There will inevitable be a time in your career where you are shocked. I know that I have certainly had several moments where I'm pretty sure in my unconsciousness yet conscious state, my jaw dropped in utter disbelief of what I was hearing or seeing. As a trauma nurse you see it all. Objects in places they shouldn't be, extremities displaced and the Jerry Springer like ER Family Reunion. Any of these could be shocking, but I can honestly say the most shocking incident of my career had nothing to do with a patient's illness or injury. This shock came from a the mouth of a supervisor.
As nurse we must have compassion in order to do our work and our healing effectively. We cannot be hardened and cold, or at least we shouldn't be.
She said what?
I was getting ready to leave after a night shift in the ICU. I had two patients, which was our normal staffing level. One patient was older and was not going to be leaving the ICU. Her condition was terminal. We were waiting for the family to make the decision to terminally extubate her. The other patient was young and was having a difficult time dealing with the unfortunate results of pressor medication, necrosis to the fee and hands.
As I was getting ready to punch out, my direct supervisor came to me and wanted to know why I was punching out at 8:10 in the morning instead of 7:45. Instead of asking about my night, or the break I didn't have a chance to take, she said "You had two patients, one of which was brain dead. How much care did you really have to do?"
Those words even a year later resinate with me today. I know I never want to be that person. I pray I never lose my ability to be compassionate.