Those little things
There are days in practice that the hours go by without you realizing it. Patients are in and out quickly, you work hard to complete your charting and tasks become second nature. Then, certain patients come in and make you smile with the things that they say, the mannerisms they exhibit or the way they look at you. Children are the most honest, and how they see the world is eye-opening.
This week I learned about volcanoes, silly sticks that cause toe injuries and worries about "ouchies." In the world of urgent care and the ER, children often are most afraid of things that will cause them pain. I have been very fortunate that I have never (I am knocking on wood at this moment) to now have to swaddle or restrain any child prior to suturing. I will give most of the credit to the wonderful medication LET, however I also would like to give some credit to my approach with the smallest of patients.
Recently I have found that asking what the patient is most afraid of helps to get that fear directly out of the way. Of course, this can be applied to the older children and adults of this world, as well. I have also found that kids are often frightened by my suture tray and all of the scary, shiny instruments it contains. I now compare myself to Bob the Builder. I tell the kids that while Bob fixes things, I fix people, and that I would be coming in with my people-fixer tools. Because I often have extra hemostats that I end up not using, my little patients get to hold a pair to see what they feel like.
The relationship that I build with the kids rubs off on the anxious parents, and often the whole family leaves not only fixed, but happy and relieved that their visit was much less traumatic than anyone had anticipated. The visit often ends with a nice sticker (and a sigh of relief from me).
A patient said to me today, "You don't just hear me, you actually listen." This makes my heart feel good all around.