Monday, February 2, 2009

Reach out and touch someone

Well, did I ever sound self-righteous in that first blog. Sor-ry!

The truth is, I became a nurse for a bunch of completely self-righteous reasons which I still completely, foolishly, naively, stubbornly believe in. Before I became a nurse practitioner, I worked for a few years for not-for-profit groups in public affairs and public relations. It was fun and exciting and I even was quoted saying insightful things in the media, but it wasn't really fulfilling.

Then I met some very cool nurses and nurse practitioners, and thought that nursing would be a noble yet grounded way to help people.

Yes, help people. I know, it sounds pathetic and girlie, but it's true.

Years later, after being vomited and pissed on and having seen more bodily fluids than I thought the human body contains, I still think so. Maybe even more so. Every patient is like a story, and I feel sometimes humbled, sometimes overwhelmed by the privilege of listening to them.

Oops, self-righteous again. Sor-ry x 2.

Which brings me to the topic of today's post. Finally.

Today, I sat in a computer chair zombie-style for 6 hours entering everything I could find from patients' "paper charts" into a fancy if soulless computerized medical record. Part of me was thrilled to think I'd be able to read what I'd written with the click of a mouse, rather than squinting and turning pages upside down and sideways to try to figure out what the hell I had written in my increasingly heiroglyphic-like handwriting.

Don't get me wrong, I have a thing for computers. They are amazing, wondrous contraptions on which I have come to be very dependent. But they're not a substitute for what makes nursing unique.

Today I reached out and touched, but it was a computer keyboard.

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