Thoughts

I Trust You

July 17, 2017

“I trust you.”

Those words, so sincere, caught me off guard. A pair of wide, fearful eyes fixed on me as I carefully scanned a medication to give to one of my patients. It came in a syringe attached to a long needle and though I tried to keep it out of her sight, she was not relishing the idea of getting a big shot. I could hardly blame her, but as I explained the benefits of the medication and tried to put her fears at ease (I’ve given lots of shots like this and the worst part about it is dreading it), she was still nervous. She needed a medicine called betamethasone for the two beautiful babies kicking around in her body. Those babies needed to stay in their mama longer, but her body was beginning to give signs that it was ready for them to come out. Anticipating an early delivery, this medicine would help those tiny baby lungs to mature and be able to handle the pressure of the world should they transition into it before they were fully ready.

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I felt a strange sense of responsibility when she uttered those words of trust. I am always responsible for my actions and I feel that weight daily at my job, but this was different. Mulling over her response, I realized again this truth:

As a nurse, I am trusted almost automatically. Is it my badge and blue scrubs that gives me this trust? Is it the warm and friendly manner with which I strive to care for them? Regardless, when my patients see me as trustworthy, I am invited, without question, into the deepest parts of who people are. I am swept into their stories of joy, loss, grief, physical and emotional pain, anxiety, pride, and love as I care for them. They feel open to speak with me about things they might never tell even their loved ones because I am their nurse, I am safe.

They ask me questions and they want to know everything I can tell them about first their labor and what happens when they deliver a baby, then how to take care of their baby. They want to know that their baby is okay, that their symptoms are normal, and that they are doing a wonderful job as a new parent. Sometimes I can calm their fears and assure them that they are doing fine, other times, as much as I hate bearing bad news, I must tell them that everything is not okay. So many emotions. So many tears of joy and tears of frustration and tears of feeling inadequate. It’s a vulnerable, intimate relationship that springs up quickly. Though exhausting at times, it reminds me again why I love my job and what a privilege it is to be a nurse.

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After a little pinch, the needle was all over and done with. My patient breathed a sigh of relief and hoped the worst was over. Though she went home that night, her words of trust lingered with me still.

“I trust you.”

Oh to strive all the more to be worthy of that trust.

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