While you are asleep, someone else is working.
While your life is exciting, someone else’s life is dead boring.
While you can’t sleep cause it’s your big day tomorrow, someone is awake because tomorrow, his soul is required of him.
Working night shifts has allowed me to see life in its fullness. What is night, what is day, to a shift worker, it’s almost the same. You work, I sleep. You sleep, I work. You have your social life after 5pm, I may get mine at 8am. But we are all progressing in life.
Just a week ago, 4 hours after taking over a seemingly peaceful night shift, the code blue alarm went off. Someone life’s in peril. Will the person make it? My own patient’s BP (Blood Pressure), on A.N.D. (Allow Natural Death), was showing a declining trend. Can he make it tonight? On the other side, a patient’s condition is improving, tomorrow we will try to give him soft diet (porridge, etc). I think he will discharge within this week. On the bed beside him, another person just came in with similar procedure, asking “When will I be able to eat and be discharged?”
These scenarios are not new to me, after these few months of nursing. After a while, all can seem so normal to me or even to the physician. It’s played out week in and week out…It can be very easy for me to just follow through the motion.
So for my patient who was deteriorating, I ranged up the physician, and in view of the declining blood pressure, we want to give him more fluids to sustain the blood pressure, because this is a protocol even though he is not for resuscitation. My senior and I were concerned with the amount of fluids, but we still went ahead with the doctor’s orders over the phone.
Then, I realised that the patient had been coughing non-stop. After I took a look in his oral cavity, I realised that there were huge amounts of blood-stained phlegm. Though I had some other important stuff to do, I decided to do help him relieve the discomfort with a dozen soft disposable brushes right at that moment. That night, his wife stayed with him throughout. I continued with the other routines of the night and when the sun was up, I realised that it was almost time for me to go back home…At 9am, I finally slept.
Unfortunately, Mr X passed away that afternoon while I was sleeping back at home.
That particular act of service to provide some comfort was actually my last for him. On hindsight, I was privileged to be able to do the little things to make him feel more comfortable. I could have acted reluctantly, because about 2weeks ago, he was particularly rude towards me as I caused some unintentional pain on him while taking his blood glucose. But, thank God, empathy had changed the course of my actions. Of course, as with all nurses, I wished I could have done more if I knew that night was his last…but one thing is sure, I had no regrets knowing that I had went the extra mile in my capacity to provide more comfort…more privacy for the husband and wife to communicate in the final moments and coordinating the extra communication between the medical team, the wife, the son and the patient.
Oh how I wished everyone could have more of that!
If only we could all err a little on the kind side. Some people just have a more needs than others. Some need more attention. Some need more help…
This attitude is not just for patients.
This is for your co-workers- your teammates whom you need their help to achieve big things.
This is for your subordinates – your workers whom you depend on to get things done.
This is for your preceptees – your trainees whom you will need when they flourish after your guidance.
This is for your friends- your companions whom will you will need their empathy at some point of your life as well.
Will you be the one that shows kindness to others first?
I want to be that person.