I worked 7a.m. to 3p.m. today. I work as a nurse at an Assisted Living Center. This facility has independent clients and those who are capable of living on their own still but require a small amount of assistance i.e. getting their correct medications and assistance with showering etc. During my shift today, the value of 5 extra minutes became very clear to me and I decided it was too important not to share it with you.
This is my ultimate dream job! I have worked at this facility for about 7 months now. I will work there probably until I, myself need to become a resident..lol.. There are many reasons why I say this, on one note I am kidding, on the other I am quite serious. You see when I became a nurse, my vision of being a nurse was being one who cared for their patients with patience, kindness and compassion. A nurse who held herself as a nurse, to a high standard of care that is to be given to EVERY patient. It is of great importance to give the same care to my patients as I would give to any member of my very own loved ones. The quality of work speaks of my character. For me it is not and NEVER has been about how many patients one nurse can possibly be assigned to in a shift, while watching them drown trying to give the deserved care to each of those patients in the allotted whopping 2 minutes a piece. Yes my friends, the last report I read regarding skilled care given to a patient in a long term care facility, it was roughly about 2 minutes each. So for those of you who do not know the process, this gives us 2 huge, little minutes to knock, address ourselves to the patient, wash hands, check identity of patient, give medication or what ever care the patient needs, wash hands, ask if they need anything else while making sure they are safe and their call light is in reach (knowing full well we have NOT a second for any extras )and scurry onto the next human being in line. We have all been there, rushing through our day as we make a gallant effort to complete ALL the tasks on our mile long lists of things to do during our day. If we take a minute I am sure we could all re-evaluate our day and recognize at LEAST ONE time, we had to cut someone short during a conversation to answer a call or put out a fire so to speak. I am sure we have all felt we could have been a little more compassionate to someone needing just a minute of our undivided attention that they did not receive.
An extra 5 minutes isn’t a large amount of time is it? Let me share with you what an extra 5 minutes of time did for me today. An extra 5 minutes of time allowed me to carefully and thoroughly go through my Medication administration record for my patient, making sure I didn’t miss anything. An extra 5 minutes allowed me to be relaxed and with a smile on my face knock on my patients apartment door, greet them with a genuine smile and say”Good morning, how are you this morning?” It allows me to give them time to finish what ever it was they were doing when I knocked on the door, actually stand there to make sure they consume their medication AND answer any questions they might have. Now here is the REAL treat, I have an extra 5 minutes to stand there and listen to my patient and hear them. This might mean listening to them talk about a visit they had yesterday or about their son or daughter, their grandchildren, or their Dr. appt or simply just about how much they miss their spouse that passed away. That extra 5 minutes my friends to just BE THERE for them to have a quick chat or just to listen with a smile on my face, not rushing them, not letting what they are saying go in one in and out the other because I am thinking of the million other patients I have to move onto next. Those extra 5 minutes are golden. I will never take those extra 5 minutes for granted.
An extra 5 minutes can change the entire momentum of one’s day. We are all in such a rush in todays times. We have kids to get off to school. Spouses to get off to work. We get ourselves ready for work or tasks we need to complete for the day. We cross paths with many people throughout our day. Take a moment and think how it could change your day IF you just took 5 extra minutes to treat someone how you want to be treated, 5 extra minutes to answer someone’s question and focus on your answer to them. Think of being less stressed by JUST TAKING 5 extra minutes to acknowledge someone and ask them how their day is, rather than asking as you continue to walk past them.. Put yourself in the shoes of the person across from you. How would YOU feel if they took an extra 5 minutes to make you feel as if you and your needs were important. Far too often we get caught up in our own responsibilities and do not take note of how we are received by those we rush past, rush through conversations with, rush through needed care etc. Think for a moment how our children might feel if we took an extra 5 minutes to HEAR what went on during their day, how our spouse might feel if we took an extra 5 minutes to listen to them when they are telling us what they need from us, or to give them those 5 extra minutes to just be present for them. How valuable could 5 extra minutes be for you?