Return to the Hospital Setting

This past week, I returned to the hospital setting with my cohort after nearly a month being off the floor, away from any direct patient care. We were at a hospital to volunteer and support various departments in whatever capacity they needed. Eagerly and without knowing much detail, we got assigned to various units that day, attended a brief orientation, and assigned ourselves to numerous 12-hour shifts through mid-May.

Wearing the hospital-provided surgical mask over my personal cloth mask and glasses for some eye protection.

To give some background, all my clinical rotations were indefinitely suspended on March, Friday the 13th, due to the global pandemic. I would have never imagined that the pandemic would cause life-altering changes here in the United States for so many. For me, I still wanted to be nurse, but without the patient-interaction provided by my clinicals, my ability to graduate from nursing school was threatened . (The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) requires at least 75% of clinical hours to be with patients). As news of the pandemic began to worsen, however, I was relieved to be able to stay safe at home and not have to be in the hospital setting.

Honestly, during the first couple weeks of “stay-at-home” orders, I couldn’t prioritize school or graduation requirements when I felt like I was scrambling to survive and keep my family safe. After the orders were announced, my daughter had come down with a high fever (105 degrees) and started vomiting on an evening my husband was asked to go into work. My husband was sent home, thankfully, and my daugher seemed to gradually improve. A couple afternoons later, however, my daughter’s fever spiked again to 104/105 and she began coughing in her sleep. I listened to her lung sounds with my stethoscope, and I was convinced I heard wheezing in her upper lobes. Her fever broke early that morning, before dawn. I was still worried, so I reached out to her pediatrician. We were able to conduct a tele-visit with her doctor’s office who wrote a prescription, and my daughter has been well the past three weeks. The week after my daughter got sick, I took my 77 year old father to urgent care (for completely separate symptoms). In those first couple weeks, I used my nursing skills and tools to take care of my family. I prioritized family over school or studying for my future career. I was happy to use my nursing knowledge to focus on my family because I did not want to jump back into clinicals with all the uncertainty and seemingly unsafe conditions.

There was so much unknown about the virus and what was required to keep people safe. Should droplet precautions or airborne precautions be used? Even if the type of protection needed was consistently defined, personal protective equipment (PPE) was not readily available. A month before my cohort was called off the floor, hospitals were already asking their staff (and nursing students) to reuse their N95 respirators when dealing with airborne precaution patients. I preferred not to work with these patients because it made me uncomfortable to see a piece of intended-for-single-use equipment used repeatedly. I didn’t want to have to re-use a mask and increase my chances of contamination. With the pandemic, it has unfortunately become normal practice to re-use a mask or have a single mask in a 12+ hour shift because of the PPE shortage.

With what I was witnessing, hearing from the news, and learning from personal accounts and advice of nurses, it seemed best to stay away from direct patient care. I was willing to accept that it might take me longer to get my BSN than I planned. The health and safety of my family is more important than graduating with a BSN on an earlier timeframe. I was okay with taking classes online and patiently waiting when we could safely return to the hospital.

Then, at the end of March, the governer of California called for student nurses to join the Health Corp. I felt compelled to join and signed up. While I’m not a licensed RN, I am a nursing student about to graduate this year. I recognize I have a special set of skills and training that can be useful in caring for patients compared to someone without healthcare experience or education. I signed up with the comfort of knowing I could turn down a deployment. I also signed up because my school (and the BRN) said the volunteer hours could count towards the required direct-patient care clinical hours. I reasoned, “They wouldn’t put student nurses in unsafe conditions, would they?” In reality, the BRN is not set up to protect nurses; The BRN exists to protect patients. Ultimately, I know I need to rely on myself to be protected and safe.

I want to keep my family safe and not expose them to this virus or other illness because of my chosen line of work. Being a nurse lends itself to some risk, however. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are exposed to patients with communicable diseases. Before, the level or risk was acceptable because we had proper PPE available, vaccinations for most things we could be exposed to were offered, and effective treatments known. With COVID-19, the safety measures that made the risk acceptable of working with contagiously ill patients were diminished. After serious thought, I determined I still wanted to be a nurse; I hope that once I’m an RN, conditions are greatly improved.

