The familiar sights and sounds of a telemetry nursing floor slowly becomes a part of you. The dinging sounds of the IV pumps, the call lights twinkling like Christmas lights and patients moaning and yelling becomes an indicator that yes, they still have fight in them.
But what happens when these sounds of "fight" becomes a nuisance to your fellow nurses and they in turn becomes your source of aggravation?
I would like to say that I am an emotional nurse. Especially when it comes to my patients. I treat my patients as an extension of myself with no regards to age, sex, religion and ailment. I really do treat them as a part of me.
I was taking care of an 89 year old female who had stage 4 lung cancer. bedridden, and had lost her ability to communicate in a "normal" manner. She started moaning in a constant manner and it got louder, and softer, and loud, and aggravating. She had poor prognosis and was just basically hanging out with us until the family can decide when to transition to hospice care.
The sound she made was a constant reminder for me that she has something to say. She might not know how to convey but somehow.....I can read between the lines. I would go into her room and talk to her, look in her eyes and see someone who's scared.
My CNA and I repositioned her, gave her mouth care and offered words of support and encouragement. She would stop making her sounds for a while and start back up shortly after we leave the room.
A surprise came my way when a new nurse came up to me and said, " Why don't you close the door?, she is bothering a lot of the patients and it's not good".
I was taken aback with this nurse's request. I get it. The sound was bothersome. But I can.t fathom the fact the idea of shutting the door on a dying patient is even an option!
"No sir. I'm not closing the door on my patient." was my answer. I proceeded to educate this new nurse on the kind of bedside nursing that I do. I expressed the fact that I do recognize that the noise can be a little bothersome but closing the door is like turning away from someone who's in REAL need.
This nurse said, 'It's not like she's going to get out of bed and fall". And I said I know, but I'll never know! I've seen things happen where no one though it could. Whether it's good or bad, I'll never know up until it actually happens.
I advocated for my patient for the rest of my shift. I didn't close the door and as a matter of fact, I kept it wide open. Some may see it as an act of rebellion but I saw it as keeping my heart open listening to the one who is not able to express clearly.
I can hear her.
I can feel her.
And as long as I'm hustling and bustling out on the floor, the new nurses who's priority is to finish charting early will learn a whole lot about interventions first, documentation last.
Was I wrong for not closing the door?
What would you do?