I saw something the other day that really made me stop in my tracks and just think, wow!!
I’ll give you a hint and tell you it happened when I was taking a patient into an A&E department that I don’t normally get to, and it concerned a male nurse who I will call Steve.
Now, there are probably many, many scenarios that you can imagine I may see when walking into an A&E that would cause me to write a blog post right?
This one however, was so small and apparently insignificant, but it really stands out as a memorable moment for me, and one that may change the way I go about part of my day to day duties.
I had been looking after an elderly gentleman ( let’s call him Tom ) who had been suffering from a relatively minor ailment. The details in this case are unimportant apart from the fact that Tom really didn’t want to come into hospital, was hoping that he would not be kept in and would get back home as soon as possible. I pushed him into A&E and was met by Steve. I started my handover :
“Hiya, this is Tom and he..”
Steve cut me off and said
“Two seconds mate”
He turned to face Tom and bent over shook his hand, not just in a standard way but the good old two handed fashion. He said
“Hello Tom, its a real pleasure to meet you today, I`ll just get the handover from the paramedic so I can hear what has been happening to bring you in to us”
Steve turned back to me, apologised for interrupting me and asked me to continue, which I did. I finished the handover and then Steve turned back to Tom
“Sounds like you`ve been having a bit of a rough time lately! Lets see what I can do about getting you sorted and back home eh?”
and off they went down the corridor.
I was left standing in the corridor wondering what I had just witnessed. It sounds so trivial as I am typing it, but the way Steve approached Tom, the respect and kindness he showed from the very first minute and the connection that he made with him was instant. You could see the trust that Tom was putting in Steve straight away, and you could see the often forgotten nurse – patient relationship take a flying start.
You may well think I am being a bit over the top here, and maybe it says something about the way we look after and treat our patients in the NHS as a whole. So many times you hear handovers still focusing on the patients condition, disease or illness, without mention of a name or a social history.
That was the first time I had anything to do with Steve, but it certainly made an impression on me and I am determined to get back to that A&E at some point to tell him what I thought of his “nursing” skills. He doesn’t appear to have forgotten where nursing starts, with the nurse-patient relationship, a relationship that also needs to be formed between a paramedic and the patient. we dont have the luxury of having the time that an A&E nurse has with a patient, so it is more important than ever for us to try and get it right from the get-go.
I think I will try that and see if it makes a difference for me. I am always polite and courteous, but I don’t think I have ever introduced myself with a handshake to a patient (but I have to be real here too, and we all know there are some patients who you just wouldn’t want to be shaking hands with!!)