Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving at Work!

It has been a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day, though I spent it at work. It was one of the best work days I've had.

To my delight, we had two nurse aides working. I'm not a slacker, but I distinctly feel that 13 patients (the most I've had alone) is too many for one aide to care for well. I am dissatisfied when I am unable (at a minimum) to thoroughly wash all of my patients and fulfill their requests. In 12 hours, one cannot thoroughly bathe 13 total care patients, pass trays, take vital signs and weights, and all the other various duties of the aide position. Personally, I think 6-7 patients per aide to be the ideal ratio for providing effective and efficient care. Hence my delight in having two aides yesterday.

In addition to the fact that I was caring for a number of patients within my ideal range, the nurses I was working with were some of my favorite nurses - nurses who are compassionate, industrious, and willing to help in whatever way necessary. My fellow aide was also of this type. I knew it would be a good day.

As if that weren't enough, there was food. Oh, yes. My co-workers had planned for a brunch and lots of pot-lucky food. So I broke my personal code and had a piece of chocolate at 8 am, only one hour into the day. The cafeteria provided a Thanksgiving brunch for workers, but I barely touched what they gave. We had better on the unit. While I covered the floor, my fellow aide cooked up blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and omelet. Some of the other nurses provided fruit trays and dip, caramel corn, fruit breads, danish, and so much more. It was almost too good to eat.

And as if that weren't enough, more than half of my patients were unusually pleasant people. I'm pretty used to the thanklessness of the job. I mean, when you're in pain and people are poking you and prodding you all over, and you can't do anything for yourself, it's understandable for you not to really be very polite or express any gratefulness to the pokers and prodders. But more than half of these patients said thank you, spoke pleasantly, and worked with me. It was so very nice! On days like these, I feel like I'm going to see a new friend every time I enter a patient's room.

When it came to baths, one of my patients was independent care, so after changing her bed, I had only to leave her with towels, washcloths, and soap. The others, were total care (except one who was partial care), but were so extremely obliging that bathing was cooperative task and not a battle. I was done with morning bathing before twelve o' clock trays and my two afternoon baths left me with plenty of time for lunch and various tasks. Vital signs and weights were finished an hour before I usually finish them giving me an opportunity to put in a Foley (urinary) catheter (I'm always ready to jump at a chance to perform sterile procedures) under the supervision of a nurse. To my relief, the task was easier than it often is and the patient tolerated it well. My duties were completed before the new shift came on, and I was able to leave just as the clock struck 7:20pm.

When I arrived home (only slightly hungry) leftovers were waiting for me and better than that, David and Karen were there playing cards. We played Rummy for a bit, then went to the barn to watch "Faith Like Potatoes". David and I were both exhausted by the time devotions were finished but then we got talking and before we knew it, 12:00 had rolled around.

Thus ended a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'll thank God for many more like it.

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