Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife

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Snapshots

Posted by Lucille on October 22, 2015 at 1:15 AM

Being someone's student nurse is very different from being their doula.

The situation is different, obviously. The people I care for are sick, not pregnant. The role is different, in that I am providing not just emotional/physical support, but nursing care.

But so far the biggest difference that has struck me is the difference in time.

I miss the continuity of getting to see the arc of someone's experience. As a doula, I wasn't there for a client's whole story, but I often got to walk with them through a full chapter of it. As a student nurse, I get snapshots. The day after someone's surgery. A day in someone's recovery. The day they were diagnosed with a complication. The day someone who had been hospitalized for months finally went home.

I get a brief, intimate window into the present moment of their life, and then the next day, I do the same with a new patient.

It's against HIPAA to look up a patient's chart just to see how they're doing. As a student, I actually can access a patient's chart for a while after I'm done working with them, just in case there was something I didn't understand about their care that I want to look up. I'm doing my best to consult them only for that purpose. It's hard. There's a reason having a patient is called caring for them-- you can't have that intimate a role with someone and not care about them.

I can't contact any of the people I've cared for to let them know I'm thinking about them. But I hope they know.

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