Do we treat “our own” with care above and beyond?
The answer is not often. We often think of patients who are nurses as either “good” or “bad”. We treat them with a level of mistrust and fear.
I bet you’re asking yourself how I know this to be true. Let me as you some questions.
Do you ever “pretend” that you’re not a nurse?
When we go into the hospital it’s often with reservations. Do we reveal what we do or not? We ask ourselves this because of several factors:
We know too much.
When we go into the hospital we are faced with the decision to unmask ourselves and reveal our profession. Either way it’s pretty much the same.
- If we come clean and tell people that we are in the biz then they will act differently. Often there is the expectation that we will be all “Judgey-McJudgerpants” critiquing practice and writing up secret reviews. Or they will or expect that you know everything and don’t need to be treated like someone who is ill, injured, or in pain.
- If we pretend and don’t tell the team who we are and where we work in healthcare and, then God forbid, they find out. The following question will be: “So, where do you work?” The query is often laced with suspicion. The translation is, “Why are you here? What do you know?”
- When you reveal you will have it marked in your chart, “Sally X is a nurse.” This is not a “good” thing.
“There are not many professions that are mentioned in the EMR. These are some that are specifically mentioned; Drug Dealer, Lawyer, Nurse, and Physician.”
We might work at the hospital where we are seeking care.
When this is the case:
Have you ever thought twice about going to the Emergency Department where you work?
Have these thoughts ever crossed your mind: Have I pissed anyone off? Will So-and-So be working? I don’t want them to see my nether regions. Will they look at me funny if it’s not life threatening? Am I wearing the “good” skivvies? Do I look sick enough? Remember don’t smile. Is that bad decision on my record? Who will see it? Should I tell them that I work here if I don’t recognize anyone?
Or have you thought, “Oh, I don’t want to be a bother. They are probably looking after some MVCs or other.” OR “Well, I can still walk. It’s not a problem.”
That was me. All of the above. The pain began to radiate down my left arm. I could ignore the chest pains because I kept telling myself that it was the kickboxing class that kickboxed my butt. Yet, I couldn’t ignore the back pain and the damn radiating.
I’m a nurse. I know better but I had reservations about going to the Emergency Department. My friend, who’s a teacher, had to tell me to go. In her words, “I’m not a nurse but that doesn’t sound good.”
Heck, I even got bounced by my doctor’s office.
Is it just our imagination? Where do those reservations come from?
It’s not fantasy. It’s true and the truth be told, we all know why we have them and where they come from. They originate from us, nurses and providers. Every nurse and provider have had those thoughts about patients. Including me.
They are uncharitable and judgmental thoughts that come back when we need care. It can even prevent us from seeking care when we desperately need it.
“When we judge others we hurt ourselves. If we think of others with charity and compassion then it will be returned to us.”
How can we change this? How can we change how we see each other?
When I was getting care a physician’s assistant said to me, “Oh, good. We are taking care of one of our own.”
“It is in those words, “taking care of one of our own” that we will change from hating to loving and caring for each other.”
Those words stuck with me. They put me at ease. I didn’t feel so stupid for being “weak” and needing medical care.
It changed the way I saw things. Each of the nurses demonstrated “taking care of our own” in the way that they kept me covered, talked about my care, and updated me.
We need to take care of “our own”. If we asked if someone worked where they sought care then we could treat them differently, in a good way. We could embrace each other and support each other. It would reduce fear and anxiety.
If I knew for sure that I would be treated as “our own” then I would not have hesitated or thought about the status of my skivvies (clean-by-the-way-yet-not-fancy).
When you begin to think an uncharitable thought…stop. Someday someone might think that about you.
When you begin to judge the person you’re caring about because they are a nurse or physician think about how you can “take care of your own”. Share that with your nurse or provider patient. It will start a partnership.
Together we are stronger.
SHOUT OUT to the nurses and providers who took care of me. You demonstrated how we should take care of our own. You are compassionate and caring. You are amazing.