Given below is a conversation between a nurse and a patient. There are a total of 5 female nurses in the ward who work in shifts, and each nurse takes care of the patient allotted to her. Each nurse is responsible for the patient’s comfortable stay in the hospital.
It’s not just the physical but also the mental condition of the patient that doctors and nurses need to take care of. It is one of the duties of the nurse to keep a check on the patient’s condition, both physically and mentally.
It is her responsibility to keep a check on the food and medicine intake by the patient. She has to make the patient aware of the tests that are to be conducted. She needs to collect these reports for further diagnosis by the doctor. This is an excerpt from one such conversation between a patient and a nurse.
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Conversation between a Nurse and a Patient
(Setting – It is just like any other afternoon in the hospital) The walls of the hospital are white and blue in colour. The beds are well made. Out of the 20 beds in the ward, half are empty. The hour clock hits three, and there is some movement to be seen. Nurses are preparing to hand over the duties to the evening shift. All of the patients are in deep slumber except one, who was staring at the clock before the movements distracted him from his concentration. A nurse approaches towards the patient and takes out his file and starts putting in entries)
Patient: Good afternoon, Miss Jones.
Nurse: Good afternoon(notices tiredness in his eyes). How are you feeling today?
Patient: I believe the discomfort in my lower seems to be well now. I guess the physiotherapy has made me feel a lot better.
(patient suffered from an accident that had put him in the hospital for over a month now. He has mostly recovered and is now in his recovery phase)
Nurse: (smiling) That’s good to hear. You seem to be enjoying your therapy lessons. I was informed you are doing well in your physiotherapy lessons. There has been much improvement in your case. You seem to be in a better physical condition.
(The patient is an athlete and was preparing for his upcoming competitions before a horrifying accident shattered his dreams of the podium)
Patient: I feel better physically. But thinking about what has happened in these past weeks, makes me weak in my knees. I am afraid I will be able to step on the track again. Oh, how much had I practised for my hurdles race in the central stadium. I was in top form in the qualifying race.
Nurse: I am sure you will be able to. There has been no serious injury to your cruciate ligaments. I guess you will be able to get back in top shape sooner than you think. You should prepare yourself to be on track mentally so that as soon as you get back on the track, you fire up all cylinders.
(Patient starts staring towards the ceiling and closes his eyes. Tiny droplets start rolling down on his cheeks which he wipes away quickly. The accident had taken a toll on his mental condition more so than his physical condition. He had finally qualified for his nationals that were set for 1 week from now. Obviously, he couldn’t recover till then. It was getting more clear as the competition date was coming up.)
Nurse: From what I hear from the doctors, you will be discharged soon. It will be this week. Any chances you can go and look at the competition.
Patient: Sister, please incline my bed more, I want to sit up straight. It’s almost time for my medicines.
Nurse: (starts adjusting the bed and continues to talk) You will feel a lot better if you go to the race and have a look. Don’t you think?
Patient: How will that make me feel better? Won’t it make me realise that it’s all been in vain. Everything would be as I dreamed of. The people, the track, the firing of the pistol, the hurdles, the finish line but I will be in the stands with a crutch. That will just make me feel more helpless. I might not want to ever go the track and put on my running spikes. The image of the hurdles haunts me now. I have had dreams where I can’t lift my feet, and the hurdles keep on becoming bigger, and I keep getting smaller. I run out of breath and wake up. I am all in sweat and lying on this bed breathless. It’s tough for me to go back to sleep after that, so I keep looking at the clock. The dim light that enters the room helps me keep track of the time, and I rarely sleep after it.
( This shows the patient is in obvious discomfort. Maybe not physically, but he is not feeling well from inside. The tiredness in his eyes is proof of the sleepless nights he is surviving through. The nurse hands him his medicine and readjusts the bed making him lay comfortably. He is looking at the ceiling again.)
Nurse: Your younger brother was here yesterday, right. How old is he?
Patient: His name is Jake. He is eleven. He has got a good athletic build too. He reminds me of myself.
Nurse: Is he also into running hurdles?
Patient: No, he loves to draw—last summer after I couldn’t qualify for the finals. I threw away my boots after the race. Fortunately enough, he found them and drew this big Nike swoosh on one side and the three stripes on the other, on both of the shoes. (smiling) The shoes were Reebok.
Nurse: He seems like a real nice person. He greets me every evening when he comes in to meet you.
Patient: he sure is. I love him a lot. He comes to all my races to cheer me up. He is the one who is most excited for my races. He brags about his elder brother being in the athletics team in his class.
Nurse: ( working and filling up the records book) What about him reminds you of yourself?
Patient: He loves drawing the way I love running. He always has a marker in his pockets like I got my spikes in my bags. He puts up his drawings on the walls exactly the same as I put up my medals.
Nurse: You sure you don’t want him to cheer for you again. He sure looks up to you.
Patient: What do you mean?
Nurse: I am just saying. He does everything exactly as his elder brother. Probably right now he is the only person who looks at the clock like you, waiting for the clock to hit four so that he can meet his elder brother.
( the patient lower his eyes towards the clock again)
Nurse: I am pretty sure he is already thinking about cheering for you again as soon as you step into the track. I mean the way you describe him, he must be thinking about it right now.
Patient: Nurse Jones. ( stopping for a second) Thank you.
Nurse: Oh, come on. I mean I would love to see you on the track running over those hurdles too. That looks pretty tough, I mean how do you do it. I remember I tripped off the entrance today and fell awkwardly. I mean that was embarrassing for sure. Everyone was like, “How can she be trusted with taking care of people?”.
Patient: ( laughingly) yeah, you sure are clumsy. I see you working at the nurses counter and hitting your head on the table a lot of times.
Nurse: ( laughs ) you noticed that. But that’s not funny, you know. It did hurt a lot.
( Nurse jones moves towards his counter and looks back at the patient and hits an empty bed and stumbles awkwardly.)
(patient starts laughing)
Patient: ( still laughing) some tears fall off his eyes, and he wipes them off with his shirt. (He looks up at the clock which points to four now.)
( He starts looking at the front door of the ward and closes his eyes slowly )
The conversation points out the need for why it is important to be aware of a patient’s overall health. A patient might not be suffering from any physical pain, but that doesn’t signify; there is no other discomfort. Also, it tells us how nurses build relationships with all those around her so that the patients can be open to them about their condition. It shows us how relationships are built in a hospital.