With so much fear happening right now as a result of COVID-19, there are many patients that are in fear of dying and asking for prayer. In some hospitals, many staff will be more concerned with their agenda and not the patient’s thoughts or concerns. Our own beliefs as a nurse can impact a patient in many ways. For instance, if you find yourself in a Christian Hospital where praying is okay with a patient and encouraged, and you feel comfortable asking the patient if they would like to pray, then you would do that. Now in the same situation, if you are a nurse that is not very religious but work in a Christian Hospital and a patient asks you to pray with them, it can be very awkward for the nurse. The nurse can let the patient know that she will stay there as the patient prays and a warm touch of the nurse’s hand on the patient’s hand can be all the comfort that the patient needed (DeNisco & Barker, 2012). However, many staff will be fearful to do this because of COVID-19. But remember even through a mask, gown, gloves, and a face shield, we as nurses and healthcare givers can still provide someone that is afraid that warm and caring support and a smile that will let them know we care.
DeNisco, S. M., & Barker, A. M. (2012). Theory-based advanced nursing practice. Advanced practice nursing: Evolving roles for the transformation of the profession (2nd ed., pp. 5-18). [Vital Source Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://campus.capella.edu/web/library/home
Today is National Day of Prayer and with everything that is going on globally and in our back yards, we all need to come together and pray not just today, but daily!
There is fear about what our economy is doing, our physical and mental health is being compromised, and it also seems that our constitutional rights along with our Biblical values are being affected. Many people both Christian and Non-Christian are saying, this is all crazy hype, where is your God? Don’t you have faith? These are the times that you bend down in humbleness to God and ask for wisdom to answer the question. My answer is not that we do not have faith or fear, it is that God gave man the intelligence to treat mankind from a health standpoint and we need to follow what the guidelines recommend to help each other. I know it is easy to complain about the circumstances, point fingers to find fault, and say this is not going to work. But what if in our obedience it did work? What if we humble ourselves and pray? What if God listened because it says in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
America needs our prayers. Today is May 7th, the National Day of Prayer. It is the official day that has been set aside to remind us that our country was started in prayer before any major decision was made. But somewhere along our history, our nation turned their backs on God. We have as a nation decided that we can do all things through our own strength and intelligence and we do not need to credit God for it. This coronavirus has put us all in a state of standstill. It has made us realize that Yes, we do need God and His wisdom in order for our leaders and doctors to make the right decisions. I know many in this world criticize our mayors, governors, and president, but guess what? Look at where we are, we are at home sheltered, we do not have decision making powers except to follow the guidelines laid before us. So what can we do? Pray for our leaders, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers so that God impacts wisdom on them and protection as they take care of us. Pray for ourselves and our families that we can draw closer to God, love one another, help others, and come out of this in a manner that will remind us to just be kind and care about what matters most, people’s hearts. Many will be affected by this due to job loss or health concerns and maybe even death. We can only get through it and help each other when we care to pray and help others.
So today, pray for God’s mercy on us. We may not be able to get together with friends and family especially some moms for Mother’s day, we may not have graduation ceremonies, weddings, or gathering together to worship God in church, but as Pastor Chuck of Family Church says, the church is not the building, we are the church, so go out and Be The Church.
As nurses, we have the ability to use compassion and genuinely want the best for our patients. We understand our patients and want to help them find the best treatment that will help them. There are also nurses and doctors who do not exercise cultural competence in what the patient’s beliefs and wishes are. As nurses, we have to validate our patients’ feelings of fear of not being able to provide for their families. Many hospitals have case managers who focus on the hospital losing money and allow patients to treat at their facility but if they do not have insurance, they are very quick to send them elsewhere. Many times when this happens, these case managers that are gatekeepers, are not thinking of the patient’s safety.
Social workers and nurse case managers are the peacemakers in these delicate situations, involving patient advocacy. A good nurse case manager will identify the problem right away and diffuse it so that the focus is back on the patient. Sometimes our culture in America imposes our beliefs on others thinking that they have to accept a specific method of treatment, but the reality is patients have a choice. If a choice is explained well to someone, they will make the right decision. We as healthcare providers have to explain things to the patient and family to help them understand and make an informed decision.
The skill that the staff needs to learn about caring for patients from other cultures is to remember that we as healthcare providers have to be sensitive to someone’s beliefs or culture. Just because they do things differently does not mean it is wrong, it is just different. We as healthcare providers have to be respectful (Barr & Dowding, 2012).
Cultural expectations were seen in my previous job while I was the manager of a team of nurses and social workers. There was a manager from England and then there was myself, of Hispanic background. The majority of my team was from a different culture. There was a nurse on my team who was great, but she spoke with a thick island accent, however her patients loved her. The other manager like myself was from England. During a case presentation, the other manager stated how hard it was to understand her and she should not present again. I stated that was not a fair statement because she presented cases and her skills and case were valid. The other manager did not reply to my statement verbally but she made herself known by challenging everything I said in the future. It is instances like this that discourage people from staying in jobs.
Barr, J., & Dowding, L. (2012). What makes a leader? Leadership in healthcare (2nd ed., pp. 32-44). [Vital Source Bookshelf]. http://dx.doi.org/ Retrieved from
The ethical situation that comes to mind this week is religious ethics. This theory focuses on religion, which is depicted by the parent’s upbringing and the older family members typically. One particular faith, Jehovah’s Witness, does not allow for blood transfusions. This is very important when you have a baby in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) that is in need of the transfusion and the parent will not consent. The treating neonatologist will need to get a court order to do the transfusions. In an extreme emergency, if two doctors sign off that it is an emergency, then the baby will receive the transfusions while they await the court order. As a parent of a premature baby myself, I could not imagine not doing everything I could to save my child. But in this case, the religious code of ethics is based on the upbringing of the parent (Denisco & Barker, 2012).