As a student nurse, I’m fortunate to have the choice to stay home and not go into the hospitals. Because I’m not yet an RN, I’m privileged: I can’t lose a license I don’t yet have, and I can’t lose a job by refusing to work with patients at this time. I figured, if I’m truly uncomfortable and feel compromised, I can walk away from a volunteer position. My school isn’t forcing us to return to the hospital but explained that if we do, we can have our hours count towards our missed clinical hours. They presented us an opportunity to return to the hospital setting, separate from the California Health Corp. We were told we would have PPE provided for us, and we would not be on the COVID units. With all of that under consideration, most of the students in my cohort (including myself) decided to return to the hospital setting last week.

I was conflicted; I cried and prayed over my decision to return to the hospital setting. I love my family and want to do what I can to protect them. I have a husband with diabetes and a preschooler. I have parents over 65 for whom I’ve become their personal shopper to enable them to stay in their home. People for whom I am responsible and love dearly are considered vulnerable populations for COVID-19. I also feel strongly that I am supposed to be a nurse, despite the risks involved. God put in my heart a desire to help people and this is the best way I know how at this point. I am not yet a nurse, but I’m asked to use my training and nursing skills I’ve learned to help others. I don’t want to do it foolishly, and I take this opportunity to serve very seriously. I pondered over this opportunity with my husband and parents. Nurses are short-staffed and could use help. My classmates and I can offer that.

I miss working with patients; I am simultaneously excited and scared. I am anxious about the chaos I might encounter, but also hopeful to help fight this pandemic and support healthcare workers and other patients. At times, I get a little panicked, but mostly, I’m at peace with the choice I made to return to the hospital setting and continue with my pursuit of becoming a nurse.

These are such extraordinary times. The news and what we know about the corona virus keeps changing. I have additional training this week and will start my first shift later this week. The opportunity to be in the hospital gives me more reason to focus on assignments and overall learning to be more prepared once I’m on the floor. Who knows if I will change my mind and want to leave the hospital setting as a volunteer student nurse? A fundamental part of the nursing process is asseessment, and I’m constantly assessing my situation. Either way, I will continue to proceed with caution, but also with the confidence that I have skills and training that can help other nurses and patients.

If you pray, I would appreciate prayers for me, my classmates, and my family’s continued protection and safety. Also pray for guidance for nursing students as we apply our training into practice to support the current workforce. Thank you, be safe, and please continue doing what you can to flatten the curve!

Milestone: My first IV Blood Draw on a Patient

My major milestone this past week was completing my first IV blood draw on a patient, during my ICU rotation. My nurse guided me. I stuck the patient with a butterfly needle and was able to draw blood on my FIRST try! 💉(Luckily, my patient had a really nice big, palpable vein).

My nurse and I walked into the patient room, she handed me the supplies, told me to go ahead, and began charting. I was lost and told her I needed her supervision. I had seen a nurse draw blood from a patient line the week before, so I thought I was going to take blood from an existing IV line. My nurse stopped me when she saw that I was about to sanitize a peripheral IV port. My nurse looked at me like I had three heads 🤔. I worried I wasn’t going to be allowed to do the skill anymore! She explained blood is never drawn from a PIV. The blood draw I saw was from an arterial blood line. I hadn’t realized blood draws are not taken from PIV lines; in retrospect, it makes sense not to draw from a line where a patient received meds.

Photo by Pranidchakan Boonrom on Pexels.com

Despite my nurse’s obviously concerned look, my nurse patiently guided me and let me continue. She repeatedly commented how she was astonished I hadn’t done an IV needle stick on a patient before. I was totally nervous and felt judged, but I knew I had to take my opportunity to practice such an essential skill of getting a needle into a vein. I’ve practiced many times using IV catheters in the skills lab on mannequins, but it’s not the same as inserting IV needles into humans.

LESSON 1: Speak up when uncertain about how to do something. At the very least, talk through the steps BEFORE walking into the room. While our patient’s primary language was not English, it would have been better to have the conversation that I had never drawn blood on a human and discuss the expected process OUTSIDE the patient room. It’s stressful enough being a patient in a hospital; I don’t want to raise a patient’s concerns about me or my abilities with the procedures I’m about to perform.

LESSON 2: Talk out loud while completing steps in a process. While I’m still new and learning, talking out loud helps to reinforce what I’ve learned and the expected process. This applies to any skill, even medication administration (i.e. “…clamp the NG tube…insert syringe…unclamp…push syringe…clamp, etc). Verbalizing steps helps me confirm what I should do or stop myself when something sounds incorrect or strange. Also, my nurse or instructor can hear me as I do things, and guide or interrupt me as needed.

