Making the best of a difficult time
Although we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic last fall, staff in my skilled nursing facility felt it was still important to practice our evacuation drill to ensure that we could get the residents and staff out safely during an emergency. With everyone masked, we had the staff line up the residents in their wheelchairs, 6 ft apart, in a single-file line. We pushed them out the exit doors one by one. Once we got them outside, we decided to add some fun and excitement. Residents received Halloween masks and hats as they were lined up, and on the way back in from the evacuation, a staff member handed out candy. We were in the midst of a dark and scary year. This was the first time many of the residents had been outside in months. I saw many faces light up for the first time in ages. The smiles, laughter, and conversations were priceless.
I learned that day that no matter what you are experiencing, you have to make the best of it because it might be the best last thing that you or anyone else ever has.
—MANDY HELSEL, RN
A lesson in listening
As a nursing student, I gained so much from “A Voice for Laura” (Sharing, February 2021). It helped me to understand the crucial role that family members play in the care of their loved ones. In Laura's scenario, her BP and other vital signs were normal; however, her son-in-law, a retired nurse, recognized the problem at hand. He took the initiative to get a new cardiologist on board after realizing the patient's current physician was not being sufficiently responsive. This has taught me the importance of listening to the patient and family members to fully understand the patient's clinical status.
I also learned a lot from Laura's hospital nurse, who took the family's concerns to heart. The nurse listened and immediately made the necessary change to advocate for her patient and her patient's family.