Sometimes, I forget that I’m a patient who needs the help. I keep wanting to care for the people around me, and then forget who really needs it.
Being a patient helps me to a better nurse. It is difficult to empathise with the patient unless you’ve been there, done that… But once you’ve had a taste of being a chronically ill patient, you are humbled. Extremely humbled.
I’m not saying that those who’re not patients themselves are bad nurses. They just lack the human touch, and the ability to identify with the patient and the problems they face.
We’ve learnt in school, the many reasons why patients don’t adhere to their medications. It’s easy to say ‘set an alarm to help you remember’, ‘keep taking it if you feel well’, ‘bear with the side effects’ etc. But it is so much more difficult than that, really. Even when I was a very compliant patient, I fell off the wagon with the same reasons that most patients give. It’s not that simple.
Same with what’s happening now. I could never fathom myself doing the things I did, and as a nurse, I couldn’t comprehend why my patient would do such things. But I now do, because I’ve been there and done that. And so I finally understand why…
I guess that even though it isn’t good to have a chronic disease, I can use it to my advantage and empower my patients.
But before I can help my patients, I have to help myself first. And that’s my priority now.
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