Last week, I also spent more time in my Pediatric rotation. 🧸I’m really loving my Pediatric (Peds) clinical rotation and feel drawn to the particular hospital and patient population. However, I recognize I need more practice feeling baby pulses, particularly pedal ones 🦶. I can usually find pulses quickly on adults, but I find babies’ pulses harder to palpate. I eventually felt the pulses on my infant patients, but it took me a long time. My nurse would feel a pulse and point me to where “it’s a good pulse”. I’d put my finger on the location, and feel hardly anything. I may have been pressing too hard in trying to feel a pulse. I gotta ask my mom friends if I can feel their baby’s pulses to practice this skill – at least it’s not invasive so it should be relatively easy to practice. I often practice assessments on my family and myself, but my daughter is now a toddler – I just need access to more BABIES!

Milestone: First Day in Pediatrics

I had my first day in my pediatric clinical rotation this week and was in tears by the end of the day. I saw sick babies, preschoolers, and teens during my morning in the emergency department (ED). I wasn’t allowed to pass medications, but I felt useful taking vitals or assisting with assessments. I was honestly enjoying learning about the ED and the quick pace of the unit. I felt like working in the department would be something I’d be able to handle. I was fine until I encountered a patient that cried and wailed continuously when we’d see her. Due to her size and coloring, the patient reminded me of my daughter.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

I felt awful at the end my interaction with the patient because I was asked to hold her down to keep her still for a procedure that needed to be performed. The patient was unable to follow directions and kept struggling and fighting against the procedure. The non-verbal patient was terrified and screamed and cried non-stop. I wanted to explain that we weren’t trying to hurt her, that we were trying to help her, but I knew this would be something she’d be unable to understand, let alone be able to hear through her cries. This little girl endured two unsuccessful attempts at this procedure by two different nurses, with me assisting each time.

I started to cry when I looked at the patient’s mom and saw that she was tearing up during our second attempt; I could see mom struggling to hold back tears, continualy wiping her face. Ugh. I imagined what it must be like for her…to feel helpless at seeing your daughter struggle, to be upset with what was happening, but to know it needed to be done. We had explained the importance of the procedure to the mother and why it was necessary so she knew why we needed to keep trying. I wish the patient could have understood this, too. It was hard for me to see this little girl so terrified and be part of what was causing her terror.

After our second attempt, we gave this girl a break and called in a specialty team to perform the procedure. My rotation ended before I could witness this third attempt, but I was relieved to see the patient had calmed down and was in her mother’s arms quietly resting by the time I left the unit. I wanted to be able to comfort this little girl, but I recognized just showing up in her room made her upset. I got the sense she’s interacted with medical professionals before; just the sight of us with our scrubs, masks, and gloves seemed to terrify her. I question how I could have served this little girl better. Was there anything else I could have done to make it easier for this little girl? She was crying before we even touched her. What could I have said or done differently? And what about mom? Was there something I could have said or done to comfort mom? Was there something we could have encouraged mom to do to bring more assurance to her little girl?

Since becoming a mom, I’ve become a lot more sensitive regarding children’s issues. Before I became a mom, I didn’t used to cry everytime I’d hear news stories about children getting abused or killed or injured in a terrible accident. I’d think it was awful, but I wouldn’t necessarily cry over it. Now, it’s not unusual for me to be sobbing after I see or read awful stories about children dying in accidents or getting abused. This was why I was hesitant to be in an ED. The pediatric ED is likely where one would see abuse cases or trauma, and I didn’t want to get emotional about seeing kids this way. I didn’t want that experience on my first day in my Pediatric rotation, yet the ED was where I was randomly assigned. I didn’t object to the assignment, because I felt it was the universe’s way to have me face my fears. No trauma brought me to tears that day; instead, a seemingly simple procedure and interaction caused me to cry.

A nurse on the unit saw me tearing up in the hallway and asked if I was okay. I was in denial and said I was, but started to cry. I then explained how I felt awful, like I was assaulting this little girl, when I know logically, I wasn’t and her nurses and I were doing the best we could for her. This nurse pointed out that at least I cared. What if I were a nurse that didn’t care if I had to perform an invasive procedure on a patient multiple times? In retrospect, I also realize that caring about the wellbeing of this little girl is what had us push through, despite the patient’s tears and cries.

