Before leaving work I had a conversation with one of the staff, an experienced Registered Practical Nurse who is one of those ace performers. She is amazing in her care provider manner to residents and family, she engages in a positive, caring, and effective way with her team, and she exudes diligence. She is the evening charge RPN.
JA is a regular reader of Life of a Nurse and has found the topics on self-care relevant in these times leading away from the pandemic. When vignettes are shared by the clinical staff about the fear, uncertainty, stringent infection control practices, bone numbing fatigue, anguish over each death, and the wave upon wave of staff sick calls and the reality of returning to work after battling their own version of COVID-19 I am profoundly grateful.
One of these warriors on the team, is retiring this week, the day charge RPN, a proud and skilled nurse who has been at the facility for over 20 years. She knows the intricate details of each resident in her care (26 of them), she is savvy in knowing when to phone the doctor (likely to advise what’s needed), when to transfer to hospital, and how to be a gentle caring presence when life is ebbing and breathing grows laboured until the end.
Both of these ladies are from different cultures, yet they both define the competencies of full scope of practice, and as this writer will attest thank you BB for not retiring in the first month of my management tenure. Both RPNs have guided an acute care focused, paediatrics critical care to adult medicine, practitioner of the dark side management in learning the intricacies of long term care. These nurses are smart, empathetic, very organized, and both have a sense of humour and genuine laugh that add warmth and healing to the environment.
The art of nursing is to engage in interventions tailored to the patient/resident and to individualize the care to meet physical, mental, and spiritual needs. The science of nursing is to have a foundation of theory, protocols, policies, evidence to back decisions, experiential knowledge, and humanistic ways of knowing to constantly grow and reflect and deliver excellence. The gestalt of nursing is the intrinsic use of mindfulness, skill acquisition that encompasses the cognitive, emotions, and abilities i.e. ambidextrous depending on what side of a bed, examining table you may be standing at. The resilience to keep oneself in the mode of nursing in the face of anger, fear, pain, it’s not easy to stay focused and empathetic when screamed at, yet this is happening many times.
Nurses historically have not shared their stories readily, as the public can range from disbelievers, squeamish, shocked, dismayed, angel focused etc. Please note we’re not angels or angelic we’re the survivors of a rigorous education program, supported by preceptors and mentors, gained experience on a case by case basis, and receivers of feedback that can be positive to appallingly in the form of bullying. We are nurses who are self-regulated, we contribute to the rules and framework of our practice, professionals we have protected titles–we pay money, sweat, and emotional energy to use them. Our families don’t always understand our work, another nurse who is also a friend will always understand when you say “it was a bad day…..”
To my colleague BB thank you for your dedicated service and enjoy retirement, I still have work to do before I consider the path of retirement. To JA keep up the grand effort, step up, on, over, to further your voice as you provide exemplary nursing and strive for that balance of life and work.
How are you? Well all things considered it’s been a good day and as I settle in for the evening I jot down a to do list and then recall my it’s done list needs to be pondered for a minute or two. For the success of the day was capped when a resident in my office replied to her daughter about me ” ….don’t know her name, she’s the authority here” ah the privilege of influencing is definitely mine, and for operations yes I do have authority here. Namaste.
“To be ‘in charge’ is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that everyone else does so too; to see that no one either willfully or ignorantly thwarts or prevents such measures. It is neither to do everything yourself, nor to appoint a number of people to each duty, but to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed. This is the meaning which must be attached to the word by (above all) those ‘in charge’ of sick, whether of numbers or of individuals.” (Nightingale, Notes on Nursing, 2nd edition, 1860)
Registered Nurse Storyteller, Healer, Scribe, Transformational Leader