By Benjamin Castells
As nurses, what we do matters to someone, even if we don’t notice it right away, or at all.
As a nurse in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill., I was on call and received a page in the middle of the night. Someone was having an active heart attack.
Once our nursing team arrived, we prepared our room and equipment, and the patient was brought to the lab. This man was Spanish speaking and very nervous. I spoke to him in Spanish and reassured him that we would do everything we could to make him feel better.
After the intervention was successfully completed, we took our patient to the intensive care unit, where he could rest and recover. On my way out of the hospital, I was walked through the waiting area and noticed a man who was pacing back and forth, looking very nervous. I approached him and asked if he was waiting for someone. He explained that he was waiting to hear about his brother, who came in with a heart attack. I told him that everything had gone very well and that he was recovering. When he heard the news, he gave me a big hug and began to cry. He told me that the patient was the only family he had left and did not know what he would do if he had lost his brother. I took him to his brother’s room, and after speaking together for a few minutes, I left the hospital.
On my way home, I kept thinking that if I had left a few minutes later or through a different route back to my car, I would have never run into this man’s brother and seen what impact our team had not only on the patient, but to his only family member!
As health care workers, no matter what department we work in, or if we doubt we’re making a difference, know we are! We make a difference in the lives of our patients, their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. Even if we do not see it, it’s happening.