This is part two in a blog series from internist, Dr. Jeffrey Bui who spent a day at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center walking in our nurses’ shoes.
By 11 a.m. and four cups of coffee later, my feet were hurting from standing, walking and running all morning. I was relieved to find my next duties were to shadow a Charge Nurse because, I thought, “Wow, I finally get a break!” I have never been more wrong. As I followed the Charge Nurse, she began making rounds by checking on patients, as well as, her staff. We helped to change patient’s sheets and set up breakfast trays. In one instance, the Charge Nurse, the Certified Nursing Assistant and I assisted a patient to his chair and helped to set up his breakfast. This small, but powerful task empowered this gentleman who had been ill in his bed for weeks. In that simple act, I saw him smile for the first time. I know because I have been his primary care provider.
By lunch and six cups of coffee later, I was assigned to another incredible bedside nurse. As we were administering medications, we were assigned a new admission. Although this did not sound like a big deal, I soon realized that I did not know all that goes into admitting a new patient. Nurses carry a sizeable patient load and at times, go to pick up new admissions from other floors, meaning we had to leave our assigned floor. This translates into asking other nurses to cover our patients, while we are off the floor, putting more responsibilities on our nursing colleagues, in addition to their own patients. After receiving bedside endorsement and transferring our patient back to our floor, I witnessed a full nursing admission. Again, I was amazed at the detailed medical history that was taken, along with the physical exam. It was as thorough as my own history and physicals. At this point, I had to excuse myself to use the restroom. I had not had a single minute break to myself all morning.
After sneaking in another two cups of coffee, I had the pleasure of following a nurse who was precepting. This was very special to me as it reminded me of my own residency training. The precepting nurse was truly special in that she was confident, patient and taught by example. She demonstrated the utmost kindness, patience, dignity and respect with both the patients and her orientee. This experience left me with no doubt that the next generation of nurses are in good hands.
My experience shadowing our incredible nurses was very eye opening and I will be a better physician because of it. I now have a better idea of what happens when a nurse enters into a patient’s room. I have the utmost trust that my patients are well cared for. I realized now that nursing is not just a job; it is a calling. It means the patient in your care must be able to trust you. It means being up to date with best practices. It means caring for your patients with dignity, kindness, selflessness, compassion, and a really strong bladder.
I am thankful for the opportunity to shadow Shady Grove’s amazing nursing staff. I thank you for letting me walk in your shoes for a day. Each and everyone one of you are heroes. Each and every one of you are amazing people and do amazing things. On behalf of our patients, patient’s families and the physician staff, we thank you.