Just Another Day At Work

Sarah Hite, RN, BSN, Clinical Nurse Educator at Kosciusko Community Hospital, Just Another Day At Work

The following is a personal account shared by Sarah Hite, RN, BSN, Clinical Nurse Educator at Kosciusko Community Hospital:

“It is no secret we are upon very busy and stressful times here at the hospital. During such times as this we struggle with energy, positivity, and even compassion. If this is you know you are not alone and this is a very normal response to stress. Healthcare is not an easy profession but we choose it because we want to make a difference and help patients in what could be the most vulnerable time of their life. If you are one of the many struggling with work stress on top of other stresses you may have, I just want to share a story/conversation with you I just had with a patient.

First off this story is not only about my interaction with the patient, it goes beyond that.

It is Saturday morning and I get a call asking if I would be able to help with some hours Saturday night. I agree to work 0100-0700, not my favorite hours to work but that is what I could work out. Around 9pm I decide to lay down set my alarm for 1145pm, knowing I will hit snooze a few times! I get up and around and head to work in the middle of the night. I get to work and get report from a very tired nurse whom has also been putting in many hours to help the unit. During report on one of our patients we notice that the patient is in atrial fibrillation, the patient had been in normal sinus rhythm up to this point. We finish up report and I go to see the patient. I ask all the famous questions—how do you feel? Have you ever had or been told you have atrial fibrillation (afib)? I get an EKG to confirm the change in rhythm. I check a set of vital signs and review his current medication list. I call the doctor and get an order for a Cardizem drip. Pretty simple nursing procedure. However here is what makes this story great…

This was not a new scenario for me as a nurse, I have hung Cardizem hundreds of times on patients that went into afib with RVR. However this was new for this patient, he had no idea of this condition and what it meant for him. Here we are in the middle of the night, no family at bedside, and I am telling the patient “you are in an abnormal heart rhythm, it will be ok though I am going to hang some medication and it will be fine”. Now I didn’t exactly go in and say it like that, I did explain in more detail what was going on but when I left the room I hear the patient say— “Hey Google, what is a-fib?” I am not surprised by this as many patients Google everything...because Google knows all!?! As his nurse this worried me because yes afib can cause serious complications, I did not want him getting the wrong information which can cause unnecessary worry. I went to Micromedex, which is an accredited source to obtain information and printed out some education sheets on afib and about Cardizem, since this was a new medication he was receiving. I brought them in and we went over them, he asked several questions and thanked me for taking the time to explain to him, he said “I think I can rest now.” I checked on him frequently throughout the night, getting BPs and reassuring him that things were ok. We even joked because he knew I was watching him as he sleeps…I was watching his teley monitor of course…Also during this time doing multiple other tasks I had for my other patients.

Upon coming back to work today I noticed he was still here so I stopped to see him, as I was curious on how he was doing. I always get a little nervous because today I am not in scrubs and when I took care of him it was the middle of night, so I wasn’t sure he would remember me. But when I walked in and I quote he said “I do remember you, you were my guardian angel.” He had a family member there and he said “this is the nurse I was telling you about!” Apparently I was even talked about in their family chat group! He said I will never forget you! In my mind I am thinking, wow I really didn’t do anything special to deserve so much praise. WHAT AN AWESOME FEELING THOUGH! Really turned my day around as my Monday didn’t start all that well prior to that. Now what I really want to share from this story is the conversation after that.

As he stated, “I will never forget you”, he also stated:

‘I will never forget this stay and this hospital”. This has been the best care I have ever received.” His wife was at bedside and both stated, “there is not one person in this hospital that I do not want to thank for being so kind”. Everyone and I mean everyone, has done their job with a smile on their face, no one has ever left the room without asking what else can I do for you, even housekeeping asks can I do anything for you before I leave. This is a five star hospital and you guys do live up to providing exceptional care, as it states on that board. I know if I would have went somewhere else I would have not gotten this kind of care, this hospital is a blessing.’

I wanted to share this with everyone because I got the pleasure of hearing this and the feeling of gratitude from the patient. It goes way beyond the care I provided, it came from everyone that has cared for him.

REMEMBER: You don’t always know when you make a difference in someone’s life and that is ok, but please remember you do hold that power each and every day and even though some things may just feel like “a task on care organizer” to you, it means something totally different to the patient!

Sarah Hite RN BSN