As a nurse, I have seen some of the best and worst “bedside” manners. Caring for residents in post-acute care definitely has its challenges and rewards however, finding competent, caring medical support can be one of the biggest challenges. I remember visiting a center in rural Michigan and commenting on the lack of physician support their medical director was providing. When I pursued it a little more, the administrator said, “we can’t find anyone else to be the medical director”.
Sure, we all have these types of things we face every day, the nurse who is clinically a 5 out of 10 but never forgets to be sensitive to her residents or the housekeeper who isn’t really good at “keeping house” but always leaves the Kleenex box close enough for the resident to reach. The physician who was “missing in action” on the unit, only to be found sitting on the edge of a bed holding a resident’s hand because she was afraid. Compassion, caring, things that aren’t taught–they are automatic, innate in some people, and in high demand!
It is my firm belief that you can’t teach people to care but you can definitely teach them the correct way to perform a dressing change or clean a room, right? Think about it, if you ever sought medical treatment in an ER, it wasn’t the nurse who provided excellent, clinical care that you remember, it is probably the tech who took you for an x-ray and offered you an extra blanket and a sip of water. Compassion, we need it, we should live it and above all, we should share it with our residents, families, and staff! Embrace those members of your team who live it every day and thank them! Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!
For more information, check out this article from JAMA from 1927!