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What small things have nurses or health care professionals done to make your stay better?

(27 Posts)
SillyAssBlack Sat 17-Sep-11 15:19:23

My child was in and out of hospital when younger and nurses have been brilliant over the years. Some things like, on her birthday, making a big fuss over her and singing happy birthday really stick in my mind.

Now I'm starting a nursing degree myself I would really appreciate it if you shared what small things can make you feel better when you or someone you love is ill.


Sirzy Sat 17-Sep-11 15:29:34

Where do I start!!

DS has had a lot of chest problems so has had 6 admissions in his 21 months, I can't praise the staff on childrens ward at our local hospital enough!!

-- When he was in HDU the staff relaxed the rules on tea and coffee by the bed for me. As small as insignificant as that sounds sitting with the nurses on night shift just chatting away drinking tea was much better for me than having to go and sit alone in the parents room

-- when in HDU (which is one room on the childrens ward) they found me a bed to sleep in when needed so I didn't have to leave the hospital but could still sleep. The other beds on the ward all had a parents bed but the HDU couldn't

-- LISTENING/being a shoulder to cry on. On numerous occasions staff from the cleaners up to the matron have stopped and chatted, got me tissues when I was crying etc. Really thats the most important thing, they weren't just focused on the medicine side but they were there for the people - both my son and me.

-- Answering questions honestly. I like to know exactly what is happening at each stage and the staff where great at that. When it looked like he would need transferring to another hospital for ITU a member of staff sat down with me to explain the procedure. When he has been on machines the staff have happily explained them to me, made sure I have know what the sats/heart rate etc should be on them.

I could go on all day, but I think the key thing is the way they treat people as individuals and make the effort to try to make things as comfy as possible for people whether they are in for one night or 10.

The thing that really sticks in my mind was being told when DS was at his worse at 9 weeks old that a member of staff who had been with us the day before who had gone on holiday for a week had phoned the ward to check how he was doing because she was worried. That to me shows how much the staff there care for the patients!

CMOTdibbler Sat 17-Sep-11 18:41:30

I've spent a lot of time with the medical profession in the last year. The best thing a nurse has done for me was one who came onto the night shift and said 'right, lets get you settled - you are going to have a good amount of painkillers and something to help you sleep as you need it'. She made me feel like somone cared about me as an individual, and had a plan, not just leaving me to get into a point I had to ask for analgesia, then being awake for ages.
And the nurses on that unit considered being in pain to be a bad thing, so made sure you were written up preoperatively for a good range of analgesia so they could give what was needed.
My darkest hour in the last 13 months was screaming in pain in the middle of the night as there wasn't enough written up for me and antway, it took the staff on that ward an hour to get drugs in the night (I'm not exageratting here), and being made to feel like I was a pita for interupting their routine

lookbutdonttouch Sat 17-Sep-11 21:54:55

I am with CMOT above. Been at the nhs's pleasure far too often recently and having nurses that understand pain control would have been amazing.

Having them look horrified at you when try and explain that no, you can't get up and get your own lunch halfway down the corridor, it bloody hurts; and no the paracetamol isn't working sorry, I think that's why I am struggling to breathe and crying, sorry if that's a problem... Well it isn't very nice!

On the other side, the ones that notice the little things, allow you privacy and don't discuss, loudly on the ward from the end of the bed 'and have you opened your bowels Mrs x', the ones that skip waiting for porters at two am and wheel you there themselves, the ones that call the consultant and ask what the hell is going on..... They I have the utmost respect for and won't forget!

Sirzy Sat 17-Sep-11 21:57:40

I have another one!! The Matron who was willing to go to pharmacy herself to pick up medicine so we could go home rather than waiting hours (literally, we have waited 4 hours before now!) for them to send it up!

LilRedWG Sat 17-Sep-11 21:57:43

Made me feel like an individual and made time for me. Closed the door, sat on my bed and asked how I rally was.

lookbutdonttouch Sat 17-Sep-11 22:01:01

Ooh and the nurse who went down the corridor after the consultant and told him he had left me in tears and could he come back and explain properly this time....

