I've been a hospice nurse for over 10 years, but recently I've had trouble finding the rewards that constitute a "great day." I give good nursing care to my dying patients, but I just feel busy, not gratified. What's wrong with me?-S.R., NEV.
While in nurses training I remember a classmate who seemed to be studying hard, yet was failing. Turns out she was spending hours and hours rewriting lecture notes; she was so focused on form that she never mastered content.
Perhaps that's what's happening to you. The emphasis for today's nurse seems to be more on computer literacy and equipment management than on the art and craft of nursing. As we focus on paperwork, the authentic rewards become more elusive.
I recall visiting with a lovely minister who was critically ill with sepsis. While holding his hand, I could feel the heat emanating from his infected body. Before hurrying to call his surgeon, I took a moment to place a cold, wet washcloth on his brow. He softly said, "Thank you. That's the simple treatment the Good Samaritan offered."
So, as you continue to do your good work, take pleasure in simple acts of kindness and compassion. The act of flipping a pillow to the cool side says to the seriously ill patient, "I care about your comfort, and there's more of this kind of attention to come." I guarantee you'll like that feeling.