Health Professionals

Posted on May 26th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I think Health Professionals are a unique bunch, and they have a unique impact on people’s lives. It seems that they have the goal of making things better for you when you are at your most vulnerable. They are the ones that you can drop your pants for when asked and know they won’t laugh, or they’re not meant to. They are the ones who carry and analyse your body fluids for you more closely than we ourselves ever will. They are the ones who try to find out what it is about your body that makes you uncomfortable and give you things to make you comfortable again. Health Professionals often do this when you are in no state to do it yourself, when you are at your most vulnerable, and when you lack the knowledge of how to get out of this predicament yourself.

So a question came up in the comments about what makes a great Nurse. Great question. In my experience, these things stand out. A good nurse:

1. Uses your name, responds to you personally. This is true of most professions, I believe, but when you feel rotten, hearing that someone acknowledges you by name is a significant entry point to nursing greatness.

2. Pays attention to hygiene. I am bordering OCD when it comes to hygiene, so I take particular notice to this one. I want to make sure that my Nurses wash their hands before handling my medication or conduct any procedures that should be as close to sterile as possible.

3. Act on patients’ concerns or questions. I had one nurse who didn’t know what to do in a particular situation which, of course, is fine. But instead of admitting she didn’t know what to do, she didn’t do anything. It is fine to say, “I am not sure, but I will find out for you”.

4. Make good conversation. When appropriate (ie not during a resuscitation, especially your own) I appreciate getting to know whose hands my life is in. It is just comforting. Some patients may not always want a good conversation however, but I generally do. Warning to patients: no matter how coherent you think you are after a general anaesthetic, or heavy sedation, never, I repeat, NEVER start up a conversation with anyone until you are able to remember your name and address. You will NOT be coherent, you will NOT make sense, and you WILL make a fool of yourself. Trust me on this one.

I am always amazed at the amount of knowledge that Nurses have in order to nurse well. Elizabeth, being a nurse, can reel off masses of information about the human body and it’s treatment – just a huge amount of knowledge and skills. To think that these are the same people that make my bed for me and carry my pee bottles around just seems like the biggest paradox.

So I have the hugest admiration for these people who have taken on this profession. Often it is thankless, always it is underpaid, never is it a walk in the park. There are many other aspects of the health profession, but I have had the most to do with nurses. The things that I have found helpful really apply to most professions, and are based around caring for people in a personable way. Nurses are the main ones who make you feel like a valuable human again, when all the treatment you are receiving makes you feel like a science experiment.

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