Judgements and ASSumptions
Today is my younger brother's 16Th birthday! Happy Birthday Walker! (I'm 15 yrs older then him and 20 yrs older then my youngest bro, Zak....I feel old.)
I was thinking the other day about writing a post about the judgements nurses and doctors make with patients. I wasn't sure how to lay it all out and coincidentally came across Third Degree Nurse's post about a similar subject.
I've heard a lot of comments in the past about what patients do to put themselves in the hospital.
"Why do these people drink themselves to death"
"He has COPD but thinks it's OK to keep smoking"
"A 40 yr smoker...what did she think would happen?"
"He has Diabetes but he won't follow the diet"
"She weighs 500 lbs, maybe she should've exercised"
"He's been hospitalized 4 times this year detoxing, he doesn't learn"
Even as I watched a liver patient lay there unresponsive and dying I heard an experienced 20 yr nurse say "If he had only stopped drinking..." in front of him.
Maybe it's my personal and family background in addictions that keeps me from even thinking these things. I just don't. When I hear patient diagnoses it doesn't occur to me to think what caused them....just how to care for them.
It's natural for anyone to look for blame....it's human. If we look for a reason it prevents us from doing the same to ourselves. We can tell ourselves that it won't happen to us. Prevention is important.
However, it doesn't always apply.
When I tell people that Mike died of Oral Cancer, the first question asked is always "did he dip?" (use chewing tobacco). He didn't. Diagnosed at the age of 21....there's not much one could do to cause it....it just happened.
I've met widows of victims of lung cancer who didn't smoke.
I know people who are overweight because of their thyroid gland and not because of their eating habits.
I've met a few Liver disease patients who never drank.
Sometimes it just happens.
On the other hand, there's those who drink because they've had a really hard life. They smoke because it's the only way they know how to cope. They eat too much because they are really sad and depressed.
In Nursing you have to check your assumptions and judgements at the door. A nurse is there to take care of the patients needs now and hopefully teach and encourage the patient to not damage their bodies further....if that is the case.
The trick is to remain compassionate, empathetic, and caring despite what caused the patient to walk in your door. Don't avoid the patient because "he deserves what he caused". And bite your tongue.....I guarantee the patient knows why they are there.
It helps me to remember to never judge a person unless you've walked a mile in their shoes.