THE DAILY GRIND of working in healthcare can sometimes become discouraging. The issues surrounding the work environment and culture of a facility can sometimes be roadblocks to providing safe, compassionate, quality care. We struggle to do our jobs every day with deep commitment and a strong desire to alleviate pain and suffering.
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For many of us, nursing is more than just a job that pays the bills. It's the core of our values and beliefs, an outpouring of our passion and our desire to comfort those in need. Some days, though, it feels as if nothing we do is enough. We leave at the end of a shift discouraged, asking, "Do I even make a difference?"
But then there comes a moment when we know with certainty our work has purpose and value no matter the demands of each day.
Small things count
Mr. F was a frail, diminutive gentleman lost in the confusion of dementia. He spent his days behind the locked doors of the dementia unit. He'd asked for several days if he could have bananas and milk. It was a simple request, but one that had gone unfilled for whatever reason.
One day a nurse stopped and took the time to simply talk to Mr. F as he reached out to her and once again made his request. She went straight to the kitchen and brought him back three bananas and three cartons of milk. Mr. F's face lit up and he told her later that it was the best breakfast he remembered having in a long time. She cared enough to take a small request and turn it into a visible demonstration of caring. No matter what else happened that night, her simple action had made a huge impact on Mr. F's well-being.
Whatever area or specialty of nursing you've chosen to work, always remember that it's often the small, seemingly insignificant things that we do for our patients, their families, and for each other that make the most impact. Everything you do matters. Start each day by keeping that thought in the forefront of your work and your conversations with patients, families, and colleagues.
Mother Teresa once said, "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." Sometimes that small thing can be as simple as giving a patient three bananas and three cartons of milk.