Trip #20 to the OR was successful. My amazing vascular surgeon is pleased with the two stents and minimal ballooning was needed. We will continue to monitor the blood flow and plastics will monitor the healing of the foot. More progress reports to follow.
For this post I want to discuss the nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and just how kind, compassionate, and hardworking they are. Nurses are truly the backbone of the hospital. It amazes me how much their job entails and how much they give of themselves. Disclaimer – this is from my point of view as a patient. I do not know what the job requirements or job descriptions are for these nurses. My wish is that hospital administrators and surgeons recognize the dedication these nurses demonstrate. Happy National Nurses Week!
If you are lucky enough to be healthy and not spend time in the hospital, count your blessings. As a patient who has seen the inside of an OR twenty times in the last two years, I am very familiar with the process. Nurses are the folks who take care of you. Pre-op; PACU; floor; and nurse practitioners. These are the people you spend the majority of your time with in the hospital. Think about it, you see your surgeon for the surgical consent before your surgery but you are sleeping throughout the procedure.
I remember my first surgery when I broke my leg. It was unsettling not knowing what to expect and seemed overwhelming. Now, it isn’t as overwhelming and a big reason for that is that I see the same nurses (or most of the same nurses) each time. There is a sense of peace and comfort when you are cared for by a nurse who knows your story or recognizes you. And I know that may sound odd but when you have surgeries at the same hospital for an extended period of time, you build a rapport with these wonderful nurses if you are lucky.
Before you go into the OR, you are cared for by pre-op nurses. There is a lot to accomplish before you are cleared for surgery. These nurses prep you for surgery. They take your vital signs; put in your IV (I always feel terrible as I am a hard stick and it generally takes three sticks before the IV is a success because my veins are shot); put in your Foley catheter; review your history; medications; emergency contacts; health proxy; confirm your procedure; bag and store your belongings; and so much more. Nurses advise the surgeon and anesthesiologist that you are prepped and ready to go. This is all done roughly in an hour. They also tend to family members or friends of the patient who are often times in tears because their loved one is about to have surgery.
When I arrived for this last procedure, I was extremely relieved to see this amazing nurse LeeAnn in pre-op. I instantly felt a sense of relief as I have been lucky enough to have been cared for by LeeAnn in the past. She was with me when I needed twelve blood transfusions and emergency surgery after an initial surgery last June. LeeAnn is sweet, kind, funny, and warm. She is obviously intelligent, efficient, and you can tell she knows her job and does it well. LeeAnn should be recognized for her outstanding contributions and patient care. Thank you for all you have done for me!
After surgery, you are cared for by PACU (post anesthesia care unit) nurses. They ensure you wake up from anesthesia; monitor your vital signs; check your surgery site; notify your family members or friends; provide ice chips; heated blankets; food when you are able to eat; and much more. LeeAnn has also been my PACU nurse in the past.
This time I was cared for by a nurse named Erin who was just lovely. My puncture site was bleeding and she made sure to notify my surgeon and was eventually able to get the bleeding to stop by continuously applying pressure. Erin gave me ice chips (your mouth gets so dry during surgery) and ordered food for me when I was able to eat. That may not sound fascinating but when you can’t eat after midnight prior to your surgery and it gets to be 6:30 PM the following day, I was starving! The cut off time to order food is 7:00 PM so you hope your nurse will pay attention to these things! Erin was kind enough to help get me to my room and talk to the floor nurse about my condition and follow up. Thank you for your kindness Erin!
Floor nurses are generally with you for 8-12 hours per shift. They review the instructions from your surgeon; monitor your surgery site; deliver your medications; give shots; make sure you are as comfortable as you can be; help you to the bathroom; and do everything and anything in between. They have several patients to care for at a time and they are busy. I honestly don’t know how they do what they do and often wonder when they have time to eat or simply rest for a minute. My stays have consisted of the orthopedic, vascular, and trauma floors. These nurses ROCK!
This stay I was on the vascular floor and had two great nurses in Liz and Hannah. This was my first time meeting them and both were professional, kind, and caring. I remember one particular stay on the trauma floor where I had foot surgery and was on bed rest. It was maybe day five or six and I really just needed my hair washed. These two kind nurses, Dawn and Kerry, propped my head up at the end of the bed, put buckets on the floor and washed my hair. I literally cried. It made me feel human again to have clean hair. They acted as if it was no big deal, but to me, it meant everything. Another stay I had been in the hospital for over a week and hadn’t seen the outside and was having a tough day. This kind nurse, Tracy, helped me get dressed in my own clothes and wheeled me outside so I could have sun on my face and get fresh air. That was all I needed to turn my day around. I have such deep appreciation for these nurses and their dedication to their patients. THANK YOU!
Nurse practitioners are these wonderful nurses with an advanced education who work closely with your surgeon and provide care for you throughout your stay. They provide education; focus on your wellness; prescribe medication; and handle your discharge. They often round with the residents and check on your progress. The list goes on! My vascular surgeon has a wonderful nurse practitioner, Lori, and my plastic surgeon has a phenomenal inpatient nurse practitioner, Serena. Just this week, Serena was recognized in the Boston Globe…please read on! Congratulations Serena!
These talented group of nurses embody what my blog is about – inspiration, hope, and kindness. I thank each one for their part in my journey. These nurses may not remember me (they see an incredible number of patients!), but I will never forget them.
Tell me, have you encountered an outstanding nurse? Please share!
Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.