Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On nurses...

Of all the occupations that individuals might dedicate themselves to, I think nursing would have to be among the most noble of callings. I had, with one minor exception, a bevy of the very best assigned to me. At least two of whom had been trained at St.F-X in Antigonish, NS. Between them, they tended to my needs, keeping me comfortable, hydrated, healthy and hopeful. Far beyond simply changing my dressings and monitoring my vital signs, they provided direction and encouragement, as well as a much needed human interaction during this, my initial period of convalescence.

Louise, Lindsay, Heather, Ashley... all were superb examples of those who receive the call for this field of service to others. The last nurse I was assigned during my week's stay in the hospital, was the sole exception. She was a young French gal by the name of Mariève. It was obvious that she was enamoured with the position, but had little understanding of the job itself. She began her downward slide on my respect-o-meter, by criticizing the dressings performed on my wounds by one of her very competent colleagues. By the time she had replaced the dressings, I was properly horrified that she had no clue as to what she was doing. Nobody who knows how to actually dress a wound, will apply tape directly to bare skin. She would ignore her patients and their needs, preferring rather to socialize with her colleagues.

Her attitude towards patients was cavalier and apathetic. She demonstrated far more concern for the amount of materials expended on a patient, than she did for a patient's actual welfare. There may be a place for her somewhere as a hospital administrator, but the nursing field would be better served if she offered up her early retirement from their ranks. Like I said, she was happy if people thought of her as a nurse, she just didn't want to actually be one.

During my stay there, I always made it a point to thank every one of my nurses and orderlies. For whatever service or kindness they provided me with. I tried my best to make them understand that I appreciated what they were doing and was grateful that there were still people like them, who chose such careers.

We can always hear horror stories about poor medical care received by certain people. Then again, if you send 4 people to the same resort, at the same time, you will undoubtedly hear 4 different reports on the quality of the experience there as well. All I'm saying here is that given the reality of my situation (how comfortable could I realistically expect to be, considering the nature of my injuries), the constraints within which hospital staff must operate (nurse to patient ratio on the ward) and the quality of care I received, I have nothing to complain about and I'm ever so grateful that I live where I do.

Life is obviously very different as an out patient, but I'm dealing with that day by day. But my stay in the hospital? In one of Ottawa's most often reviled medical institutions? Wonderful!!

What more can I say?

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