Nurse Helps Patient Find Calm in the Storm
Radio disc jockey Kellie Michaels wasn’t expecting an emotional roller coaster after coming out of surgery, but there it was—anxiety, discomfort and an intense desire to go home—all culminating in what she described as “a mini-meltdown.”
“I asked the nurse to let me go home, even though I knew he couldn’t make that call,” Kellie said. “The feelings ranged from being uncomfortable to feeling very confined to the bed and not being able to get up and move around. What he did next really made a huge difference, though.”
Bryce Damery, RN, knelt down by the bed and explained what he could do to help, the kind of medication available and why going home was not an option at that time. He and the rest of the nursing team checked in regularly, taking vitals and providing pain medication as necessary.
For Bryce, empathy is an important part of being a nurse. When he sees a patient like Kellie experiencing high stress, he encourages them to talk through their feelings. He believes in the power of small gestures: a fresh glass of water, a warm wash cloth, encouraging a patient to call a friend or family member. He also knows when to give a patient space.
“Sometimes people are too emotional to talk, and it’s usually best to just give them time to calm down, then revisit and try to work things out,” he said. “I try to imagine myself in the patient’s situation and think about what I would want or appreciate in that situation.”
For Kellie who was feeling alone and anxious, Bryce’s approach made a huge difference during her hospital stay.
“It takes a special person to feel someone’s pain, and Bryce made me feel not so alone,” she said. “Having a caring nurse and staff is as important as any other aspect of the experience.”