I’ve been thinking about caring and what it means.
As a nurse what does caring mean and as a patient what does it mean.? I think back at the times I have been a patient and about the nurses I liked and felt safe with. I liked nurses that had an air of competence about them, that were on top of when observations and medications were due, that conveyed their plans for the shift to me. At St Andrews hospital in Brisbane they have a board in your room, where they write the days plans on it so you are aware of what is planned for the day. I loved this idea. I also liked nurses that were bright and friendly and anticipated some of my needs such as pain relief and so on.
I like to think I was one of these nurses when I was caring for patients. I have mainly worked in Intensive Care so my patients were nearly always unconscious, most of the interaction I had with them was involving their families. I always tried to support the families as best I could with honest and kind support.
I don’t think it always worked, I remember one particular patient’s mother who took a distinct dislike to me and that continued throughout the patient’s tragic stay. So what makes a caring nurse? Why do some patients and families like you and some don’t? Is the actual “caring” side of nursing being devalued by the constant demands of the business side of hospital care? We are probably luckier in Australia than many other countries as we still have a universal health care and it’s not totally business focused ( some would argue this point )
Is there incentive for nurses to provide caring behaviours? What is that incentive? Is this the altruistic part of our profession, we want to be caring from within ourselves. It’s very hard to quantify and very hard to rationalise.
It is becoming a source of professional anxiety this chasm between the inherent caring nature of our profession and the whittling away of nursing time by the bureaucrats. Caring is something that we all have thoughts about, we probably all differ in what we think about caring, how we portray it and what it means to us when we are patients , as nurses it’s something we have to work hard at protecting.
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