During my two and a half years of bedside nursing in critical care, I have learned a great deal about myself. There are many experiences I have to reflect on but one will always stand out to me. I had a patient and family who had been waiting all day for the results of a lung biopsy.
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Finally, around 1600 the doctor came in and broke the news that the patient had stage 4 lung cancer and three months to live. I could see the shock and numbness flood the patient and family members’ bodies. The doctor continued talking very quickly giving them their options and then just walked out of the room as if nothing had happened. The family was in such a state of shock they hadn’t even heard their “options.” I explained everything to them on a more personal level and just sat with them for a moment trying to help them process the information. They were very appreciative that I had taken the time to do so. This experience alone made me realize I wanted to do primary care. Making relationships with my patients and building trust through holistic quality care is extremely important to me. It is so easy to become desensitized to these types of situations and become too busy to take time to sit down with patients and listen to their stories, but I like to remind myself that each patient is going through a very vulnerable and possibly life-changing experience. They deserve the same type of respect I would give a family member going through the same situation.
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