The parent refusing to allow treatment of transfusions to their baby would be a hindrance to the baby’s care, while at the same time as nurses we are trying to promote a family-centered type of care involving the caregivers in the decision making and treatment (Meadow, Feudtner, Matheny Antommaria, Sommer, & Lantos, 2010). When my baby was in the level 3 critical NICU, they had open rooms, because the babies were too critical to be in closed rooms. I watched a baby in front of us get sicker by the day and hearing the nurses and the doctors speak about the need for a blood transfusion and other treatments. By the time they gave the baby the blood transfusion, it was too late, and the baby was terminal. You as the parent are watching and hearing this because, in this type of critical setup, there is nothing between you and the next bed except a curtain and in front of you there is not a curtain. As a nurse I thought to myself, how can they be having this discussion right in the open this way? As a parent I thought, how can these parents watch their baby die? I thought about how those nurses felt and if I were the nurse in that situation, what would I have done?
With the use of religious ethics, we may not agree with the family, but as nurses, we need to respect the other person’s customs and beliefs as long as the baby is being taken care of and there is not a medical threat to the baby’s life. When I stop and think about the nurse manager that was supposed to be the example, all we heard from her was complaints about the parents and how ignorant they were. A part of me agreed, however, the nurse part of me, the part that is compassionate with the parents dealing with a decision they probably hate to make came out. I said to the manager, we are all very much entitled to our opinions and they may not be the views of our patients, but in this crisis, we just need to support the parents because the baby will receive a transfusion whether they agree or not by court order.
Meadow, W., Feduter, C., & Matheny-Antomennaria, A. H. (2012, April 13, 2010). A premature infant with necrotizing enetrosoliteis. Special Articles-Ethics rounds. http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-0079
Our technology through the years has been advancing to provide patients with nurses that can manage their care through the telephone and through field visits in their homes. With the recent pandemic that has spread throughout the globe, more than ever the field of nursing doing telehealth has become important.
Through my job as an independent nurse consultant, I am able to provide much needed and sought after medical information to my patients and their family caregivers via telephone and telehealth. In order for me to do this, I must be able to have good communication skills and if I am providing telemedicine a good eye for what may be concerning my patient. In the past few years, telehealth has grown. According to the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nusring (AACN). “Telehealth practice originally began when registered nurses (RNs) were available to patients by telephone to ensure they had access to health care. The RNs triaged patients to appropriate levels of care. ”
Many people lately since the pandemic occurred ask me what do you do for work? My answer is, as a nurse consultant, I educate and assess my patients about their medications, symptoms, and chronic disease processes. I ensure that they are making follow up appointments with their primary care doctors or their specialist. Together we develop a plan of care that will best suit their current situation. Now I also have injured workers that are seeing their doctors and anxious to get back to work. They sometimes have chronic conditions that through my assessment they may or may not know about. These are the moments when as a nurse consultant, I can educate them, provide best practices, and refer them to their primary care doctor to get the help that they need. As for their injuries, I help them to get the right treatment ordered and coordinate their visits to another specialist that can help them when a referral is needed. My job does not end there though, coordinating light duty work for the,m with their employing agency is another aspect of what I do.
Having a telehealth nurse allows doctors the ability to follow up with patients that are not able to come to the office as frequently by carefully monitoring the medications that they are on after they are reconciled with their pharmacist. It also allows for a team approach in managing their healthcare with their caregiver and the patient to provide autonomy, a willingness to participate, and be involved in their own healthcare.
One important time that my patients benefit from is pre and post-surgery. These are scary times for patients and knowing that they have a nurse to contact them and review their instructions before surgery, plan for their needs after surgery, and contact them afterward, assures them that they can manage their needs while waiting for the follow up with their doctor.
This year with Hurricane Dorian almost hitting Florida, there was preparation to plan ahead for patients especially those that were in need of a special needs shelter due to compromised health. It takes preparation at the beginning of the hurricane season to assess all your patient’s needs and plans for disaster. I usually start this around June 1st right when hurricane season starts so that if one should happen, we are prepared with the patient’s plan of care. Once the warning is issued that we need to prepare, then I contact each one of my patients and put their emergency plan into place. I visit each patient and make certain that they are prepared. Once the danger is over, I follow up with each patient by phone and when it is safe to go out, I will visit them in their homes to ensure that they are safe.
Most all my patients receive an in-person visit from me at their home or doctor’s office but they also receive phone calls to maintain the communication lines open about their care. Usually, I have flexibility in my schedule to take time off to spend it with my husband and my son or catch up on housework to free up my weekends. However, during this pandemic of COVID-19, my short days have turned into 16 plus hour days almost 6 days a week and somedays 7 ( although I try to not let that 7th day happen). Many ask what happened to your comfortable hours? Well COVID-19 changed that !! My patients are scared, they have more questions, I have more telehealth visits at doctor’s offices with patients because I am not able to go per my contracted client accounts; it is for their protection and mine. So although tiring, I am grateful that I can still provide the care that they need through telehealth.
So today someone dropped off a sign at my door that says they are praying for healthcare heroes and first responders. I am honored to be among the professions that help support our patients at home to keep them safe during this pandemic. Every telehealth visit that I make with each patient has a COVID-19 question and answer session and they know that if they have a question, they can contact me.
So today, find a healthcare worker and honor them with a kind word of encouragement. We are here working for the health of our country.
This is the sign that was left on our front yard today( Pardon the garden we were going to start planting flowers in it until COVID-19…times are too busy for gardening)