Through the Eyes of a Patient
Nicole Lehr | Scrubs Magazine
Teenagers: This place sucks. I’m not taking my medications anymore. I would rather die than be here. I miss my friends and my boyfriend. Why does this have to happen to me? Why won’t she give me privacy? Why do I have to pee in that stupid cup anyway? Why won’t my mom and everybody just leave me alone…
Granted, not all teenagers are like this, but it is not uncommon to see some of these manifesting behaviors in that age group. I have found that for teenagers that are over being in the hospital, sitting on the bed with them and letting them vent is the best answer. Some will talk to you, and others won’t. But if you find something that you can relate to them about, they are more likely to open up. As with the school age child, be honest, and don’t be afraid to be frank.
Tell them that if they don’t take their coumadin, they may clot their valve and possibly end up in an emergency situation. Give the teenagers some sense of control over their care. Let them make a schedule for their day and agree that while you have to add certain things like times for medications and time for physical therapy, they can control the rest, even if it means giving them an hour of peace and quiet in the afternoon where you won’t let anyone in to bother them.
Arrange with their parents a visit from friends as long as the policy on the unit allows it. Take them out to the garden or the library. Teenage years are already some of the most tumultuous years in a person’s life, combining that with the stress of a hospitalization can be very trying. Talk to them about their future and what they want to be when they go off to college, encouraging goals is a good way to keep the teenager focused.
Throughout nursing we encounter different personalities, different ages, and different backgrounds on a daily basis. As a nurse, I pride myself on being able to deal with all of these patients and care for them effectively. Although it can be hard, try to put yourself in your patient’s shoes. There is nothing more gratifying than hearing one of your more difficult patients expressing how thankful they are for the care you provided.
More on ScrubsMag.com:• In Career: How Do I Deal With a Vegan Patient?
• In New Nurse: The Second Patient a.k.a. the Parent
• In Career Advice: The Difficult Patient