I’m passionate about children and have considered Pediatrics as a possible specialty when I graduate. However, I recognize my sensitivity and don’t want to have to emotionally regulate myself every day I work. I care about people, but never want my emotions getting in the way of what must be done. I don’t believe my emotions stopped me from providing the best nursing care I could have provided that day. When the nurse found me crying, I had already left the patient room and completed my rotation for the morning; I was waiting in a hallway for my instructor to meet me and mulling over my experience. Because I care, I want to know and understand what I could have done better. If I encounter something like that again, I want to know how I could influence things to go more smoothly and have a better outcome.

I spoke with a doctor friend of mine who explained she was starting to feel burnt out: She does what she can for a patient to prevent something from happening, but it happens anyway. It’s frustrating, but that’s medicine/healthcare/nursing – that’s life. We can do our best, and sometimes, that still won’t result in the outcome we wanted. I know I did my best, but it didn’t result in the outcome I wanted on my first day of my Pediatrics rotation. I’m still new and my “best” can only improve with more knowledge and experience. I may be afraid of my emotions being a weakness, but I recognize it’s also a strength that drives me to want to do better for my patients. I’m still not sure if the Pediatric specialty is for me, but I know I’m committed to doing better.

What I Learned at Preschool

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I attended my first parent-teacher conference this week for my preschool daughter.  I had wrapped up my final exams just two days before.  While my own grades were still unknown, my husband and I learned about my toddler’s progress and “grades”.  We got a snapshot of where she was as far as cognitive skills, emotional development, gross motor/fine motor, and social skills. My daughter’s ratings were “P”, “B”, or “D” for her various skills.

I asked the teacher, “What do the letters mean?”

She replied “P is for proficient.  B is for building”. 

I then inquired, “Is D for deficient?”

She said with a laugh, “No, D is for developing.” 

In a prior Facebook and Instagram post, I shared how a professor described my “deficiency” after a clinical simulation and provided solely negative feedback to me.  I was unexpectedly triggered by my own insecurities at my daughter’s preschool review, thinking “D” meant “deficient” for areas where she could use more work.  Instead, the areas where she could improve are ones in which she is still “developing”.  What if I gave myself the grace and focused on how I am still developing?  What if I transformed “deficient” to “developing?”  Stating, “I’m developing a skill” elicits a very different response and attitude from, “I’m deficient in a skill.” 

What if I transformed ‘deficient’ to ‘developing’? Stating, “I’m developing a skill,” elicits a very different response and attitude from, “I’m deficient in a skill.”

The Mature Student Nurse

I got emotional during the conference and started to cry. I cried at the recognition of myself in my daughter.  I cried about projecting myself on her progress and development.  In a moment, I felt my issues had me resigned to suck at parenting.  The traits and behaviors I notice in myself that I try to “fix” or change show up strongly in my daughter: stubbornness, perfectionism, and inflexibility.

  • She may give up on doing something if she notices she is not doing it perfectly.
    • She was doing a cutting exercise with scissors but just gave up and decided not to do it because she saw she wasn’t exactly following the cutting line.
    • I have multiple calligraphy sets that I don’t use because I get discouraged with how my writing ends up looking – even though I know the whole point is to practice.
  • She can be very driven and direct herself, but so much so where she does not welcome working in teams.
    • She loves working on puzzles by herself, but she gets upset when her classmates try to join her.
    • I sometimes find it challenging working on group projects. I dread them at times. 
  • She can fixate on things and become emotionally derailed if things do not go as she planned.
    • She melts down over clothing. 
    • I go into panic mode over a bad test grade.
  • She gets an all-or-nothing attitude.
    • She was supposed to draw a picture of herself.  She started, but was unhappy with how it turned out. She erased the image and tried to re-draw the picture, but never finished.
    • Because I want to do things perfectly, I can take a long time doing things or worse, I won’t do it at all.

I realize my daughter will naturally take on her parents’ traits – good AND bad, whether we purposefully do this or not.  How can I expect her to act differently when I do not know how to do this for myself?  How can I give her tools I do not have?  To an extent, I realize my stubbornness and perfectionism has served me well and allowed me to get into a very competitive nursing program.  However, I also recognize where it has not served me. 

I’ve heard the saying, “the enemy of great is good enough,” but I know my issue can be summarized as “perfection is the enemy of good enough.”  I can get overwhelmed or paralyzed from not being able to do things perfectly or exactly the way I think I should.  Comically, I now recognize that my perfectionism is what had me put so much pressure on myself as a parent that I was driven to tears at my daughter’s parent-teacher conference. 