(Consultant was not the nicest)

Grumpla Sat 17-Sep-11 22:06:19

When I was a teenager I had my appendix out, I was on the children's ward, in hospital for about a week in the end. It was all pretty grim especially as I ended up with horrendous bedsores! A lot of the nurses didn't really know how to talk to me (used to having little kiddies in I guess not sulky teens) and i found the whole thing embarrassing (being dirty, constipated, in pain, bleeding etc) so couldn't really ask for what I wanted / needed.

One nurse in particular was so kind to me, but also joked around and called me "Ethel" because I could only walk round really hunched over for a few days after the op. She made me laugh (which hurt!) and told me lots of stories to distract me from all the embarrassing awfulness of it. She sorted out proper pain relief for me. She also bathed me and washed my hair and bollocked the other nurses when she came back on shift after 12 hours off and found the bedsores!

She just had a way with people, I suppose, but it made such a difference to me, I still remember her so vividly.

HSMM Sat 17-Sep-11 22:08:13

The nurse who came and sat with me and got me pain killers and then didn't bat an eyelid when I knocked my entire water bottle over my bed. She was lovely and 100% sympathetic to the pain I was in.

brighthair Sat 17-Sep-11 22:15:57

Letting me on the ward at 2 am when I got the call to say my nan was dying, drawing the curtains and bringing me endless tea and toast and totally ignoring the visiting hours

RubyrooUK Sat 17-Sep-11 22:28:07

An amazing ward sister let me leave hospital after having my baby, then come back again for a night after I realised that workmen had fumigated my house without me knowing, leaving it totally unsafe for a newborn. I made my DH ring the ward sister back up, several hours after we left, explain and ask if we could come back to hospital as we couldn't even find a hotel with vacant rooms and I was still recovering from surgery.

I was pretty ill after giving birth and the ward sister welcomed me back and was so understanding, telling me that I was still very unwell and she would rather I had somewhere safe to sleep than anything else. This was so kind and unexpected (given this is the NHS where things are stretched) that I will be eternally grateful. I wrote a letter to the hospital praising her highly afterwards.

HaveALittleFaithBaby Sat 17-Sep-11 22:42:17

I've seen it from all sides, in the last four years have been the relative, the patient and the nurse. The best thing was the non-judgmental staff when I.was ill. I used the buzzer a lot and they never got funny with me. Got me painkillers immediately.
The best thing I like to.think I did as a nurse was get a mattress for a woman to.sleep on by her dying mother. I got reemed for taking a mattress into a barrier room but I'd do it again in a heart beat.
Good on you for going into nursing and taking the time to ask this thread. I reckon you'll be a fab nurse smile

LilRedWG Sat 17-Sep-11 22:44:10

One of the best things was a nurse coming back onto shift and just impulsively hugging me in the middle of the ward as she knew I'd just told the doctors to withdraw treatment from my dying Mum. She just held me and then made me tea. I will never forget her kindness.

RubyrooUK Sat 17-Sep-11 22:44:57

So I guess it was just that sister treating me like an individual human being rather than just another patient moving through her ward. She didn't have to let me return to hospital (after all, my workmen has nothing to do with her) but I was so stressed, exhausted and ill and she chose to made me feel like she cared about me. Which was unexpected and nice.

Kandinsky Sat 17-Sep-11 23:16:12

The nurse who came in and sat with me on the post natal ward when DS was seriously ill in SCBU. She talked to me and said what I was going through was terrible and I didn't have to be strong all the time. Being given "permission" to let go was what I really needed.

projectbabyweight Sun 18-Sep-11 15:55:52

The nurse who put a reassuring hand on my head as I was lying down for an investigation of a delicate nature (tube up the bum).

The midwife who kept the doctors away long enough for me to push ds out naturally, avoiding who knows what intervention. In fact I think I'll write and thank her.

