Recently, I had a close family member go to the ER and end up in ICU. It was not Covid-19 but we still could not see the patient at all. It is mind boggling to just drop off a loved one with a life-threatening episode and once at the hospital we could not see him except via Facetime. My heart is breaking right now for the families that lose loved ones on those visits. If you have suffered that loss, please seek support. You can find grief counselors at www.betterhelp.com or www.psychologytoday.com Fortunately, my family member was released after a week. It was grueling, scary, frustrating, and psychologically devastating during that week.
I can not even fathom what it feels like for patients to face the uncertainty of tests, diagnosis, and procedures all alone. But this article is one of mad respect for the nurses. They have stepped up and stepped in. They were already maxed out prior to the COVID, no visitor policy. I am forever grateful for their kindness, compassion and caring.
They perform the medical part of their jobs and keep the doctors up to date on patients every vital sign, bowel movement and sneeze. In addition, they review and administer medications and explain everything to patients.
Wait…there is more. Now that the family is not on site to hear, see and help, the nurses must field hundreds of phone calls. I was stunned by their grace and patience when explaining the details to me. No one pays them more, they have no more time in their shift, they just do it. One nurse commented to me, “I wish all families were like yours and appointed one family representative to be in touch with us for medical updates, it would be so extremely helpful.” It made me stop and think of each patient having multiple family members calling and the nurses patiently repeating the same information and listening to all our good intentioned “internet research” suggestions.
According to www.Faststaff.com, 91% of nurses are female. Many are the head of households with children of their own. Male and female alike, they are all warriors. They risk their own personal health and safety as well as their families to care for our loved ones. It is unbelievable to me the job that they do.
My recent experience gave me mad respect for nurses. I hope it encourages you to thank a nurse or understand when they do not call right back because they are caring for patients. Here are a few tips to making any hospitalization more productive and pleasant for all.
- Assign one family representative to be in contact with doctors and nurses. Let that person field all family questions, information, and suggestions.
- Make sure the patient has a cell phone or iPad to use with a charger to ensure you can see them and join in when the doctor arrives for a visit if possible. If not, check with your local church, charity, or family / friends to borrow one.
- Keep a running list of questions from the patient and all your family so that you can be prepared and organized for visits and calls to get them answered all at once. It is difficult to remember every little thing.
- Request Chaplain services if they are available or Facetime with your religious leader if it will help your patient.
I do not profess to be an expert in the medical field, simply a devoted, loving, fierce family member that wanted to share my recent hospital experience. Hoping you do not have to ever know this firsthand, but nurses are superheroes. They have my mad respect and eternal gratitude for caring for my family member when I could not be there.