A common thread

Two weeks into my Acute (third) term in this program, I find myself feeling inspired on a daily basis. On Tuesday, I shadowed a nurse who, based on my observation, is exactly the kind of nurse that I want to become. She was incredibly competent and every single thing she did throughout her busy day was patient centered. My patient these past three days is a real life example of what resiliency and strength looks like and I feel so thankful to have become a part of her journey. Today, I got to see what a balancing act floor nursing really is and how a wonderful nurse is able to manage it. And then, I was able to attend “Ethics Rounds” today at lunch. Talk about inspirational!

I don’t know what my expectations were when I walked into that room but they were exceeded in every possible way. Various medical professionals chose to attend and the topic today was counter transference. However, this was no conceptual lecture, nor was it a time to “fix” a problem. This was a time dedicated to voluntary sharing of stories about patients that someone became emotionally connected to. Many people shared emotional stories of patients that they’ve lost, patients that reminded them of themselves, a loved one, or just one that for whatever reason really tugged at their heart. It was a safe space to discuss these very personal and moving stories and I was so impressed that this hospital (and many others nation wide) set aside this time to have these very discussions.

I was also struck by how many of those stories came from physicians today (some of whom were surgeons). It is so very easy to begin to buy into stereotypes about each field in some way- nurses care, doctors solve medical puzzles, surgeons are cold, etc. It was a humbling and profoundly moving reminder that all of us in this field share a common thread of caring, and of wanting to be helping professionals. In so many ways, today exemplified the new model that we are moving towards in this school, and in the medical system of interprofessional collaboration. Various professions came together to talk about the thing we all share. We all have so much to offer to a team.

It was also a perfect example of how very difficult this work can be, and how we all have to find a way to maintain a balance. Allowing yourself to be somewhat emotionally involved with your patient allows for truly compassionate and genuine care. Caring too much isn’t good for you or your patient- they should never want to comfort you! And, when something is particularly difficult, it’s so important to find those ways of coping. Learning how to hold that line will have growing pains but I believe events like this one help everyone to learn from one another and become better care providers because of it. I will hold today’s experience as a reminder, and will forever try to be mindful of all of my colleagues’ caring.

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About the Author

Jenna Cerny has lived all over the place but considers the NW home and loves Portland so far. She worked as a caseworker for child protective services before deciding to pursue nursing school. She is currently in the Accelerated BSN program here at OHSU and she intends to go into pediatric nursing. She also loves animals, the outdoors, attempting to cook, reading, writing, singing karaoke, and watching football/hockey.
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