Authors

  1. Picard, Maryann MSW, BSN

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Instead of limiting self-reflection to nurses, let's also ask patients for their perspective. With a laptop and an interested patient, we'd hear the other side of the story. Asking them to tell it validates their experiences and expands our understanding.

 

I once cared for a patient who was paralyzed from the neck down. He was middle-aged, had been in an accident, and complained about everything. He was so demanding that no one wanted to care for him. My team of nurses decided we'd go to him before he could call us. Anyone walking down the hall would stop in his room to ask if he needed anything. After several days, he began to change. He started joking with us. A year after his discharge, he came back to visit. He had regained his mobility. He talked about how terrified he'd been after his accident, about how he'd feared he might start choking while alone. Fear had dominated his early recovery, he said, and it lessened only when he began to trust us.

 

Robert Burns said it best in "To a Louse": "O would some Power the gift to give us / To see ourselves as others see us!!"

 

Maryann Picard, MSW, BSN

 

Brecksville, OH

 

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