The Leaves

Leaves, leaves, leaves!  Around this time of year, as people stroll over these vibrant colors on the ground, they may start feeling overwhelmed by all the raking required as well as the upcoming bustle of the holiday season.  However, what can you do to enjoy this time of the year?  What are some of your favorite memories of autumn?  As a child, I recall helping my mother and brother rake piles of leaves and then fall into them.  We would further throw them into the air and watch a few stick to our heads as the remaining ones landed on the ground.  Thus, in the midst of the task, we enjoyed the moment.

So, what can you do to embrace all the “leaves that rapidly fall” here on the unit?  How can you prevent the multitude of daunting tasks from emotionally wearing you out?  What I’m about to share will not only increase the effectiveness of your patient care but also manage your own ability to handle the stress of both your professional and personal lives…that is, the 6 P’s!

Presence:  Maintain one’s full awareness to the patient, any visitors, and any needs or desires.  This may involve responding to a page a few moments later to assure that the patient is all settled in or adjusting the patient’s bed and/or tray to avoid a sooner return.

Pause:  Take a moment to breathe and bring your complete focus to the patient with whom you are about to interact.  You may wish to do this while rubbing your hands with the alcohol gel or while putting on an isolation gown.

Preparation:  Clear one’s mind of any distractions—professional and personal—to assure proper, effective care of your next individual patient.  Keeping a “Things To Do” list in a small notebook that you can carry with you and meeting your own physical needs as they arise, such as having a snack or drink, are two possibilities that may assist in this process.

Posture:  Carry one’s self to affirm the dignity and respect of the patient.  Direct eye contact and not watching the patient’s television reveals the primary focus for entering the room.

Power of words:  Speak terms and phrases that acknowledge, affirm, encourage, and maintain the individuality of the patient and his or her situation.  Personally, I would encourage you to watch the “Power of Words” video located on the front page of our Intranet.

Prayer:  Communicate with the Lord for guidance, wisdom, and comfort in caring for each of your patients.  This can be accomplished while driving to work, before entering each patient’s room, while sitting at the nurse’s station, etc.

While you may be just hearing of, learning, or continuing to use these six principles, may they help you slow down and treasure each moment.  May the 6 P’s guide you through the “leaves” of life and work in becoming a less stressed individual and more effective caregiver!



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