I would not want to label my daughter as “deficient,” so why am I so quick to label myself this way?  My daughter is DEVELOPING. So am I. 

The acknowledgement that I am still developing is a gift and empowering.  I can work with that.  If I want my daughter to know that it is okay to make mistakes and pursue projects imperfectly, I need to demonstrate that.  Before I can change my behavior, I need to notice it.  I see how my behavior impacts my life (and my daughter’s). I can do something about it now that I recognize it.  I am figuring it out as I go along. I feel lost at times and may not make the best choices, but I’m trying – I am still developing.

A New Beginning – the First Day of Nursing School

I was so anxious and nervous about my first day of school this past Monday that I could barely sleep the night before. I kept my husband up most of the evening verbalizing all my worries about the start of Nursing School. It didn’t help that my toddler came into our room in the middle of the night crying; needless to say, I was tired for my first day of school.

Aside from lecture 9a-3p on my first day, I ran around campus and collected my student and nursing school identification cards, picked up my scrubs/nursing school uniform and ATI booklets, and paid for my lab skills backpack. I then commuted through L.A. traffic and made it home in time to pick up my daughter from daycare before 5p. I felt like I accomplished a lot in just the first day; I think adrenaline and/or caffeine is what kept me going. Despite the tiredness or overwhelm, it felt so satisfying to finally start Nursing School. I had worked so hard to get to Nursing School, and the day had finally arrived! I was exhausted after that first day (and second, to be honest) but happy.

If you’re feeling hesitant to start something new or are growing weary pursuing your dreams, know that the culmination of your efforts is worth it. I shared a quote via Instagram tied to my first day of school, but I thought it was worth sharing here, too: “The best time for new beginnings is now”. I just wanted to give people encouragement, especially those who are contemplating a career change or starting something new. This quote is a great reminder not just in regards to career or education, but also for healthy habits, relationships, etc. There’s always an opportunity to try or learn something new – cheers to new beginnings!

Clearance Checklist Complete!

This list makes me giddy…and is a sign that I’ve completed my background check & clearance for school!

I’m a checklist person, and this list is so satisfying!   Anyone else use checklists and feel happy when all tasks are completed?  Completed checklists instill a feeling of accomplishment and productivity for me.  I love the visual cues and color-coding, too!  No “Incomplete” reds or “In Review” yellows here! I mean, just look at all that “Complete” GREEN!

My to-do list for my background check and clearance for my nursing program is finally complete! Some of the things I had to do or submit before school started were a criminal background check, drug screening, immunizations and titers (immunization records were not enough), CPR/Basic Life Support Certification, Hospital Fire & Life Safety certification, physician’s physical examination and respirator clearance, and HIPAA Certification. I had many items on my list already done since I volunteer at a local hospital, but there were many school-requirements not needed by my volunteer program or that were about to expire.  Even if I had the task or item complete, it took time to scan and upload all the documentation and more time for the background-check company to review and “approve” the submission.

TIP: Gather and electronically scan all your immunization records because immunization requirements (or waivers) are standard for working in a hospital setting.  Have your certifications available too.  An instructor advised me that I would need to provide these items regularly since each hospital/clinical site has their own clearance process and some things must be done annually or periodically as a healthcare worker. Having these records readily available and organized saves time and allows self-tracking of upcoming expiration dates. 

If you already collect and organize your documentation, I’d love to hear what organization system you use! How do you keep track of tasks you need to accomplish? Share your tips in the comments below!

Comfort Wisdom

Taken by #thematurestudentnurse from the trails surrounding Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (Culver City, CA)

I enjoyed spending time with a friend hiking some local hills this morning. It was perfect weather and we got to enjoy some pretty wildflowers and scenic views.  I so appreciate carefree timelessness with friends. I don’t often have a lot of free time being a wife, mom, volunteer, and student pursuing a second career. However, I recognize how restorative it is for me to spend time connecting with others and exploring my neighborhood.

What nourishes or comforts you? It’s important to understand what brings you joy or soothes you. Identify what that is and make a list you can reference periodically.  In times of stress, you can choose healthy coping mechanisms from that list or at least be aware of what you can do to nourish and restore yourself. In “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Brene Brown refers to having this list as comfort wisdom. Brene Brown asks her readers to distinguish between what we use to numb ourselves versus what comforts and refuels us.  It helps to have this self-awareness, particularly because it’s easy to confuse numbing or escape for comfort.

