Recently I have been working with a 95-year young woman as a Nurse Advocate. Initially, she was very sick, weak, and sad. Over time as her medical team worked to correct her problems and she has improved significantly. As a result, I am seeing another side of my patient as her personality emerges. I see her as a strong, independent woman who lives alone and is awake, alert, and oriented. She is aware she is frail and takes precautions to be safe. During this pandemic she is taking the necessary precautions to be safe.
Now that she is improving, we have pleasant conversations while going to doctors’ appointments. We also review what we want to know when we see the doctor. I am there as her nurse advocate, but most of the time as I sit there with her, I am proud of how she advocates for herself.
You may ask, why I am still involved now that she is doing so well? I am in place to be there to assist her and help her organize and coordinate her ongoing care, as at times she feels it is too much for her to handle. I also am in place to give her sons updates and keep them informed as issues arise. They rely on me as I am local and can mobilize quickly if somethings happens as they are both out of town. This gives them peace of mind.
I am realizing my role is more than the clinical skills I bring or the ability to coordinate complex care. I also bring the ‘little things’ that help a person feel safe and cared for.
I recently came across this message from author, Leo Buscaglia that I feel sums up my role: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which can turn a life around.”
Yes, I am there as a nurse, as an educator and as an advocate, but I am also in place to help my patients realize someone cares for them as a person.
If you are a member of the ‘caring professionals’, keep this saying with you to remind you that in addition to the important clinical work we do – it is also important to remember the little things.
Have a good week!
Well said, Anne. All too often the power of Advocacy is in the intangibles – especially the peace of mind that everyone feels when knowing that the patient is safe and well protected. As an Advocate, sometimes I feel I have the most to gain. I get a front row view of my elders and an opportunity for life-long learning! Keep up the good work.
I too am in favor, and do, advocacy.
There is no greater joy and accomplishment than knowing you are a healer for others, and that takes many forms… There are many needs that encompasses being human, and if we can understand ourselves better, we are a step closer to helping others with their struggles, and hopefully succeed in the process…
Thank you for the reminder, especially in these pandemic times, that high touch is as essential as high tech in caring for patients.
I was fortunate to have been able to advocate for my 97 year young mother and remind everyone to ask her what she wanted.
During COVID it was very hard to know her status and my fear of Failure To Thrive resulted in her death from Covid Pneumonia.
I recommend to all Patient Advocates that It is very important to have a good recent photo as a base line to humanize someone in a hospital. No one understood that a few weeks prior, she could still answer Jeopardy questions, ambulate to the bathroom and enjoy a good discussion.
Respect and Dignity give quality to life, age is not relevant.
Karen glad you were there for her.
Yes and Amen!
I had a similar assignment – working with the elderly parents of a professional man who had had to relocate some 8 hours distant from his dependent parents.
At the time I entered their lives, Parents were already long-term residents in an assisted living facility and Dad was beginning to show signs of dementia. Son desired an advocate to act as his eyes and ears as he controlled the situation from afar. What a unique privilege supporting, guiding this family for several years, until both parents had succumbed to their individual diseases.