My Reflective Journal during my ICU experience.. this was the 3rd day, which really made an impact.. moral lesson: appreciate life,love your family, don't take things for granted..
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Back when I was still a 3rd year student, I could clearly remember how nervous and frightened I was when I came to see our schedule that we will be rotated at the ICU of Bethany Hospital in La Union. I know in myself I am afraid of complicated cases of patients in the ICU. In the course of my profession, I was not given the chance to overcome this feeling of fright. Not until now…
But that feeling of fright was replaced with a sense of being challenged in a way because as the situation demands for it, I have to overcome and make my ICU duty worthwhile.
3rd day: the art of letting go
This day was remarkable to me as a nurse. I just faced and was able to overcome one of the most frightening scenarios in life. How do you let go of the most valuable person in your life? Like your mother or your husband? In my two days of exposure in the ICU, I was looking for something that would make me feel “moved” and create an impact in the course of my duty in the ICU. And I felt it today.
We went for our duty at ICU/CCU in the afternoon and I was able to experience the visiting hours at the area. One female visitor entered the CCU and proceeded to the room of the 50 y/o male patient who was diagnosed with CVA infarct.
While walking around the CCU, I saw the woman crying, much to my curiosity and the desire to help in any way I can, I asked permission to enter the room. I actually does not know how to start the conversation. I cannot find the right words to say hi or good afternoon to that woman. I gathered all my courage and said, “mam, lea po ang name ko nurse po, kumusta po kayo? And she answered “ito, hindi mabuti, ang hirap palang makitang ganito yung taong napakalakas dati”. A provider, father, husband, someone strong and energetic—that is her husband, now battling between that thin line of life and death..
Before saying any word, I made sure to compose it first in my mind. The woman was able to say the family’s background, how their children got matured after knowing the situation and how they are coping with the present situation and most especially how they are preparing for the day that they have to finally say goodbye to their most beloved father.
Looking in another perspective, she was able to say some significant experiences of a relative. She shared how nervous she was to hear buzzer sound at the ICU waiting area, the laughing of nurses and the feeling of “insensitivity” when they see inappropriate actions of healthcare providers in consideration of the emotional turmoil that they are undergoing.
In health talk online, lived experiences of relatives with patients confined in the ICU stated that relatives and close friends usually know very little about why a person has become so ill so quickly and the ICU, an unfamiliar, alien environment, often becomes the centre of their lives as they wait desperately for any signs of change or progress. In a study published on Pub med, with the title: Interacting with relatives in intensive care unit. Nurses' perceptions of a challenging task. The conclusion was the nurses' outcome expectations and self-efficacy in terms of knowledge and skills interacting with relatives were high. There was considerable variation in the nurses' agreement on when to involve relatives in caring activities or allowing them to be with the patient in critical situations. The relevance of the study provides important knowledge to clinicians, educators and managers on how to educate and supervise ICU-nurses to support their efforts to interact proficiently with relatives.
During that moment, i can say to myself I have already learned the most important lesson in my ICU duty—to appreciate life and my loved ones. Time is of the essence. We should not take anything for granted and we do not just care for our patients but also we should be concerned with their families as well. The most beautiful statement that I heard was “thank you po, gumaan po ang loob ko”.