I have been a nurse for 25 years. I graduated as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1985 from Salt Lake Community College, then went on to receive my RN from Weber State in 1987.
I’ve worked in Utah from Ogden to St. George and have some wonderful memories of families I’ve met along the way. In nursing school we were taught to take care of patients. We did everything from back rubs to administering extensive medications and treatments. We were taught to get to know our patients, not just by disease, but at an emotional level. What motivates them and what factors influence their health decisions. What I found in a hospital setting was not exactly what I had envisioned.
Hospitals are critical parts of our health-care system and I deeply admire the expert care patients receive there. However when patients are admitted to the hospital their individuality is quickly
put into a hospital gown and assigned a room number.
Imagine me as a young nurse when I heard patients being referred to as “the patient in room 102.” Even worse “the gallbladder in room 102.” The hospital’s job is to improve a patient’s condition and get them home.
But then what?
Most often, an illness is chronic and still problematic when people are sent home. But there’s no one there to monitor them or making sure the right medications are taken at the right time. And who helps them fix lunch, after they just had a knee replacement? Who does the grocery shopping? Home Health and Hospice.
After 10 years working in hospitals, I had my first opportunity to work in the home health and hospice setting. Finally I was given the opportunity to fully practice the personal aspects of nursing I had learned in school. Patients are people with feelings and emotions.