This is a guest post by Indianapolis accelerated nursing student Christian Sua.
He looked fearful, panicked even. His eyes glazed over with apprehension as he looked to me for comfort. I had an idea of what he was going through, having been a patient on an ambulance before. I also knew that first and foremost, I had to make my patient as comfortable and assured as possible in all capacities. Nothing foreseeable was wrong with the patient, a former combat medic. It was simply a transport, but he seemed convinced these were his last few moments on Earth with a stranger watching over him.
The entire transport went smoothly. I chatted away with him to keep him calm, and he thanked us profusely for a “job well done.” I did not think about it until two weeks later when I saw him at a restaurant. He greeted me and we spoke for a few moments before I sat down with my date. On his way out he came by and made a statement that I repeat internally every time I need motivation.
“You have a gift. What you are doing is phenomenal. Don’t ever stop what you’re doing. You have a certain air about you that made me trust you. Not everyone has that.”
As he walked away, I took a moment to reflect on what he said as I idly made small talk with my date. At the end of my meal, I was surprised to find he insisted the manager give me his veterans’ discount for the meal, and that he’d paid for all of it. I walked away from that night with his words etched into my brain.
What made him so grateful he wanted to buy my dinner? I had transported and treated hundreds of patients before and did not treat him any differently. I did what I had to do to the best of my abilities, made him comfortable, reassured him and gave him oxygen when he said he was a bit short on breath. I knew halfway through my undergraduate career at Purdue University that I needed to be in a health profession. My career as an EMT made me realize what aspect of healthcare makes me tick and where I could contribute the most: the patients.
Every time I would clock into work, it would make me feel like I had the best weekend of my life ahead of me. Not because of the pay, shiny lights and sirens, or even my co-workers. It was knowing that I would be interacting with people with the sole intention to show and give them the best care possible. I want to be able to spend time with patients and show them that healthcare is more than simply curing symptoms and diagnostic tests.
Nursing is caring. It is looking at more than physiology and curative procedures. It is not just palliative application to their mental well being. Too often I feel like patients are left clueless and afraid about the true nature of a surgery, illness or treatment. They need an ambassador that comprehends the patient, the necessity, rationality and ideology of treatment and the importance that the patient understand those aforementioned qualities. That to me resonated perfectly with nursing.
Holistic care is grossly under-appreciated in healthcare today. In an ideal world all providers would view each patient as someone’s grandparent, parent, sibling, significant other or friend. How would you feel if your family member was on that hospital bed instead? Would you not want the best care possible?
Every past interaction I have had with nurses has inspired me. I have had multiple shoulder surgeries and for each one, nurses prepared me for surgery and were there when I woke up. It was my pleasure to have transferred care of my patients to some of the sharpest, readily capable and personable nurses that can comfort a trauma patient while preparing them for a flight to another hospital. Most of all, I am inspired by all the work and responsibility nurses are given in any setting. Nurses are the compassionate wheels. They are a necessary component of any functional hospital. They are the care givers that glue the hospital together.
I want to be a nurse because I see so much potential to contribute to someone’s day. Whether that be with a good attitude or by providing the best care I can, I know I will do my absolute best for all my patients. I owe it to them. They certainly did not choose me as their nurse. However, I am choosing to become a nurse and as such, I cannot afford to do them any disservice by providing mediocre care. I study so I can one day alleviate someone’s pain and give them the same care I would provide a family member or loved one – the best and only the best. Would you not want the same treatment for yourself?