As a supervisor for a telephone triage company, I encourage the members of our team to put themselves in the caller’s perspective. It is so easy to get into a routine of dealing with the same types of calls, shift after shift, and become insensitive to the caller’s needs. However, I am very conscious of that fact that they would not call if there in fact, were not a need. No matter how small the problem may seem to us, as a nurse, it could be a mountain to them.
Our team of nurses is exceptional in that they often go beyond normal procedures to meet the caller’s needs. The care they demonstrate in treating each caller as an individual is phenomenal, and it shows in so many ways, demonstrating that the smallest effort can change the call’s outcome. One of our nurses shared an experience with us recently that shows this level of compassion:
Humbled...And Forever Changed
It was shortly after 8am when I received a call from a Mom regarding her 5 year old son who had started with Croup that morning, exacerbating his Asthma. I could tell Mom was very well versed in the symptoms of Croup/Asthma as well as the treatment. As our conversation continued, She told me she had been up all night, and that her son was doing well with steamy showers, cool air and Albuterol Nebulizer Treatments. She was exhausted and concerned that her child had needed steroids in past, and she was hoping to get the first morning appointment so they could get some rest. I explained to this Mom that this particular office did not give us appointments to book early, nor did they have walk in hrs. Based on that, I told her the office protocol asked that parents call the office after 830am for appointments. No sooner had I said that did I hear Mom again say "Please Miss Can You Help Me?" Mom went on to further state, “My son and I have been up all night. We are very tired, and my daughter is receiving Hospice Care at our home. If you could set up this appointment, it would be immensely helpful to us all.”
The tears filled my eyes for this Mom and her family, at which point I did what any other nurse would have done, and telephoned the back line of the office. The office was able to give the mom the first morning appointment, and with her Provider. When I relayed this to her, she was very appreciative. I ended the triage call with this mom, and as the tears streamed down my face, I thought, you just never know the road another is walking on the other end of the telephone line...
It took just a couple of extra minutes of this nurse's time to make a difference to this mother, and the nurse realized her value to the callers that day. Amazing, even though we are not at the bedside of the patient, or even in the same room, we can still make a difference.