Bold Voices - June 2018 - 22

FIRST PERSON

Appreciating
the Little
Things
By Saji Joseph

I

have been a nurse for 30 years. Over the years, there have
been many times when I felt my patients' and their families' emotions as my own.
I have worked in the CT department for the last few
years, so I am able to see some patients repeatedly.
Providers send their patients to CT to rule out or confirm any
suspected diagnoses or to follow up on an existing problem.
Many patients in the CT department get nervous thinking
about the outcome of their scans and are not good at hiding
their emotions.
As a nurse, I need to understand and take care of their
emotional and physical needs. I have seen many patients feel
at ease when I talk to them and encourage them to verbalize
their feelings. Simply letting patients know you are there for
them and that you understand what they are going through
relaxes them. A patient I was able to connect with is one I will
call Mary.
Mary came for a CT scan with iodine contrast. Before establishing her IV for the contrast, I noticed she seemed nervous
and very seldom made eye contact. She had a mediport, which
has been approved for the safe use of intravenous contrast. It
was small and tilted sideways, which made it hard to access
her port.
Mary was a nurse and understood that accessing her port
could be difficult. However, I made her happy when I successfully accessed her port the first time. She said many nurses had
a difficult time accessing it. Mary was scheduled for CT scans
almost every three months. She requested that I access her port
whenever she came. I could see her attitude changed instantly.
I was able to provide her with what she needed to feel cared for,
so she appeared calmer. I noticed a peace within her.
Mary came for her follow-up CT three months later. When
she saw me, Mary got out of her chair and hugged me. She told
me she was afraid to have her port accessed if I was not there. I
noticed there was still something bothering her - perhaps she
had received a poor prognosis.
I held her hands and stood in silence. Tears started rolling
down her cheeks. She told me she had lost her job. She had
been struggling to keep up with her career demands as she
worked through chemotherapy. I was in shock and didn't know
how to respond. She said her job provided medical insurance
and was the main source of her family's income. With two

22 JUNE 2018 | AACN BOLD VOICES

teenagers in high school, her husband's salary could hardly
make ends meet. Mary said she was hoping for a cancer-free
CT result, so that she could find another job and support her
family again. I held back my tears. I gave her a hug as she was
leaving.
I realized Mary had established trust in me - not only as a
person who could access her port, but also someone she could
share her concerns about her cancer progress, her work situation and her family with.
I often think about her. She is just an example of many
people who go through similar situations. Not everyone likes
to share their problems with others, especially with strangers.
As nurses, the least we can do for our patients is to show our
support and establish a trusting relationship. A kind word
and a smile can bring a little light to their lives. As nurses, our
patients' pain and struggles are also ours. Understanding what
our patients go through helps us to make sure we find joy in
simple things.
Sometimes our work can be taxing, but knowing we can
make our sick patients' lives better makes it all worth it. d
Saji Joseph is a clinical nurse at Tampa General Hospital in
Tampa, Florida.
Do you have a First Person account you would like considered for
AACN Bold Voices? Send it to aacnboldvoices@aacn.org.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bold Voices - June 2018

Urine
The Power of Possibility
Sepsis: What Nurses Can Do
New Sepsis Bundle From Surviving Sepsis Campaign
Understanding CERPs for Specialty Certification Renewal
In Our Journals
Transitions
America’s ‘Other’ Drug Problem Needs Attention
Effect of Haloperidol on Reducing Mortality
Transitional Care Nurses Can Reduce Admissions of Older Patients
ASHP Developing Standardized Medication Concentrations
Online AACN Course on Care of Older Adults
Hospital Programs Help Employees Cope With Traumatic Events
National Summit on Identification, Prevention and Management of Burnout
Barbershops Help Black Patrons Control Hypertension
Nurse Treats Himself for Myocardial Infarction Using Telehealth
We Have Consensus: TeleICU Continues to Evolve
Cooking Classes Help Patients With CHF
Beware of Chicken Nuggets — and Other Ultra-Processed Foods
Apple Watch Might Randomly Reboot in ICUs
Wound-Monitoring App Helps Reduce Hospital Readmissions
All Antidepressants Beat Placebo for Acute Major Depressive Disorder
Patients’ Online Search Trends
‘Timeout’ Reduces Medication Errors
Possible Link Between High Fitness and Reduced Risk of Dementia
DAISY Award Honors Nurses Who Exemplify Exceptional Compassion and Skill
Interviews With Two Acute Care Nurse Practitioners
Hiring for Cultural Fit
AACN Unveils Updated Online Pharmacology Course
Appreciating the Little Things
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Cover1
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Cover2
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Urine
Bold Voices - June 2018 - The Power of Possibility
Bold Voices - June 2018 - New Sepsis Bundle From Surviving Sepsis Campaign
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Understanding CERPs for Specialty Certification Renewal
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Transitions
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Effect of Haloperidol on Reducing Mortality
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Online AACN Course on Care of Older Adults
Bold Voices - June 2018 - National Summit on Identification, Prevention and Management of Burnout
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Nurse Treats Himself for Myocardial Infarction Using Telehealth
Bold Voices - June 2018 - We Have Consensus: TeleICU Continues to Evolve
Bold Voices - June 2018 - 13
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Beware of Chicken Nuggets — and Other Ultra-Processed Foods
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Wound-Monitoring App Helps Reduce Hospital Readmissions
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Patients’ Online Search Trends
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Possible Link Between High Fitness and Reduced Risk of Dementia
Bold Voices - June 2018 - DAISY Award Honors Nurses Who Exemplify Exceptional Compassion and Skill
Bold Voices - June 2018 - 19
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Hiring for Cultural Fit
Bold Voices - June 2018 - AACN Unveils Updated Online Pharmacology Course
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Appreciating the Little Things
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Cover3
Bold Voices - June 2018 - Cover4
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