Sensitive Saturday: TLC

We all need tender loving care at some point in our lives.

As nurses we are trained to provide care mentally, emotionally and physically. Over the years nursing has deteriorated . Not because of nurses not wanting to provide the care but because nurses are overworked. Health care facilities are not providing  enough nurses, proper staffing, nursing assistants, respiratory therapist or other health care providers. Due to the shortage of staffing, nurses are doing the basic care just to get by their shift.

I remember receiving an elderly patient that was admitted for S.O.B. He was already hospitalized for three days when I received him. While I was doing his head to toe assessment, I noticed his feet were dirty and his toenails long. He lived alone and had no one to help take care of him. My day was ugly as always with eight patients. I told him that I would wash his feet and clip his toenails. He responded as if he did not believe me and why should he – we was already there for three days and no one showed any concern over his feet.

My day became worse and the TLC that I had planned for him seemed to be getting further away. Yet I was determined to keep my word. I rushed and obtained a pan of warm water with soap and some towels. I had him sit in the chair and soak his feet. I told him to stay there for 15-20 minutes and I would return. I came back to him, and scrubbed his feet, clipped his toenails, lotioned him up and gave him a nice massage. He was in heaven. He told me that I am the only nurse that commented on his feet and actually did something about it and for that he will forever be grateful.

That day I skipped lunch, instead,  giving him a pedicure. It was the only day that I had him as a patient. He was discharged the next day.

One week later the CEO came to my floor and gave me a Daisy Award. He received a letter from my patient giving thanks for the extra mile that I went to provide care. But in reality I didn’t go the extra mile because it’s all part of nursing. If management and administrators can only see that TLC is part of nursing and not an “extra mile”, maybe then they will improve staffing. My patient also sent me a card thanking me. That was about 10 years ago and I still have the card in a box among the many cards that I have received from other patients. I read them from time to time when my spirit is down. They remind me of why I became a nurse. They too are giving me TENDER LOVING CARE  with their cards.



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