Just What the Doctor Ordered: Nurses Show Respect And Empathy

Each day, nurses face challenges. They’re trained to assist physicians and care for patients, but what’s not in their job description is an unwavering compassion for the people under their supervision. Some nurses simply go above and beyond what’s expected of them with their true kindness.

Last fall, I endured my first surgical experience. I was scared, but my expectations mirrored what I’d seen in the movies: I thought I’d happily check in to the medical facility, meet my doctor, get prepped, say goodbye to my family, and be wheeled down a long hallway. Later, I’d wake up comfortable and surrounded by familiar faces.

That didn’t happen.

My procedure was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Morning adrenaline and nerves replaced any desire to eat, as I wasn’t allowed any food after bedtime the night before. I was, however, instructed to drink a glucose shake at 10:00 a.m. to combat my chronically low blood sugar levels, a side effect of being hypoglycemic.

Unexpected Complications

At noon, I was off to my first of two medical stops. I had an appointment at the local breast care center to have a guide wire inserted for the surgeon to follow while he removed a deep tumor. Afterward, the doctor requested a mammogram image of the wire placement for the surgeon. As I was led to the mammogram machine, a familiar sensation took over my body.

My vision blurred, and my hearing muffled. I slurred the words, “I feel dizzy.” My blood sugar had plummeted, and I knew I was about to faint. It’s happened before, so I’m able to recognize the symptoms and ask for help.

I only remember bits and pieces of the next several hours. Multiple nurses guided me to a chair, held cool compresses on my forehead, and layered warm blankets around my shoulders. At a time when I was scared and confused, I felt comforted. The focus was no longer about staying on schedule; it was about making sure I was safe.

A Reassuring Voice

Every few minutes, a kind voice asked how I was feeling and reassured me I’d be OK. The nursing staff at the breast care center even packed my belongings for me and made sure they were given to family members, because my cognitive skills were fading in and out.

I remember a team of nurses helping me out to my car in a wheelchair so I could head to the surgery center. When I was waking up in the recovery area, I was surprised to learn it was early evening. Apparently my low blood sugar episode lasted several hours, and I was late for surgery.

In a world of overscheduled days and quantity over quality, I truly appreciated what the nursing staff at the breast care center did for me while I was helpless. Sure, they monitored my vital signs and did all the things expected of nurses, but they also went above and beyond, treating me with respect and empathy.

Image source: Flickr