Nurse Fills Patients Fridge With More Than Just Food.

Nurse Empathy

Amanda Mary Perez a nurse care aid was doing a routine visit on a home care client. As she was helping this gentleman, he asked Amanda to clean out his fridge.  However, when she opened the fridge she soon discovered it was empty.

nurse finds fridge empty
Facebook – Amanda

Concerned, Amanda asked her client, “who buys the food?”

“I buy food when I have the money” he replied.

Like it would be for many of us, this moved Amanda to tears and made her take stock of her wants and needs.

“Someone once told me, it doesn’t matter what you have now because as a human you’ll always have the mindset that it’s not enough and you need or want more. Lately, I have been so upset because I wanted the materials in life. New Car, House, more clothes, and shoes, etc.” Amanda says on her Facebook.

 

Nurse Shops for patient
Facebook – Amanda

Realizing, “my needs are wants, and his wants are needs” Amanda drove to the store and used her income tax money to stock his fridge with food.

Nurse Full Fridge
Facebook – Amanda

 

We cross many paths on our journey as a nurse, and it is easy to fall into a sense callousness without seeing the warning signs. One day we are distraught at a patient’s situation, the next day indifferent.

How does this happen?

Our natural response to pain is guarding. If we touch a hot stove, we jerk our hand back. If we touch a painful situation, we step back and distance ourselves.

Now I want to make a point here. As Nurses, we MUST learn to disconnect from the situation from time to time. It does the gunshot victim no good for us to be in tears in the corner of the room while they are bleeding out.

I remember when my son was just learning to crawl and he took a bite out of a piece of bread. I didn’t realize he had it in his mouth when I laid him on his back and started to change his diaper. But as soon as I looked at his face I knew something was wrong. I immediately turn him over and swatted his back and out came a nice lump of dough.

At the time it was acting and react. But as soon as it was out, my heart sank into my stomach, and I started shaking. I began asking what no parent ever wants to imagine… What if it hadn’t come out or I hadn’t noticed?

The point is, you must have an emotional distance to perform your job. However, you also must care.  Many will disagree with me here. In fact I have had discussions with others about emotion in the workplace. Some think emotions only get in the way and have no place. I think emotions are what drives us to do better. I believe we must connect with our patients and empathize to provide the holistic care we are all called to.

One of the basic building blocks of ethics and ethical conduct toward others is empathy. Without empathy it is difficult for any of us to understand the needs and wants of others so that we may know how to treat them kindly and generously, or to practice any other virtue in our day-to-day relations with them. – Nursing World.org

So how do we find that spark?

Put yourself in your patient’s shoes.

None of us want to imagine losing a child, a spouse, a sibling, or a parent. But, take a minute and picture not being at your spouse’s side after 63 years of marriage. I tell you, I would be a miserable, grouchy, mean old man if that were me.

One of the basic building blocks of ethics and ethical conduct toward others is empathy. Without empathy it is difficult for any of us to understand the needs and wants of others so that we may know how to treat them kindly and generously, or to practice any other virtue in our day-to-day relations with them. – Nursing World.org

One of the deepest felt loss was when a patient I was caring for passed. This particular gentleman lost his wife his son and his sister within the past year and was mean on life. Seriously, this guy insulted with the best of them. I was called every name in the book by this guy. Everyone he met left fuming at the ears. But, I remember when he passed it hit me hard. I thought I can’t imagine the life he has led and all the loss he has had.

Spend time with your patient.

The most comprehensive feature of the nurses’ collective understanding of caring was their recognition and acknowledgment of the person behind the patient, i.e. person-centredness. – BioMed Central

When getting into management roles our face time with patients decrease. However, on the floor, we often become, so task-oriented we lose the personal connection. I think it is hugely impactful to take a minute to just to hold a patient’s hand, walk them down the hall, or even sit and have lunch with them. It is amazing what a few minutes of undirected time can provide. I understand we by no means can do it with every patient as our staff ratios are through the roof. But I challenge you in whatever field of nursing to take a minute just to spend time with a patient.

Attend a patient support group.

I think every nurse at some point in their career should attend a support group. There are many patient support groups out there. I was forced to lead one, one afternoon and it changed my career. The person who was supposed to be hosting it had an emergency, and I was called in to host. I had no idea what I was doing and spent most of the time just listening. I think that’s when what it means to be a nurse truly hit home. I listened to the patients and families as they went around the table talking about how scared they were, and alone they felt but how this nurse or that nurse helped them through it. I left that day knowing I was doing exactly what I should be doing.

It is easy in our careers to become cold and calloused. But strength doesn’t come from an emotional distance, strength comes from connecting and loving your patient. It comes from putting yourself in their shoes like Amanda did and spending time with your patient. So, a big thank you to Amanda for selflessly serving another and to the millions of nurses out there that go above and beyond out of love and sacrifice.

If you would like to check out the original article by Ann-Sophie Kaemmerle, you can find it at The Little Things.

Please Comment below and share a time you have experienced a nurse going above and beyond.

 

 

Author: Derek Di Camillo

I have been a nurse since 2010 and come from a variety of fields. CPR Instructor, Customer Service, IT/Technology to name a few. Through my travels I have learned many lessons that have prepared me for leadership roles in the Assisted Living industry. I am constantly seeking to better myself and share what I have learned and am learning along the way.