You know you’re a home care nurse when your day starts at 9 a.m. and doesn’t end until 1:30 a.m.
You fix it and their world is back in balance and all is well.
Then the triage calls keep coming at an even pace all day.
On this particular day, I got a flat tire. Good thing I still had roadside service and a nice young man came to fix it. I rolled down my window and asked if I had to get out of the car and he said no. So I rolled the window up and went back to work with my cell phone and computer.
The calls were still coming as I made arrangements to see patients. At the same time, I was able to troubleshoot simpler problems over the phone and had made notes to follow up with them later.
Soon I was on my way as I thanked the tire repair man and hurried off to the next patient. So far, just another Saturday as the hospice on-call triage nurse.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Your nurse!
I rarely have a full picture of what is going on inside the home of the patient as I knock on the door. It is a certain challenge I look forward to and gladly face.
The particular crisis waiting for me on the inside of this home is a kinked foley catheter which is actually an easy fix… straighten it, demonstrate to the caregiver/family the proper cleaning method and technique for keeping it free flowing, etc. and the patient is instantly relieved from the pain of urine backing up!
He is so happy! I am thinking all I did is straighten the catheter! It goes to show you that sometimes a nurse does not have to do much to cause such a great relief for others.
But then, not every case is that easy. As I move to the next patient with a more challenging and difficult problem that will need to be transported to the inpatient unit, it is clear she is declining rapidly and does not want to die at home where she lives with her small daughter.
For me as a home care nurse, the stress is very high but very rewarding. I am proud to serve these patients and to be a registered nurse.