I developed my “comfort wisdom” list years ago after taking an online Oprah course with Brene Brown, compliments of my employer’s women’s resource group. The list of what comforts me still applies today.  At the top of my list is “intimate sharing and time with loved ones”. Also included is “travel & exploration” and “hikes, walks, and exercise” among other activities. I am grateful I was able to incorporate multiple items from my comfort wisdom today, particularly before I begin an intensive nursing program.  I’ve discovered I have more joy and peace in my life when I use my comfort wisdom.

Identify and develop your own comfort wisdom.  Once you make that list, regularly incorporate items or activities from that list into your life.  You may find you have to schedule time for it.  My friend and I planned this hike over a month ago and even had to reschedule a couple times due to illness and then out-of-town guests visiting, but we were committed to spending time with one another.  Everyone has their own comfort wisdom; something that refuels me may not refuel you.  As an extrovert, I love hanging out with groups of friends and meeting new people.  In contrast, my introverted husband would be exhausted doing the same thing.  Honor yourself by using your comfort wisdom and refueling periodically – I know it’s a practice I’ll need to do for myself in nursing school and in my future career! 

My Encounter with Discrimination in Healthcare

On my volunteer shift in the Emergency Room recently, I (along with many other staff members) overheard a heated discussion between a male patient and one of the charge nurses behind patient curtains. The patient was trying to clarify he wasn’t demanding a white nurse, but that he insisted on having an older female nurse. He did not want the black male nurse assigned to him. After the charge nurse explained his request would not be granted, he passionately responded that he wanted someone with more experience; to him, that implied an “older” nurse. The charge nurse assured him that his nurse had many years of experience. The patient assumed his nurse would be a woman because he thought all nurses were women. He argued he had been to the hospital numerous times and proclaimed, “I’ve never had a male nurse!” After some back and forth, the patient confessed he didn’t want a man handling his penis to insert a urinary catheter.

The whole interaction was interesting to me because I am an an older nursing student. When I become a new BSN grad, I will have relatively little experience but will be older than many new graduates. Age does not correlate to relevant work experience or skill-level. Many working nurses I encounter while volunteering may be younger than me, but have many more years of nursing experience. This patient erroneously believed an older nurse would automatically have more expertise in a common procedure than a young nurse.

The encounter was not only an example of ageism, but sexism. Yes, there seems to be more female nurses than male nurses. The patient was adamant that he never knew male nurses existed. The patient was an older man, so it’s quite possible his earlier experiences with nurses in a doctor’s office or hospitals were with female nurses. The demographics are changing, however, and quite frankly, I think that’s a good thing. We need healthcare professionals to be as diverse as the patients they serve. This patient needed a gentle reminder that experience, not gender, make nurses more skilled at procedures.

The black male nurse eventually did what needed to be done for the patient. A while later, the man graciously reported to the charge nurse, “He did a great job!” The patient continued to loudly and excitedly share what a surprisingly wonderful experience he had with his nurse. The same staff that overheard the earlier conversation and I looked at each other and smiled in amusement. Happily, it was a great teaching moment for the patient, but also for myself.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I’ve read about patients getting discriminated against or experiencing implicit bias from their providers, but healthcare professionals also experience discrimination from their patients, and the interaction I witnessed was a reminder of that. I have yet to have a patient make discriminating remarks directed towards me, but I know that may happen one day. I’m not quite sure how I’ll react, and I wonder if I’ll learn anything about this in my ABSN program. I want my patients to have the best experience and outcomes possible, but does that mean I should ask to be removed from their case if they don’t like me and are therefore uncomfortable due to my race, age, gender, or orientation? In accommodating a prejudiced patient’s request, are we enabling discrimination or giving them better care by making them comfortable? It’s a complex issue.

Luckily, the interaction I witnessed de-escalated and had a good outcome. What if the patient became more hostile instead of agreeable? Would he have been assigned another nurse? What if the patient thought his nurse did a terrible job? Are there hospital policies for situations like this? I really respect the charge nurse and nurse in the situation, who remained professional and respectful throughout the whole interaction. For me, I learned how a nurse should respond to a prejudiced patient: Be respectful but firm, and assure the patient they are in good care. I hope to maintain my composure and act the same way, should I ever encounter a similar situation with a patient.