney's Instagram the other day and it was SPOT ON.  I think it applies to every single career, relationship, and role every Christian is called to.

Sweetness and kindness.  There's a major deficit of it these days.  And, having been raised by the parents I was blessed with, it is a stark reality check to find out it is no longer the norm.  I think it's why the older patients seem to bless me more often.  They've learned it.  Their generation was taught to be sweet and kind.  Certainly, the ladies raised in the south.  As I left my patient last week, she grabbed my hand, and although she couldn't speak well, she winked at me and her eyes filled up with tears.  She was sweet and kind, and she blessed me.