Taking the time to say thank you can have an immediate and long-lasting impact on the person you’re thanking.
It can uplift spirits or turn an “I wish I hadn’t gotten out of bed” day into the best day of the week (or year!). It can change a person’s perspective on life and positively affect interactions with others during the rest of the day. It may even alter someone’s career path.
Intubated and Fearful
By Brenda Randolph, RN (retired)
Nearly 40 years ago, I was floated to a male med-surg ward in a municipal hospital (back then, male and female patients were kept in separate units). I was assigned to care for a combative male patient who was intubated and on a ventilator.
Nurses appreciate hearing it and deserve every thank you they receive. Here, we share three stories in which nurses recount the unique circumstances of when, how, and why they received appreciation from a patient or family member. Can you relate?
In those days, intubated and ventilated patients were rarely sedated. He was in his 60s, but very tall and well-built. He was so combative that he had been placed in four-point restraints to prevent him from dislodging the endotracheal tube or injuring the staff.
I approached him with more than just a little trepidation. The first thing I noticed was the abject terror in his eyes. I lightly placed a hand on his arm, introduced myself, and told him I’d be caring for him that day. I told him that I understood how frightening it must be to be on a ventilator and to be restrained, as my mother had recently undergone the same treatment.
I could tell from his eyes that he understood what I was saying.
I explained the purpose of the ventilator and its importance and each step I would take and why. I told him I would suction the tube to prevent mucus from clogging it, and as I continued to speak, I could see him begin to relax.
While bathing him, I released each restraint and he cooperated completely. When I was leaving, I told him I probably wouldn’t be back, but the doctor had agreed to remove the restraint order as long as he made no attempt to pull out the tube. He nodded.
Several months later as I returned from lunch, I noticed a very tall, dapper looking gentleman waiting for the elevator. He looked a little familiar, and as he turned to me, he smiled and told me that I had cared for him.
He hugged and thanked me for helping him through a very scary time. It was a great reward and an affirmation that my chosen career was the right one for me.
Brenda Randolph, RN (retired), worked for 46 years in hospitals and home health settings.