Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Callers Make Us Who We Are

So many times, we hear that the people we surround ourselves with is what makes us who we are. In telephone triage, our callers help to mold us into the triage nurses we become. When you are a telephone triage nurse, it is as if you have been invited into the callers home and have been allowed to enter their personal space. We often get to witness the raw emotion that we otherwise would not experience in any other specialty area. In return, sometimes, there is that one caller you just cannot get off your mind, because somewhere, they touched you. They brought you a dose of reality. They reminded you that people's lives are not as perfect as they sometimes seem, and they give you a sense of appreciation for the little problems you think you have. You realize that there are patients who are really hurting. and they need us.
One such caller, that I often think of from time to time, and wonder how her situation turned out and how she is today, is a young mother who was dealing with a young child with depression. She started the call by telling me her nine year old son had been asking her what depression and suicide meant. He told her he was thinking about it after seeing a TV commercial for anti-depressants. She had assumed she had explained it to him and everything was ok, until days later, he confessed to her, with tears in his eyes, that he had voices in his head telling him to hurt himself but he did not want to. He was crying out to her for help.
I started thinking that maybe the child's imagination had gotten the best of him after seeing the commercials, and maybe the mom was over anxious. However, my heart sank when she told me through her tears that the child's father had committed suicide when he was an infant, and she had never told her son how his father died. At that moment, I wanted to reach through the phone line and just give her the hug she so very much needed.
This mom knew what she was facing, and she knew exactly what she needed to do. She just needed someone to give her permission to do it. After advising her to take her child to the ED for an evaluation, she voiced to me that she knew that was the next step. She just needed someone to listen and validate her as a mother. My heart was breaking for her. The call ended after she was able to gain some composure, and she thanked me for listening.
I never knew that outcome of that call, and I often wonder how she is. When I do, I say prayers of thanks for the little things I call problems, and I regain perspective. I hug my kids a little closer; tell my husband I love him more often; spend an extra minute with my dog; and appreciate the little things we take for granted.
Yes, my callers make me who I am, and they sometimes teach me to be a better person.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Happy Nurse's Week!

In thinking about National Nurse's Week, next week, I have been reflecting back to Florence Nightingale and how the nursing profession evolved. Boy, has it ever changed in just the last 20 years!
When I graduated nursing school, we still had the caps and white uniforms, and hardly a school issues caps anymore. I understand the whole theory about being more modern, and even the infection control risks with caps. However, to be given those stripes to add to those caps meant something, and we wore them with pride, and do you remember the first time you signed your name with R.N. behind it? I do, and the sense of accomplishment was like no other.
Even though nursing schools and facilities do not adhere to the traditional uniforms anymore, we as nurses, should never falter in taking our profession just as seriously. The most recent gallop polls still rank nursing as the most trusted profession based on honesty and ethical standards. Wow, that's alot to live up to!
Here at NTTS, we salute our nurses, and we thank them for keeping both company and professional nursing standards. Our nurses are what enables us to continue to provide quality patient care. We also never cease to salute our first nursing leader.....

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Thank you Florence Nightingale for all you did to help us become a profession to be proud of, and thank you NTTS nurses for the quality care you provide every day!
Happy Nurses Week!