Friday, November 17, 2017

Adventures in Nursing #4: The Moment That Changed Me

Next to being a book blogger and a fanatic reader I work fulltime as a Nurse in an Academic Hospital in the Netherlands. Since being a nurse is such a big part of my life I decided it’s time to share some of my adventures in nursing here on my blog.

Sometimes working as nurse can be very hard. And I’ve had several moments where I wondered for who I was doing it all for. When I was yelled at, puked over, pied on. It’s just something that comes with working as a nurse. We all go through it.
A view months ago something happened to me that almost made me want to quit nursing all together. Scary really. That moment changed me. And still, months later I am not the same person I was before.

I was working the nightshift. Something that I didn’t mind at all. In the weekends we used to stand with two nurses on 34 patients max. It’s a busy shift, and sometimes it’s not a big deal because most of your patients sleep. But most times it’s really hard work because people tend to be awake a lot. When I started this particular nightshift one of my patients, a man I also took care of the night before, was standing in the middle of the hallway.  This was not supposed to be possible. He had several IV’s, and he hadn’t been out of bed since his accident. Well, now he had no lines and had this wild look in his eyes. 

My patient was very angry, convinced that we were there to hurt him and he didn’t want to listen. Thankfully my colleagues of the evening shift were still there and they tried to help me get the man in his bed. Unfortunately he was very strong and tall, and he didn’t believe us for one moment. When he kicked me, my colleagues immediately took hold of him and put him down in a chair. We already called some guards and they were helping us keep him calm. And for a while it seemed to work. My colleagues from the evening shift went home, and me, my nightshift colleague and two guards stayed with this patient while we waited on a doctor. 

The man was extremely aggressive and in the end I also got hit, got urine thrown in my face and I was told he would murder me several times. In the meanwhile other patients were awake too of course and I tried to keep them calm and happy while I waited on more doctors and the patient’s wife.
Well.. he didn’t recognize his wife and he didn’t believe he was in the hospital.

After four very long hours we were able to help the patient get back to sleep. And when he woke up he couldn’t remember a thing of what happened. He felt scared, because he found himself in another room with a lot of broken stuff surrounding him and he had a lot of pain because we weren’t able to give him a lot of painkillers since we couldn’t come close to him.
At the end of my shift I tried to console my patient. But the truth was I was scared out of my mind for the man. As a professional I know that he doesn’t remember a thing, and didn’t mean to hurt me. But as a human being I felt terrible, scared, violated and angry. I became a nurse because I wanted to help people. And when I did just that I was hurt. 

Now, months later I’m doing much better. I’m doing my job as a nurse, and I enjoy it most of the time. I’ve worked some nightshifts and I’ve talked with my husband, coworkers and boss about this memorable shift. People don’t always seem to understand what this night did with me. But I understand now that I can’t expect them too. I have witnessed violence in my past before. And that’s why this situation was probably harder to me than for others. Angry people have always scared me. And this situation just made that a little worse. 

I’m still not back to being the nurse I was before this happened, and maybe I will never be. But I can see now that this situation was not because of me. It was not my fault. My patient didn’t mean to hurt me. He was just sick and needed help.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to become a nurse.. It has been my dream.. and I will find my way back. 

Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer.
These views are based on my own experiences and my own interpretations in my life as a nurse. 

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