Nurse Care

Monday, February 21, 2011

This time thing keeps marching on. Feb 21. Another week has passed. The home care nurse will be here today.

As a hospice volunteer I have often talked with a family member who sorts out the time I come to provide respite based around the nurse’s visit. The conversation often includes, “well, the nurse will be here…” and the times. Of course this is a scheduling issue, but also a pivot point in the person’s day: “Can’t talk long, the nurse is on her way,” or “I’ll call you once the nurse has been here.” I think I understand why: it’s Monday, the home care nurse will be here today!

The nurse’s visit represents a few things for me. That Dave is being tended to consistently, medically. I can get an outside viewpoint on his health. I can report changes or concerns face-to-face with someone who knows my loved one. I might hear a health issue from Dave that I didn’t know about.  She finds health concerns I didn’t even know to look for. It creates a marker in time for the trends of his vital signs. Her visit is reassurance, even in the face of changes. She is literally a lifeline and voice for the family to the healthcare team.

In my late teens I worked in a couple of hospitals as a nurse’s aide. It is the nurse who really knows the patient. They earn a wealth of experience and bring knowledge to each new patient. They are teachers, caregivers, investigators, negotiators and diplomats. Nurses are critical care for families.

Phone rings… thanks, Laura. We look forward to seeing you at 12:15.

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