Saturday, March 31, 2007

my juxtapostion

Saturday, March 31, 2007
on reflection, i know what brought on that torrential surge of anger i felt: having to juxtapose the following two situations, about myself, for myself.

1. in my role as an RN on a post-surgical ward @ a major tertiary hospital in the vancouver metropolitan area, having the hospital's staffing clerk refuse my request for a nurse's aide to sit with a critically ill patient with a tracheostomy that pt kept tugging at - ie as if to pull it out of his throat. i, having 8 other acutely ill patients requiring many bedside interventions, could not ensure personally his safety. this goes against everything expressed in the Standards of Practice for Registered Nurses, set by the College Registered Nurses of any region. such standards, i think of as largely 'universal.' still, in this situation cost determined care received by this patient, not science or ethics.

2. in my role as one of the first group of 8 RNs hired to work @ the Supervised Injection Site, sitting in a reasonably expensive restaurant - Steamworks - having dinner and a drink, all paid for by 'the company' - the consortium of various levels of gov't and a private gov't-assisted charity. the dinner - an 'informal gathering' of all the new staffing of the place, one of several help prior to its opening. the 'training', took place over three weeks, and involved a hot lunch for all staff each day, fully paid. the decor of the new injection site for intravenous drug users appeared ostentatiously posh for its purpose.

how does one nurse place those two situations side-by-side in her head, heart, soul, spirit? clearly, i had great trouble with this angel ... i wrestled it a while, unsuccessfully. experiencing the two worlds, side by side prompted a violent clash within myself. to witness such suffering, as i did in the hospital setting. such under-attended suffering. and more suffering directly caused by under-attention to our patients. under attention, because the system has no capacity to afford them what it purports to offer - health care. and many, oh so many, slip thru the cracks. and often time a nurse is one of the few that try to grasp hold of these few specs that are quickly getting flushed down the drain. another porcelain heart breaks with each one which the tide sweeps away from grasp.

many nurses, perhaps, never considered their practice and all its rich and varied encounters in this light. indeed, its taken me years - and a firm decision to abandon the profession for good - to allow myself to see things in the light. each suffering phase brings metamorphosis, tho one only sees that as one emerges from the other side of the dark forest of anguish. to pinpoint what metamorphosis .... perhaps may honour the patient and their suffering. suffering has a purpose. i wonder what i will find if i explore my nursing career with that lense on my scope?