Saturday, September 24, 2011

nurses care?

... or: The Battle of the Nurse Theorists.

I got buttons. "Nurses care" is one of them. Been trying to figure out why.

Martha Rogers v Jean Watson. Watson is all about caring. Nurses care.

Nurses respect patients' dignity, privacy, and autonomy. Mais oui. But is respect caring? I completely support treating patients with respect. I agree that we advocate for patients, supporting their right to autonomy. We must be courteous, respectful, nonjudgmental, tolerant, and polite. We must be culturally competent.

But must we care?

My employer may tell me how to dress and how to behave, but may my employer tell me how to feel?

That's my problem. That's my issue, my button.

I care about my family and friends. I love them. Frequently there is an internal shift, and I care about my patients and students. But. And this is a big but. I totally object to being ordered to care.

Martha Rogers said that caring is ubiquitous. We all care. Of course we care. That was her stance. Peh. Wave of hand. Like handwashing and clean linens: of course we care. Why bother to discuss it?

Why build a whole theory, a whole system around that? Around caring. As nurses, we own "caring"? Does that mean other team members don't care? Physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists... they don't care? Housekeepers, nutritionists, respiratory therapists: don't care. Is that what you're saying?

Yeah, I don't buy that.

As a professional, I pledge to treat each patient fairly, equitably, respectfully, and courteously. I will do my utmost to make each patient, family member, & coworker happy. Isn't that enough? What, I have to "care" about them too?

Nope. That's too much. Over the line. I have a professional boundary and it's right there.

I will do my utmost for my patients, their family members, and my coworkers- but caring- that's for my family and friends. You can't make me care for my patients. Darn it, I will anyway, but you can't make me!