Being a nurse is both, a wound and a blessing. I say this as I bring to you an incident about one of my patients, of whom I took care of before he took his last breath, sadly just half-hour after he had taken his breakfast.
Working in Germany as a clinical nurse has given me more scope for the practical implementation of knowledge that I studied in ‘fundamentals of nursing’ in specific and other subjects in general.
I work in the medicine department attached to the geriatric station. We provide holistic care to the elderly population as well as help them to build their confidence to do the activities of daily, improve their strength and self-esteem.
He was 76 years ‘young’ patient, young because he physically looked like he was in his 60’s and he did all the ADLs ( Activities of Daily Living) by himself. He had an ever smiling face and had complete self-agency.
He had a history of myocardial infarction and a lung emboli. He had come to our station for a follow up check-up.
Following his visit, he was admitted to the geriatric unit for some regular tests. That morning, He greeted us, had his breakfast, and started to read the newspaper. One of my colleagues asked him to go downstairs for a test. While he was crossing our nurse’s station, he complained of chest pain. I was present at the station, and as soon as he told this to us, one of my senior colleagues took him to his bed and started to measure his vital signs. I had gone along with her. His blood pressure was so low that she immediately called the station doctor. In the very next second, he was unconscious and pulseless.
She activated the reanimation team and we started CPR. I could not believe that the person with whom I was speaking to a few minutes ago, was the same person I am giving chest compression right now. The reanimation team reached within 3 minutes and took over the charge. We all were speechless.
I continuously gave him chest compression’s while he was being brought in the lift from my station on the third floor to the intensive care unit on the first floor. I waited anxiously at my station to know about his well being, but a few hours later I came to know he left us for his heavenly abode.
It was difficult to believe but I also thought that he had a peaceful death. I have seen many suffering with painful diseases and death.
There are two things to notice in this incident. One is the nurses ability to observe and assess the patient round the clock and this is one of the major tool of their practice. Every nurse in her/his every shift will observe such changes and alert or inform the health team. Another is the psychological trauma they suffer and unfortunately it will affect their personality but will not be diagnosed. There is a need to record observation skills of the nurses and recognize them with additional responsibilities and scope of practice.
We continued our work after a breakfast break. Can you imagine that just an hour ago I served breakfast to him, gave chest compressions, shifted him to ICU, and lost him forever? Sad, right? Well, that why you need a strong yet gentle heart to be a nurse.
Let his soul rest in peace. His smile will always be with me.