Checking our feelings at the door


Saving the life of a murderer?

Caring for a gang member? A prisoner?

Treating a pedophile?

Check your personal feelings at the door?

All of these scenarios are very real, and can happen to you being a nurse. In fact, for me, they’ve happened.

We all are trained, educated, re-trained, and re-educated on the standard of care. It’s called discrimination and preferential treatment. Two things we must avoid at all costs. Allowing these two evils to exist or function within your practice as a nurse debilitates you as a practitioner, inhibits your delivery of care, and ultimately can and will harm your patient both directly and indirectly.

We all have personal beliefs, personal feelings and different views of the world. Everything from the household and environment that raised you to the environment you exist in now has contributed and affected who you are, what you are, and how you are. Your walk of life makes you – you.

The trick is, you as a person has to perform and act like you the professional when your caring for your patients. All your patients. One does not exist without the other, but one has to control the other at any given time and every given moment.

It’s taken me some time to figure this out. Heck! I’m still navigating my way through this emotional roller coaster.

I still have to ‘check’ myself’ at the door sometimes when I come across another difficult personal vs professional dilemma. I have to continually coach myself through the process of being non-partisan and unbiased in my CARE.

This is such a ‘touchy’ subject. Especially since I recently blogged about how we cannot be professional and not be personal. We care enough to make it personal, but where and when do we draw the line. How do we turn that switch off?

How can we accept and condone hugging a patient for comfort if we continue to condemn those who have made mistakes in their life?

Who are we to be the decision makers between right and wrong? Just and unjust?

It’s extremely tough and complex, and there is no simple answer. No simple answer…

But only one correct answer.

All patients deserve the very best of us, anything else is simply unacceptable.

I remember a lesson I learned early in my nursing career. I was finishing up my time as a student and I had a difficult patient to care for. I was at my wits end, I had lost all my patience, I had lost almost all my composure. I had asked to be removed from the assignment because I was realizing what I was doing and knew that it wasn’t right.

My instructor calmly pulled me aside and asked me to remember one simple thing. “Every patient you care for is someone’s mother, someone’s father, someone’s sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin. Every patient you care for is someone’s child”.”If this patient was your ‘insert relationship’, how would you want them to be cared for?”

All patients deserve the very best of us, anything else is simply unacceptable.

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