CASE STUDY A Study of the Nursing Situation I was still a student and being mentored by an experienced and loving oncology nurse.

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CASE STUDY A Study of the Nursing Situation I was still a student and being mentored by an experienced and loving oncology nurse. She inspired confidence in me with her quiet wisdom and gentle spirit. During one practicum, we paused bricfly outside a patient’s room where the door was almost closed. My mentor placed a syringe in my hand, explained its contents, and instructed me to give an IV push to her patient Diane, inside the room. She quietly opened the door and I slipped inside. My eyes were immediately drawn to the person lying motionless in the bed, carefully draped in white sheets and blankets, and surrounded by a veil of tubes and pumps hanging over her form. She was a voung woman in her 30s, with blonde, jagged hair that stuck up in all directions. On each pale cheek was a bright pink circle the size of a silver dollar; Iying with her eyes closed, she looked like a painted doll. Oxygen hissed in the background as I located the port and carefully administered the medication. Tears filled my eyes; in the stillness of the room, I knew Diane did not have long to live and I felt immense compassion for this young woman whose life was being cut short I reached over to her face and tenderly stroked her cheek with the back of my hand, the same way as I often stroked my own children’s cheeks while they were sleeping. Suddenly, from the corner of the room, a man’s voice barked roughly at me. “What are you doing? he demanded When I turned around, a man was sitting with arms folded, rocking back and forth in a knot of misery. It was Diane’s father. I answered softly that I was touching her dear heart. His shoulders started heaving and suddenly he was sobbing with deep wrenching cries. I knelt at his feet and waited, holding on to him tightly, knowing that his need was great. “My wife is bedridden -she can’t even walk to come and say good-bye to our daughter. Diane is all we have.” And so between gasping sobs, he told me the story of their small family, and how they had lived and loved through good times and bad. As he became calmer, I stood up and led him over to the bed, where we stood together watching over Diane. “When was the last time you held your daughter? I asked. He looked at me wordlessly, his anguished eyes tellling all. “Perhaps it is time for you to tell her the story of her life, and how much you and your wife love her. Come lie with her. She will hear you.” Gently I moved the network of tubes aside, and helped him onto the bed. He turned toward Diane, his starved arms embracing her, his eyes fixed on her face, etching eternal memories. Time seemed to pause in that sacred bed. turned and left them with the oxygen still hissing and gave report to my mentor. She nodded wordlessly and hugged me. I remember thinking that the circle of caring that unfolded in that room had all begun with the loving nurse who was my mentor. The next day, the room was empty and devoid of life. Diane had died early that night. Critical thinking activities Find a comfortable space in which to pause, recall, and reflect. Close your eyes and dwell upon the meanings and the caring that took place within the nursing situation; then fully engage in the moment and in the meanings that emerge as you consider these questions: 1. How is the student nurse expressing caring in her responses to calls for nursing from Diane? From her father? Describe the calls for caring perceived by the student nurse. 2. How is the father expressing his caring in the nursing situation? 3. Place yourself in the shoes of the nurse, and describe the mutuality of living and growing in caring. What difference did caring nursing make in this nursing situation? 4. Describe the r uring of the nurse mentor. What calls for nursing did she perceive from the student nurse?

 
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