Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't I Know You?

I grew up in small towns; I lived in small towns through my high school graduation.  Everybody knows everybody in small towns.  Above is a street corner in one of my "home towns".  I lived there when that mural was first painted.

After nursing school, I moved to Southern California and started my nursing career.  From Los Angeles to Miami, I only worked as a nurse in big cities - nobody knows anybody in big cites. 

So...I never had patients that I knew before they needed nursing care.  All my patients started out as strangers to me.

A few years ago I relocated to rural Nebraska and worked in a small community hospital.  Same small town I graduated high school in.  The nurses I worked with took it for granted that their patients would be people they'd known before, maybe even for their whole lives.  They were used to it.  I wasn't.

Having to get one of my former teachers off the commode, putting a foley in my one of my parents' friends, talking to former classmates about their personal health issues, it bothered me. 

I know that for some of the patients it was embarrassing.  I know this because they would tell me.  For others, it seemed comforting to have a nurse they knew before.  I never really got used to it. 

Now I'm back in the city and one perk is that my patients probably won't be my neighbors. 

Do you like taking care of your neighbors and friends?  Am I the only one who doesn't?

Here's my new neighborhood - nice, huh?

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