I had an unusual experience soon after New Year. A dear friend had a family member admitted through A&E and later to a mental health unit.
It was a fraught time for my friend. Travelling during the night to reach the hospital took a toll on her delicate health and she too, needed treatment in A&E.
What was unusual? It was the resounding and emphatic positive experience my friend had in dealing with the staff in the two different units. Her experience was she said, an exceptional one. The kindness, constant support and communication with staff at every level when she was sick and the empathy and time taken to explain her daughter’s situation being assessed both physically and mentally for an acute mental health episode was exemplary.
My friend sadly has had a great deal of experience being called when her child has been found after going missing and taken into an acute assessment situation. Years of it. Coping with the fear and stress is she said one thing, being treated badly or ignored by staff is another. Negative experiences with staff is her norm.
However here in a regional hospital every person she dealt with during this trying 24 hours was kindness itself. No one ignored her, in fact they made a point of keeping her up to date with the long processes involved in assessing her daughter’s physical injuries and mental state.
After an exhausting day of having her own minor collapse treated while waiting with her child she was offered food regularly, given suggestions for finding accommodation and encouraged to rest while being welcome to phone for updates and information. Medical and nursing staff gave her cards with contact numbers to ensure direct contact.
After a nights rest and full recovery from her own stresses she returned to the hospital early the next day and was again treated with every consideration. The staff in the unit worked to coordinate a transfer to Brisbane where the patient was known in spite of the public holiday timing.
I admit being surprised that this transfer was effected given costs, distance, staff needed to achieve it. Yet it was all in place in a few hours. Liaison with the Brisbane health team had been ongoing and everything was put in place for an efficient and caring transfer.
Things are now settling and care is ongoing in a unit close to her family and the daughter is improving. Certainly she is benefiting from being in a place she knows. My friend, her mother is still singing the praises of Bundaberg Hospital staff.
How often do we hear such good evaluations? I find I am usually listening to tales of frustration and hurt from clients and families experiences. We all know that stressed and frightened people can have very unrealistic expectations and their anger and anxiety gets laid at the door of staff. This was a situation where fear, stress and exhaustion were in abundance. Staff addressed that overtly, they made real efforts to inform and support. It was very, very nice to hear such a sad situation being turned into one where medical and nursing staff have left a lasting impression of great skill and care.
There are some fabulous webinar recordings by Pam Savage regarding Nurses and the Law on theNurses for Nurses Network. The Nurses for Nurses Network provides good information and CPD on an array of nursing topics in a range of easy learning ways including webinars and quizzes on the latest information that Nurses need to know – remember the Nurses for Nurses Network was created by Australian Nurses for Nurses! www.nursesfornurses.com.au