Patient Perception

During the past couple of days at work, I have come across both the sweetest and the rudest patients I have ever encountered. The patients were similar in many ways: they both were middle-aged Caucasian females admitted post-op for liver resection and were frequent flyers for chemotherapy. The only differences in these women were their support system and outlook on life. Although both were diagnosed with terminal illness, one had no visitors, an obvious addiction to her phone, and an extremely nasty attitude towards anyone who came her way. The other one- a self-proclaimed woman of faith with a love for meditation, had numerous family members and friends come to visit, and a constant smile that shone out through her eyes. (This, by the way, is in perfect alignment with my previous hypothesis of faith, love & meditation being the best way to improve all aspects of ones life and health, but that is for another day). My point is that I was the same nurse providing the same care to both patients, but their reaction to me and our organization in general were polar opposites. 

The next day, during inspirational Wednesday led by my wonderful charge nurse-turned-unit manager, we did a small activity with 2 groups describing glass bottles filled with pink liquid. It was almost funny how both groups described the identical objects with totally different descriptions and were reminded that absolutely everything around us is perception. Similarly, the way in which a person reacts to you is merely a reflection of their own self and life- their perception- and it rarely has anything to do with you. You can go above and beyond for a person and as long as you are doing your best, that is enough. Someone who is in peril, disabled and unable to live a life of peace and happiness, will find fault in absolutely anything and everything. Someone who is content and at peace with it all will barely notice a single fault in the exact same person or situation. 

My job, as a nurse and a human being, is to try my best to understand, lift spirits, and show compassion to each person I come across. As long as I know I am doing just that, my reality has been created and everything else is the perception of others and is not a reflection of me. This is one of the single most important lessons I have learned very well in my short time as a nurse, and is applicable to every aspect of my life. It is also worth mentioning that at the end of the two days, even the rude patient thanked me for my patience and said I was the best nurse she had ever had…moments like this never cease to amaze me and remind me of why I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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