It’s Not About You, It’s About the Patient

Stethoscope and a silhouette of the heart and ECG. 3d

Do people realize that if you offer help to others, there is less stress for everyone?

I work in the healthcare field, now as a nurse. I tell everyone, PLEASE, do not get into nursing for the pay because it’s a highly stressful job (or can be)-not to mention you’re dealing with people’s lives. It’s not a production line at a factory.

My personality is that I have to help. I am not one to sit down and stare at my smartphone while someone else is running around. I’m not one to chat on the phone while people are admitting someone or discharging someone. I get up and ask everyone “do you need help?” Most of the time people say “no”. But I think it’s important to lend a hand. I think the stress level overall, would decrease if everyone took part in that. Not just for the stress level. Not just to keep you from being bored. Not just to help that other nurse or tech. But for the patient.

If someone is in pain, why should the patient have to wait until their nurse is ready to help them? If I’m available? Or someone else?

I suppose it stems from a situation when I was in the hospital as a child. I had a bone graft taken from my hip. This was the night after the surgery (as in less than 24 hours). So it was tender and painful. I was young. It was in the middle of the night. I called for the nurse and my bed positioned where I could see the nurse’s station. I rang and someone answered (now looking back I believe that someone was a unit clerk). They said “someone will be down shortly”.

Okay, not a big deal. I’ll wait. But I waited and waited…and waited. When time went by (granted it could have only been 5 minutes) no one came. When I saw a 2nd person at the nurse’s station. I rang again. I told them, like the first time that I had to use the bathroom. The person on the other end repeated what they did the last time.

So I sat there, and waited. In the middle of the night. It was quiet. I was thinking about peeing. No one came. I decided to take it upon myself. I rolled over to roll off the bed, sat up. It was painful. Hopped on my good leg, hopped to the head of the bed to unplug the IV pole. Used the IV pole as a brace and hobbled to the bathroom. Whew! I made it.

When I was finished, I hobbled back. I did not even bother to plug in the IV pool. As I picked up my legs, carefully on the surgical side. Went to pull up the blankets, someone came in and asked what I was doing? “I just came back from the bathroom, I had to pee.”

She said something to the effect of “why didn’t you wait?”

My going to the bathroom, is minor at a young age. Now that I’m older and think of my patients. An older lady that has had kids, thus a weak bladder-having to use the bathroom. Or an older gentleman where we gave Golytely to prep them for a Colonoscopy, needing to have an explosion. What about the middle aged man, that cam in with chest pain…calling because he’s having that experience again? Or someone with COPD who feels like they cannot breathe, and gasping for air? I just think of myself as those people-what it would feel like to be them. Then realizing that there probably someone else that could have helped them.

Yup, virtually every hospital that I have worked it. As a policy for workers NOT to say “That’s not my patient.” But I notice a lot of workers (everywhere) have that mentality. I just tell my co-workers, what if that was your loved one? Would you want them waiting?

I am not a charge nurse. I left my permanent job because I didn’t want to be charge nurse. I didn’t want the added stress of people coming to you with problems, or trying to make everyone happy with their assignment, etc. But when I offer help to my co-workers, I often hear “are you charge today?”. I say no and follow up with why? “Oh, because your asking people if they need anything?”

Again, what if it was YOU or your loved one waiting to be assisted? Waiting for pain medication? If you have time, and your caught up? Why not help someone else? It’s not a big deal and who cares if they don’t do the same. Remember it’s not about you, it is about the patient.

Link to my GoFundMe site for my medical mission trip Jan 10-March, 2016:


Volunteering for a medical mission in Africa

For quite awhile I have always wanted to do volunteer nursing. Specifically for Operation Smile but their credentials are long and time consuming, as well as they are a very popular organization. Last year, I came across another organization and decided to give it a try and apply. A few months ago, I received an email stating that I was approved. At the beginning of July, I received another email stating that they have dates available for me. Jan 10-March 5. The email stated to take some time to think about it and reply by middle of July. I did not need to think about it. This is something that I wanted to do. I hit reply within the hour and said “YES!”

I cannot tell you how excited that I am to hear this. It will be for a two months and many people are not sure if they could do it. But I think I can because I have been a travel nurse in the USA for over 2 years. That, and I do not really have a place to call home anyways.

Are there things that I worry about? Sure but most of it has to do with financing this trip. Not only financing the flight to and from but vaccinations. And while I am serving, I will be paying room & board while there, nothing is run for free-afterall. I am certainly willing to do it but when you think of the numbers…2 months of room and board there, car payment/insurance here, vaccinations, spending money. Well it all adds up. Thankfully I do not foresee an issue getting a job when I return because I am a traveler, but there may a lapse in the time. So therefore, it is probably best if I, in my head, save for 5 months.

This is all very doable. If it’s not doable, I will make it doable. This is something that I want to do. Since I am very well aware of this possibility, I am far enough out in advance where I can plan. But regardless of how much planning you do-the worry is still there.

Then of course, you think about where you are going in this world. And you think about how much we have (or more times than not-WANT) compared to others in the world. You think how superficial it is of me to even think, of all things, money…a lot of people in the world do not have clean water, or a mattress and I’m thinking about money for paying my car and insurance.

No matter how stress I get and how worried that I get with money, everything works out in the long run and things end up panning out. Usually I look back and think ‘why was there a concern in the first place?’

I’ve been searching and researching even more from others who have done something similar. I notice their life before and after. How much you are changing the lives of others but that they are, moreso, changing yours. For that-it’s priceless and all the more worth it. Human life and perspective is worth it. Smiles are worth it. Being able to walk, run, jump-is all worth it.

So I am counting the months, weeks, days…where my life changes, again, forever.

Hello world!

My name is Paula. Though I am a travel nurse, there are many aspects in my life that are not related to work. So in these pages you’ll probably see a number of posts about being a nurse or healthcare. My thoughts on healthcare overall and what I am seeing throughout the country. Maybe a story or two about happy and sad moments as a nurse. Perhaps some frustration as well? Though I will not be displaying names, ages, or specific locations. I will be going on a Medical Mission early 2016 (a lifelong dream). I will probably place a separate tab for that particular time, at that time.

I also love to travel and plan on traveling more as time goes on. Be it locally or overseas. As a child, we never had a real vacation. We went to the cabins, fishing, swimming, local park,  moved back and forth between two states (not for vacation). Therefore, now that I’m an adult and making a living, I am making a plan on SEEING the world. Sometimes with friends, sometimes by myself. I will tend to focus on the local people of whatever area that I am. I will sometimes post photos of nature or animals (they are my favorite things to photograph after all).

Through the years, I’ve gone back and forth about writing a memoir about my childhood-the pros and cons of writing it. Thus, sometimes that type of topic will come up time and again. Some stories about my childhood and adults thoughts that go along with it while I’m looking back. I’m a reader first…a writer is way down the line (grammar is not my strong point). We will see how that pans out.

I’m always open to questions, concerns, and/or suggestions. So please do not hesitate in dropping me a line.

Full disclaimer–my thoughts, opinions, views are of my own. They are in no way a reflection of my employers, place of employment, friends, family, or any other organization I associate with, etc.

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