I’m a nurse with more than 30 years of OR experience who has undergone my fair share of surgeries. Recently, an elective procedure mishap resulted in four subsequent surgeries over the course of five months — two of which were emergent. My medical odyssey provided me with a firsthand perspective of how vulnerable patients feel when they put their lives into our hands.
During my journey, I witnessed staff performing their duties by rote, sometimes taking the process for granted, not realizing it is anything but routine from the patient’s perspective. Through my surgeries, I realized what it’s like to be a patient who is afraid, vulnerable and needing to experience the humanity of health care. I cannot overstate the importance of stepping out from behind the mask to provide compassionate care for each one of your patients. Here are three principles that now inform my daily interactions with patients and their family members.