We’re celebrating National Nurses Week by dedicating our blog to those of us that have dedicated their lives to the sake and safety of their patients. As a bit of a thank-you for the countless nights lost to overnight shifts and 18-hour days, we’ve opened our blog to fellow RN’s looking to share their stories. Here’s what they had to say.
One Nurse Told Us An Emotional Story…
Decades ago I cared for a young man; a victim of a motor vehicle crash. He was unresponsive and many of us feared he'd be in a permanent vegetative state. During this time, I was in the midst of planning my wedding, so my patient spent many a bath times listening to both the ups and downs of planning alongside my mother. After most of his broken bones had healed, he was sent to a rehabilitation hospital. Every once and awhile, I found myself wondering how he was doing, but I never heard back from his family after he left for rehab. A few short months later, my wedding came and went. It had been six months since I last heard from him. I thought about telling him about my wedding—about how it all came together. My husband and I were planning to move up north within the coming weeks, and as a result, I was greeted at the hospital with a farewell party in the nurse’s lounge. A patient’s family was kind enough to bring in treats as a “thank you” for my service . When I asked my co-workers if they knew who the patient was, no one seemed to know. After a few hours, the party died down and I had stayed behind to help clean. Suddenly, I heard a familiar a male voice cry out from the corner of the room. “Is that Eileen? It's got to be her!” There he was. The now strong and healthy young man I had spent all those months caring for was right in front of my eyes—standing on two feet!
He told me he waited to thank me for some time. He even asked about how the wedding turned out! We spent some time sharing pictures and swapping stories. It was truly one of the most heartwarming experiences I have ever shared with a patient.
Another Told Us About Their Worst Day Off The Clock…
The worst day I’ve ever had in my entire life involved being called to come to the hospital on my day off. Once I got to the hospital, I sprinted down to the cardiac ward, avoiding eye contact as I passed dozens of my fellow RN’s from my unit on my day off. As I entered the room, I immediately notice my grandmother lying on the bed. I watched as her heart rate dripped on the monitor. I began to call my grandmother’s name with no response; I felt for a pulse, but felt nothing. I dashed out of the curtain where my mom was sitting and talking with family. Running out into the hallway, I called out for help. Back in the room, a family member was attempting to administer CPR. I yelled for her primary nurse once again, who was making her way into the room. Our eyes crossed paths briefly, but I had recognized the nurse from our time in orientation together. She had started with the hospital at the same time I did. I tried to imagine myself in her shoes: walking into a patient’s room and seeing a familiar face. Not having time to offer condolences or offer reassurance. My grandmother’s life was in the hands of someone I barely knew, but someone I felt I could relate to nonetheless. We were able to revive my grandmother, but I nearly had to force my mother to make a decision to announce her CODE status to the rest of the family. I felt for that nurse that day and I haven’t seen her since. This is—and forever will be—a moment that sticks with me for the rest of my life.
While One RN Had A Message To Share
Everyday thousands of American patients undergo surgery with an unknown pre-existing infection. Known infections are typically contraindicated in elective surgery. Yet 40% of adult patients have surgery with a silent bacterial infection.
What is the silent infection? It's gum disease. This infection increases inflammation in the body, which reduces the immune system and can increase the risk of post-operative infection. Dentists are well aware of the fact that periodontal disease is an infection but very few healthcare providers will look to treat it.
After 30 years of working in the operating room at a level I trauma center, I have witnessed both of my sisters on their literal deathbeds due to oral bacteria. I want others to know their story.
A few years ago I resigned from my position at the hospital, as I could no longer adequately serve my patients knowing of the dangers oral bacteria present. I believe that everyone should take responsibility for their well-being and not be afraid to ask questions before undergoing major medical procedures. I think it’s the responsibility of myself, and every Registered Nurse, to provide patients with transparency involving medical treatments and procedures.
Do you have a nurse in your life you’d like to thank? On behalf of the entire Magnatag team, join us in thanking every nurse for their commitment and dedication to keeping our communities healthy.