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undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Got angry at/for a patient...

And I'm still troubled by it.

A young woman was brought in by police a self-inflicted laceration. At first it just seemed like your run-of-the-mill angsty teen cutting.

So I brought her in, pulled up a chair, and said..... "start from the beginning".

And she talked, and I listened, and she cried, and I held her hand.

http://www.twloha.com/vision/
Turns out this young mom, just a few weeks postpartum, was beat up by her husband. Lumps and bruises all over her. We had an inservice last term from a nurse who works in a women's shelter who talked about the dangers of strangulation in family violence; she had a big hand-sized bruise across her throat.

"But don't write any of that down," she said. "My hormones got the better of me. I was asking for it."

I told her about her resources and her options, but she didn't want to hear it. She didn't want to acknowledge that her husband laid his hands on her, hurt her, scared her. Hurt her so much that she told me "if he hurt me, why shouldn't I hurt myself?" and she cut herself to cope.

I know family violence happens. I know that women statistically have to ask for help 7 times before they commit to a change... but part of me just wanted to shake her and say "you can do better than him! He CAN'T do that to you!"

I know all that but I still wanted to go and knock him out. I was really upset and talked about it with my fellow students and nurses, but man. I'm really bothered by this one.

At the end of it, I told her that if she EVER felt like she had nowhere safe to go, she could come to our ER and we'd take care of her. She burst into tears. What more could I say?

You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption.  We're seeing it happen.  We're seeing lives change as people get the help they need.  People sitting across from a counselor for the first time.  People stepping into treatment.  In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline.  We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take.  We want to say here that it's worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it's possible to change.  - To Write Love On Her Arms

3 comments:

Zazzy Episodes said...

Awww that is so terrible and sad to hear. I am so happy you were there to take the time to listen to her problem and story.
You are right for the passion you have inside for wanting this patient to stand up for herself. I'd want to knock some sense into that hubby of hers too!
What great advice you gave to her to know she can always come to the ER, I just pray that the other employees are as caring as you the next time if/when she decides to come it.

Cartoon Characters said...

I would see similar working in L&D. Our unit had a poster in every washroom of each room along with cards and a number on it as to whom they can call 24/7. Eventually it sinks in, and hopefully they will remember the information you gave and will act on it. It's all you can hope for. I am sure your listening to her meant the world...and you would be surprised how much it will help her-even though it doesn't seems so at the time.
btw, "To Write Love On Her Arms" - one of my fav NPOs...

E. Sheppard said...

Yes, I agree with Cartoon Characters. You may have done a LOT of good for that person. As you probably know, it takes a lot of courage to finally leave an abuser. Most of the time the abused person goes back to the situation. You were so kind to take her under your wing and talk to her. It probably made a great impression and she will remember it and may help her take action because of it someday.

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Thanks for your thoughts :)