My Best Memory from Cardiothoracic Surgery
Thus far, my December break from PA school has been exciting and will now transition from time spent shadowing in the hospital to conventional R&R.
Looking back on the most memorable moments from the two weeks I spent shadowing in pediatric CT surgery, I am surprised by what stands out most in my mind. Not the pulmonary vein reconstruction I observed on a 20 month old, or the sutures I removed from the wiggling infants, or even the chest tubes I pulled on a couple of kids. What moved me the most was watching clinicians care for their young patients as if they were their own children.
Each day, a nurse practitioner and I rounded early before the surgeons arrived on the floor. One morning we came upon a fussy baby with tubes and wires attached. I watched as the clinician unwrapped the child to examine the surgical wounds. What she did next caused me to stand in awe. The baby was not crying about the tubes or wires but because of a dirty diaper. I watched as the NP calmly changed the baby's diaper, rather than calling for a nurse to take care of the dirty business. Things like diaper and linen changes are not considered the job of a clinician. Patient care reaches a whole new level when medical professionals do what's best for the patient, regardless of their job description.
Each member of the treatment team has a certain set of duties expected of them. Most of these tasks require special training that limits who can and cannot carry them out. However, there are things that everyone can do. The fallacy is that those "higher up" on the chain of command are exempt from the more menial tasks. It is true that things like diaper changes and dirty linen removal are not typical tasks for a clinician, but the practitioner who tends to the simple needs of the patient goes above and beyond. In my book, that NP is a great clinician.