Friday, November 12, 2004

Excellent day to stay in and knit. Today, I had to work, but now I am ready to sit and knit tonight. The afghan is coming along nicely.

Also, the three balls of yarn I had to order online for my sweater have come today. Alas, so many projects, so little time.

The book I'm reading is awesome. I've just read an article on Michael Moore's website that made me smile, thinking of Wellstone's legacy of grassroots political groups- there are currently peace activists protesting daily in Minnesota; the brainchild of a few grassroots peace organizations in the St. Paul area. Click on the link above to read more.

This month's Nursing 2004 journal features an article about nurses who are described as "too posh to wash;" apparently this May, nurses in England brought a resolution to their board of nursing to transfer the "care component" of nursing to nurse's aides, and for the RNs to focus more on "treatments and technical nursing," in hopes of transitioning more physician-related duties to the RNs (all within the scope of practice of least I hope). There's a quote from a student nurse: "I do not wash people's bottoms, there are other people to do that."

As one who has washed a bottom or two, I find this elitist, insulting and poor practice. Not only is washing or bathing a patient extremely therapeutic to the patient, it can be a vital assessment tool. Think about it- when you are washing a patient, you can assess skin, breathing patterns, how the patient reacts to certain stimuli, as well as activity tolerance. It's a win-win situation. Some of the best nursing experiences I've had have been giving dying patients baths.

Recently I went to visit a woman I've been working with for several months. She was lying in her bed at the nursing home she lives in. I pulled back the blanket and noticed a significant stain on her sheets. The odor followed. She had diarrhea. This was about 9:20 in the morning, a crunch time for the staff. If they're lucky, these nursing aides will work with maybe 10-15 patients. That's 10 to 15 baths, feedings, and any extra care. (A good bath will take about 45 minutes- you can do the math). I could not, as a nurse and as a human being, walk away and allow this woman to lay in her own shit. I cleaned her up, changed her gown and diaper, helped her transfer into her wheelchair so that I could change her bed, and then bundled up all the offending linens and bagged them. I let the staff know what I had done, and they expressed gratitude. The whole incident, from the time I found her to the time I put her back in a clean bed, took about 30 minutes- no time at all. It was a privilage to help this woman, and I know I'd want the same done for me if I'd ever be in that situation. Luckly, most nurses agree with me. That resolution was squashed by the English nursing committee a whopping 95%!

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