Caring for Patients Through our Comfort

With so much fear happening right now as a result of COVID-19, there are many patients that are in fear of dying and asking for prayer.  In some hospitals, many staff will be more concerned with their agenda and not the patient’s thoughts or concerns.  Our own beliefs as a nurse can impact a patient in many ways.  For instance, if you find yourself in a Christian Hospital where praying is okay with a patient and encouraged, and you feel comfortable asking the patient if they would like to pray, then you would do that.  Now in the same situation, if you are a nurse that is not very religious but work in a Christian Hospital and a patient asks you to pray with them, it can be very awkward for the nurse.  The nurse can let the patient know that she will stay there as the patient prays and a warm touch of the nurse’s hand on the patient’s hand can be all the comfort that the patient needed (DeNisco & Barker, 2012).  However, many staff will be fearful to do this because of COVID-19.  But remember even through a mask, gown, gloves, and a face shield, we as nurses and healthcare givers can still provide someone that is afraid that warm and caring support and a smile that will let them know we care.

References

DeNisco, S. M., & Barker, A. M. (2012). Theory-based advanced nursing practice. Advanced practice nursing: Evolving roles for the transformation of the profession (2nd ed., pp. 5-18). [Vital Source Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://campus.capella.edu/web/library/home

 

Compassion Comes from the Heart

As nurses, we have the ability to use compassion and genuinely want the best for our patients.  We understand our patients and want to help them find the best treatment that will help them.  There are also nurses and doctors who do not exercise cultural competence in what the patient’s beliefs and wishes are.  As nurses, we have to validate our patients’ feelings of fear of not being able to provide for their families.   Many hospitals have case managers who focus on the hospital losing money and allow patients to treat at their facility but if they do not have insurance, they are very quick to send them elsewhere.  Many times when this happens, these case managers that are gatekeepers, are not thinking of the patient’s safety.

Social workers and nurse case managers are the peacemakers in these delicate situations, involving patient advocacy.    A good nurse case manager will identify the problem right away and diffuse it so that the focus is back on the patient.   Sometimes our culture in America imposes our beliefs on others thinking that they have to accept a specific method of treatment, but the reality is patients have a choice.  If a choice is explained well to someone, they will make the right decision.  We as healthcare providers have to explain things to the patient and family to help them understand and make an informed decision.

The skill that the staff needs to learn about caring for patients from other cultures is to remember that we as healthcare providers have to be sensitive to someone’s beliefs or culture.  Just because they do things differently does not mean it is wrong, it is just different.  We as healthcare providers have to be respectful (Barr & Dowding, 2012).

Cultural expectations were seen in my previous job while I was the manager of a team of nurses and social workers.  There was a manager from England and then there was myself,  of Hispanic background.   The majority of my team was from a different culture.   There was a nurse on my team who was great, but she spoke with a thick island accent, however her patients loved her.  The other manager like myself was from England. During a case presentation, the other manager stated how hard it was to understand her and she should not present again.  I stated that was not a fair statement because she presented cases and her skills and case were valid.   The other manager did not reply to my statement verbally but she made herself known by challenging everything I said in the future.  It is instances like this that discourage people from staying in jobs.

References

Barr, J., & Dowding, L. (2012). What makes a leader? Leadership in healthcare (2nd ed., pp. 32-44). [Vital Source Bookshelf]. http://dx.doi.org/ Retrieved from