Why this nurse broke the visiting rules

Hemera | Thinkstock

There are occasions when breaking the visitation rules is the right thing to do–when a soldier or sailor has just arrived from overseas to visit a very sick relative, for example, or when the patient’s condition would benefit from such a “special” visit.

In one of the ICUs where I worked, we had a patient who was so ill with cancer that we couldn’t stabilize him enough to get him home, even under hospice care. Yet his heart’s desire was to go home and sit with his dog down by the pond.

At the time, there were two agency RNs on staff. One happened to have a SMALL dog–the kind you can fit into a tote bag. In an informal nurse’s station conference, those of us who would be on duty the next weekend decided to help arrange a “special” visit.

That Saturday, our dog owner slipped in with the little dog, freshly bathed and fully vaccinated, in her tote bag. The dog was sworn to silence and never made a sound.

The rest of us closed the door, turned off the camera and shut the window blinds so that the man could enjoy his special “visitor” for an uninterrupted two hours.

He was ecstatic.

As a result, his condition improved remarkably. He WAS able to go home and spent about two weeks with his own dog under hospice care.

Sometimes it is easier to beg forgiveness than to get permission (Rear Admiral Grace N. Hopper, US Navy, Retired).

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