Growing up I always knew I wanted to become a Nurse. My mother is a Nurse and she would always take me to work with her when she could. I remember seeing her love and care for her patients as if they were her own family. I wanted to be able to provide the same outstanding care my mother provided to her patients.
Upon graduating from Nursing School I got a job in the MICU at an outstanding hospital. I was so thrilled my dreams had come true and I was ready to be an advocate for my patients.
On one typical day, I had the opportunity to care for a man that was in the late stages of colon cancer. I, along with the attending physician and hospice team, met with the family to discuss his plan of care. At the conclusion of the meeting it was decided that the patient would be placed on comfort care, which basically means our main job would be to maintain comfort for the patient as he reaches the end of his life. The main goal was to maintain the patients’ dignity and comfort as he was dying.
As a team we came up with a plan of care to initiate a Morphine drip and titrate it based on the patients level of pain. Unbeknownst to me, the attending physician decided he wanted to change the course of action and turn off the Morphine drip. The next thing I know I am being approached by the family and they are asking multiple questions as to why the plan of care changed. At that point I knew my sole job was to be the advocate for the patient and his family.
Advocacy for the patient is one of the most important jobs as a Nurse, because if you are not there to do it for them, who is? We are their voice, we are their strength, and we are their fight. I immediately addressed the situation with the attending physician who was not happy that I brought it up at all. I threw every inch of my passion to stand up for this patient and their family. After a little battling back and forth we finally came upon an agreement with the family for a plan of care that would provide the patient with the utmost comfort. We were fortunate enough to be able to transfer the patient home on home hospice.
A week later I received a letter from the family members of this patient. They thanked me for being the advocate their father needed; they thanked me for my compassion and hard work……..and that is the most rewarding feeling a Nurse can ever have.
This was 4 years ago; to this day I continue to always put my patients first. Whether you are still practicing at the bedside or working in some other nursing role our main goal should be to advocate for our patients and be their voice.