Can you help me?


Nurses are always busy. Every unit has there own level and type of ‘busy’. Everything from the acuity of the patient, admissions, discharges, patient needs, family needs, doctor’s orders, tests, lab work, daily activities, surgery, procedures, policies and procedures, CHARTING, etc. The list is virtually endless.

I always make 2 claims about working as a nurse (and once again this is in reference to nurses who work in direct patient care facilities)

  1. You ALWAYS start your day behind schedule
  2. Your charting is NEVER done.

(chuckling under my breath)

There are a million other things we could say about working on the floors, but these two things are constant. And these two things are the reason your stress level can rise or fall in the blink of an eye. They are also the reason why you never, ever, ever get out on time.

During the pace of the day…err…I mean during the chaos…there will always be someone out there who needs a hand. Whether it be your fellow colleague, the nursing assistant, the ward clerk, or maybe even a custodial staff member. AND, it never fails. Someone will need help when you and your infinite list of things to do is growing by the second.

Here you are drowning in responsibilities and tasks to be completed, and someone is asking you for your help. This means you have to stop your progress. This means putting your ‘stuff’ on hold while you lend a hand.

Most of the time it’s minimal. Most of the time the help they need is simply an extra hand. Regardless of the amount of time needed, it always seems to come at the ‘worst’ time of your day.

Do you help them? Or do you kindly (and sometimes not-so kindly) deny them and encourage them to ask someone else? I mean c’mon your crazy-busy – how in the heck can you tear yourself away from what you need to get done.

This is where experience sets in.

My advice – help them. Always. Don’t hesitate. Don’t even think twice about it. You put down (don’t drop) what you are doing, pause, and you give them the hand they need.

Outside of tending to your patient directly and needing to address anything related to patient safety – there isn’t anything more important.

Sounds crazy yes?

Well you learn the hard way that no matter how busy you THINK you are – there is someone else out there who is barely keeping there head above water. And eventually that person is going to be you someday. One of these days you’re going to need that very same type of help.

You are only as strong as the team you work with. And everyday you are there, your team needs you and you need your team.

The next time someone needs help – think about ‘that’ day you needed help. Or better yet, put yourself in the their shoes.

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