DecapitatedLegoman Sun 18-Sep-11 16:07:26

After I'd had DS and been signed over to the health visitor, my community midwife turned up with a present of a wee outfit for him! That was nice but perhaps not practical for every patient grin

When I was in and out before having DD I was really miserable and feeling crap and one of the midwives brought me cakes from the staffroom, that was GREAT!

Best of all was the lovely MW who delivered DD came to the postnatal ward when she clocked off and gave me a big hug. That will always stay with me as such a lovely personal thing, when she delivered babies every day. It made me tearful.

From my own experiences and from my career I think not forgetting that what's routine to you is actually magnified hugely for the patient is the key to good bedside manner.

beautifulgirls Sun 18-Sep-11 21:31:38

Communication all the way - DD been in PICU this year and the nurses made time to talk to us and explain things, always willing to try and answer questions. The other lovely touch there was that they gave us a blank hardback note book so we could keep a record of her time in PICU. It gave us something to focus on and is a way we can tell her when she is older what she went through. They had stickers for us to decorate it in and out and asked us if we would like a photo of DD to put in there too. They would write in it a little note to her at the end of each shift too. It made it very personal for us.

twankie Sun 18-Sep-11 21:50:28

what projectbabyweightsaid..

touch.. so many times has a hand on me made me relax and feel okay while undergoing invasive procedures

midwife who kept dr away giving me time to give birth naturally instead of pre-emptively being ushered for a CS as it fitted hopsital routine

the lovely staff who gave me a huge bouquet of flowers as I was undergoing IVF on my birthday! So lovely!!

All NHS.

Carrotsandcelery Sun 18-Sep-11 22:05:17

A good friend of mine is a nurse and when she was in ITU she used to make her patients presentable. She would tidy their hair, shave men's chins and ladies legs, tidy their nails, that sort of thing. She didn't have to but felt that they deserved a bit of respect and that it was a way of communing with the unconscious. I don't know if her patients ever knew she did this but I thought it was a lovely touch.

OddBoots Sun 18-Sep-11 22:30:17

I was in a hospital 30 miles from home for 7 weeks in 2009 after spinal surgery went wrong leaving me with a spinal fluid leak and meningitis so I saw a lot of nursing and felt very vulnerable at times.

Checking that I understood what the doctors had told me on ward rounds was very helpful.

I was stuck on my back in a slightly inverted bed for a couple of weeks so when a nurse fixed a table at the right height and gave me a towel so I could feed myself and contain the mess it was wonderful.

Teaching me how to manage my own lumbar drain so I could (eventually) get out of bed without help.

Good communication to reassure us that things were in hand when extra security was needed (head and spinal neuro unit so some out of character behaviour was to be expected).

Just accepting that when I knew I could get home in a couple of days I needed to close my curtains and cry for a good 24 hours to make sense of everything and get it all out before I saw my children again.

alphabill Mon 19-Sep-11 14:07:31

The night after i had an emergency op, I had to have hourly observations. The nurse that did them was literally like my guardian angel. She firstly removed her shoes crept into the room on tiptoe, used a tiny torch to take the readings and whispered sorry for disturbing my sleep every timeI woke up. She was amazing, its the little touches that can't be taught that count.

maudpringle Mon 19-Sep-11 14:18:49

Whilst in hospital with DD who had broken her leg, I ran out of money to buy food and my Dh couldnt get to me until the evening. A lovely nurse gave me a plate of steak and kidney pudding from the lunch cart, I nearly wept with gratitude, I was sooo hungry.
She didnt care about protocol, all she saw was a tired and hungry Mum.
I have never forgotten her kindness

SillyAssBlack Fri 23-Sep-11 14:31:34

Sorry I haven't replied, been a bit busy as you can imagine. Thanks for all your touching stories, I really hope I can become as good as some of these amazing healthcare professionals. Thanks smile

2old2beamum Fri 23-Sep-11 18:08:11

The wonderful staff on the childrens' ward who cried with me when my son was dying and now when they see me they talk about him with such love and respect.

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