Listening from a Nurse’s Perspective
Samantha Molinar Nunez BSN, RN
It takes a special person to be a nurse. We care for people who are going through some of the most difficult times in their lives. We are here to listen to concerns, complaints, compliments, and everything in between.
Our duty as nurses is to be advocates for our patients. We spend all day at the bedside and really get to know our patients. When they express to us that something just doesn’t feel right or that they have an impending sense of doom, more often than not, we listen to them. We listen not only with our ears but also with our eyes and our nurse instinct. All these ways of listening are how we save lives. We know when things are starting to turn for the worst and we act fast and appropriately to meet the needs of our patients. We listen to heart sounds, lung sounds, bowel sounds; we make sure the chest is rising symmetrically, as well as signs of labored breathing, monitor alarms, emergency medical alerts, and the list goes on. If we didn’t listen, we would not be considered the most trusted profession according to the American Hospital Association (2018).
Listening goes the extra mile in both serious and minor situations. I was once taking care of a patient who had many needs. This person required total parenteral nutrition known as “TPN” and was connected to an IV pump that they lugged around whenever they wanted to go for a walk or needed to go to the bathroom. They had multiple drains that needed to be emptied regularly as well as an ostomy bag that the patient themselves emptied. I had been taking care of this person for two nights and every night there were special specific requests they made as well as the nightly changing of the TPN tubing and bag. Now, if you are familiar with the hospital setting, TPN bags are about the size of an infant and weigh about the same as one. Every night this person requested Benadryl to help them sleep, ice chips, and other random items. On my third night, I gathered a basin with all of said person’s medications, ice chips, new socks, and anything I could think of that they could possibly ask for. Upon entering the room, this patient was shocked at how I remembered everything that they had asked for in the past two days and was touched that I listened and paid enough attention to do something like that. This patient was extremely grateful and said no other person would have done such thing.
As nurses, we help people heal through a holistic approach, meaning we take care of the mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes, it’s the attention to detail and the smaller aspects of patient care that make all the difference.
We are patient. We are kind. We are strong.
We are nurses.
(2018, January 10). In American Hospital Association. Retrieved from https://www.aha.org/news/insights-and-analysis/2018-01-10-nurse-watch-nurses-again-top-gallup-poll-trusted-professions