It is the little things that count. From brushing someone’s hair to sitting someone out of bed. This is what I love about nursing. It is not about the big things, saving someone’s life with CPR nor about performing miracles. It is little things that make big things happen.
Have you ever heard of the ripple effect? It is a bit like that. An example of that is one of my patients today. For the past week he has been resting in bed, fed through a tube, and non communicative; but today I thought “let’s see if he can sit out of bed.” So we went through the process, ensuring that he was capable of the smaller steps like sitting up before we actually got him out of bed. Then as he sat out of bed, it was like a switch had been flicked. Suddenly he was awake, and trying to communicate, and within half an hour he was talking in full sentences that we could understand.
Every day I do my job I see little wonders of the human body. The ability to repair its self so quickly. But it is not just the human body, it is the mind as well. I am a true believer in the strength of the mind and the power that belief has; and time an again I am proven right.
I remember being told a story at university by one of my tutors about a young boy who was recurrently having seizures, something like every 30 – 60 seconds. As a consequence one side of his brain was damaged beyond repair. The doctors decided that the best treatment was to detach one side of the brain from the other, there by making the healthy side of his brain responsible. The amazing thing about this story is that by all accounts this young boy made a full recovery, and the healthy side of his brain effectively took on the role of both sides of the brain. This to me is one of the many miracles of human nature! Something, even as a trained health professional I find difficult to comprehend.
I love working in General Medical Wards, this is where we see amazing things. I agree that in ED, and ICU we get to see amazing traumas and the ‘good’ stuff. But I see people come in who are very sick, who are bed bound and non-communicative when admitted, literally walk out on the day of their discharge. Sometimes it happens quickly, and sometimes it is baby steps. But it is truly an amazing feeling when it does happen. This is what makes my job worth doing.
For all those who ask us why we are nurses, 90% of the time, this is why. With all the abuse, and truly horrible things we do have to deal with on a daily basis, the amazing ability of the human body the rebound and repair is why we do it.