Love the Patient

Love the Patient

This is a continuation of a small talk I gave at a nurses’s residency training last week. For part one, click here.

After letting the nurses know that it was important to us for them to love the parents, I wanted talk about and share examples of is loving the patient. Oh sure, nurses know these things, even people who aren’t nurses can tell you that you are a better nurse if you care about the patients. But I mean really caring about them. And I will share an example of when I saw this in action.

When Dylan was in patient for surgery on her spine we noticed that every time she was out of her bed and in our arms her nurse would come and mess with her bedding. She was always turning, fluffing and changing things. Frequently she would comment about the new cute blanket she found to put on her bed and she would make things all nice and neat before she left.

After seeing her do all this fussing for a day or two I finally asked her about it. I told her no one messed with Dylan’s bed like she did and inquired as to what she was doing all these time. I was nice of course, just curious!

She told me that everyone likes to turn their pillow over to the fresh side and everyone LOVES clean sheets! So this is something that she always does for her patients that can’t do it for themselves. My heart burst. At only 9 months old, this nurse was treating my baby like she was a little person. She actually cared enough about this little stranger to care about making her feel the most comfortable she possible could in this setting. And it was as simple as flipping over and fluffing her pillow. Two seconds. I was sad to not see this nurse again when it came time for her day off.

I then told them they will meet all kinds of parents. They will meet parents who never leave the bedside of their child, not even to eat. Ultimately, what parent needs to feel is that if they were to leave their child, they have a nurse there that will love the child as much as they would if they were there.

An example of this is that it would break my heart to watch Dylan continuously get her blood drawn or go through any number of painful bedside procedures. I couldn’t bear her staring up at me wondering why I would let them hurt her. Yet at the same time I had mommy guilt creep in and make me feel guilty for not being there for her. If she had a great nurse that day, I knew I didn’t have to be there but Dylan would still be held and feel loved. It allowed me to come in at the tail end and seemingly “rescue” her.

Also finding good nurses to love Dylan at night helped us to be a better parent to our children at home.

Nursing is one of those jobs that you get out of it what you put into it. Almost every day you are exposed to miracles, people fighting the odds, and often, loss. You can see these people how you choose. It can be “just another job” or the job of someone who works miracles. Sometimes it might be easy to like the patient, and on other days, learning to love a patient might be the hardest part of your day. Loving the patient is a very important part of being a great nurse.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at

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