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!