Hospice nursing and waiting on springs arrival

I find myself anticipating spring and summer like most of us….eagerly waiting for that first sunny warmer day to run around outdoors…dreaming of fishing off the dock in the sun, planning summer weekend getaways in the mountains, or the ocean coast line of Maine, deck barbecues,  bonfires, riding with top down in my PT cruiser, jumping on the back of Nicks Harley….oh the anticipation of all the joys……..and each day I go to work…to another patients home I am confronted by the real fact of life that some of my patients won’t make it to spring…much less summer.  A big part of my job in giving care is also sharing their memories and I find myself leaving each home with a heavy heart for those who will not get to anticipate their spring.  Each season in hospice nursing I have discovered has its own unique set of hurdles for me to personally overcome. Some how I have to balance my feelings with the feelings of my patient…..somehow I have to suppress my feelings of joy of spring so as not to inadvertently hurt the feelings of my patient who won’t see spring…..boy and I thought the Thanksgiving and Christmas season was tough in hospice, it’s nothing compared to waiting on spring..and taking care of someone who no longer has a spring coming to them.

So again my dear Lord I pray make me your instrument to do your will and to find the right words to bring comfort to those who I cross from my world over the threshold of their doorstep into their world.

HOSPICE nurse boundaries

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This is my 2nd blog post….lets talk about boundaries in hospice and for that matter any kind of nursing job. I know I get paid to do this…to be a nurse…but sometimes I go out from my door into the life outside my life at home to give nursing care and I realize it’s what I have always done…give care…now I have a label on it…Nurse…just nurse…it’s who I am defined as now…I’m a nurse…but haven’t I always been a nurse even without the state of new yorks nursing board license that I worked so hard to achieve.
One of the very first things we learned in nursing school, besides how to give bed baths the correct most efficient way was to not cross boundaries. Wow every single day this is the toughest part of now being an official bona fide licensed nurse. Rules to follow…those I have been able to master…I know to do my medication checks, I know must be sterile during sterile procedures, I know I must read constantly to keep myself up to date and to gather information about each new disease process I encounter with each new patient I am assigned too…yes this is all very easy to to accomplish. But crossing boundaries while giving nursing care is by far the hardest thing to avoid in nursing. I have thought often about why this is the hardest part for me and I finally understand because I care…CARE…care for others often like I care for my family. I’m entering someone’s life when I leave my own doorstep and so at my doorstep I have to leave the part of me that makes me who I am. Each time I find myself wanting to give more to my patient and to the patients loved one that’s when the rule of nursing against crossing boundaries comes up against me, slamming me into a emotional chaos that I the professional licensed nurse must overcome……do I do this successfully? I don’t know all I know it’s a struggle to not to want to reach out beyond the confines of my professional life and give myself fully as the caring person that I am. It’s taught to us that it is not beneficial to the patient and family to cross boundaries and intellectually I do completely understand this and so I strive to commit to this nursing rule….but I like other caring nurses out there find this hard to achieve…and so today again, I say a prayer before I cross my doorstep to enter into another’s world…”please God let me be your instrument, let my hands be your guiding hands of care, and dear Lord, help me to help myself so that when I return home I feel like I did your will and leave me with no guilty feelings of wishing I had done more”. That is my daily prayer.

My very first blog- hospice nursing

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I became a hospice nurse 4 months ago…after having worked only in nursing homes for past 4 years of this new career of nursing of mine. I came in late in the game of nursing….graduated in 2009 and passed the infamous nursing board exam know as NCLEX to land my first job as a novice nurse in a local nursing home.

I still somedays feel like a newbie nurse….other days my nursing comes on like automatic pilot. I’m learning to balance the wishes of the family caregiver to the needs of the patient….I myself must remember that the patient does not belong solely to me…he or she is someone’s loved one and I am a participant in the care for their loved one.

People say to me all the time “how do you do hospice nursing…it’s sooo hard and sooo sad”. here is a typical senario day for me……laughing and sharing stories with 90 plus year old couple, singing old songs with another 80 plus year old couple, connecting with a family member close to my age who is lonely and tired from caregiving….yes I give nursing care, do bed baths and change wound dressings, and hold the hand for someone’s last breath, yes I witness tears and fears, but there is sooooo much joy as well.