What can nurses do to better help you?

Kitchell Member Posts: 62
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
I am an RN student and I would like to know what the nurses who care for you could do to better help you? I'm anxious to get your feedback! Please reply!


  • marthac
    marthac Member Posts: 5
    Most of the nurses assigned to me were very compassionate and understanding of my illness. But those few who werent spoil the whole hospital experience. I knew how sick I was and that my life was touch and go for awhile. But please try to make family members feel welcome and involved in the patients care. And please talk to the patient directly. Just because someone has cancer doesnt mean that they are stupid and cant understand anything. You definetly have the compassion to be the best nurse you can be, because you cared enough to ask that question.
  • Rogge
    Rogge Member Posts: 5
    As with all groups of people, cancer nurses have some that are better than others. But my experience has essentially been helpful and affirmative, and although my main dealings with nurses were 3 or so years ago, my memories are positive. I can't remember all the medical names but one time a brand new nurse was trying to get a tube through my nose down in to my stomach. I could tell she was using the size that was too big, but she wouldn't listen to me until I almost passed out and she went for help. The experienced nurse figured out the correct size and had it down in 3 seconds. So, listen to the patients - some times they have some valuable input.

    Another thing that bothers me, and I don't blame the nurses - although they are the ones asking the question - is to describe pain on a 1 thru 10 level, 10 being the worst. I don't know about anyone else but I just can't quantify pain each time with a simple number. As a patient after my surgery I knew I was going to have some pain and was (still am) prepared to live with some pain. I just don't know the numbers, but know there was pain. Then, to me the next level was pain for which I needed some outside help either in the form of medicine or a medical procedure for relief. I don't know what those numbers would correspond to, but I knew it was not any fun at that level and I was just basically hanging on and suffering a lot. Then, the next level of pain, regardless of whether or not I was in the hospital, was when it got so intense that I was ready to get out of bed and go check myself into the emergency room for treatment. I nearly got to that a couple of times but quick responses by capable nurses brought my pain to an acceptable level. So, to me, the pain information dialog needs much to be desired in the medical profession. It is just so hard to really describe and I think most people learn to give high numbers just so that they can receive a response or treatment.

    Another good thing is to sometimes simply watch a patient and observe grimaces and facial expressions when trying to do simple maneuvers like changing positions in bed or sitting or standing up.

    And when the patients are sleeping, keep an open eye to see that all tubes, wires, and connections are free from entanglements or obstructed by bed parts. One of my very painful memories is of waking up in the middle of the night, and it was dark, and attempting to use the bathroom. Somehow during sleep the tube from my stomach to the stand got tangled into the bed rail and when I started walking it tore the stitches out and the tube came out of my stomach. That pretty much hurt, and then it hurt again when they stuck the tube back in the same hole.

    Like crossing a street, stop-look-listen; and you will do fine.

  • spoondm
    spoondm Member Posts: 1
    I am so happy to see you ask this question. I was in the hospital for 1 month after surgery. The best care that I received was from the student nurses. If I can give you any input on this subject it is this, think back to when you first started, the time you took with patients to understand their needs and do it again. I know that theres not a lot of time but talk to them and try to understand their needs. I had surgery but not in a cancer unit and the nurses I had ignored me most of the time because they new nothing about what I had gone thru or how I should be treated. They couldn't understand why I was in the hospital for so long. I had gone home for one day and my stomach contents began to leak though the surgical incision in my back. When I went back in I was scared to death they would have to open me back up or something and the nurses didn't even know I was npo. Just go back to the basics you learned. Read your charts, know your patients. Thanks for your career choice, sounds like you'll do good, pass it on.
  • 78MAPLE
    78MAPLE Member Posts: 8
    thanks for asking. from our 5 weeks in hospital, my advice is: call your patient by their name. my husband really felt a bond with the ones that did this. ask them about their day. is today better or worse? respect them, ask questions. good luck to you and god bless.