Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Ask Me"

Thanks to Edwin Leap for his insights/modifications regarding the "It's OK to Ask If I've Washed My Hands" campaign.

He says, "I was thinking. Maybe, as we do our time-outs and scrub our hands red, as we smile and get cups of ice and endure abuse with a smile, we could create our own ‘Ask Me’ buttons. But let’s ask some questions with a twist. How about some buttons that ask the things clinicians want to ask everyone else?" Almost all of these are his, but I've added some of my own.

Sooo .... Go ahead ... Ask Me ...

Ask me: How tired I am
Ask me: If I’m depressed
Ask me: How many holidays and birthdays I’ve missed with my family
Ask me: If I’m addicted to caffeine, or anything else
Ask me: If my hands ever bleed or crack from washing too often
Ask me: About the last time a physician belittled me on the phone or worse yet, in public

Ask me: If this is all that I hoped it would be
Ask me: If my opinion has ever been silenced with the threat of retribution
Ask me: What I’d do if I could do anything in the world … other than this
Ask me: How I feel when I do postmortem care

Ask me: How I feel when I am keeping a brain dead patient alive so his organs can be harvested for transplantation
Ask me: How I feel when I am taking that same patient to the OR for the harvesting after I've spent a very busy night keeping him alive
Ask me: If I’d recommend this job to anyone else
Ask me: If I ever fell asleep or ran red lights while driving home from nightshift
Ask me: How many times I do someone else’s job because they are lazy or stupid ... or because I am told that I have to
Ask me: About how compassionate I feel after several challenging shifts, or at the end of a double night shift

Ask me: If I feel like I'm a victim of slave labor sometimes
As me: If I think my employer REALLY cares about something other than money
Ask me: If anyone has lied to me today
Ask me: What it feels like to watch someone die and be helpless to stop it
Ask me: If I think patient satisfaction scores are really accurate ... or really matter

Ask me: What I think of the whole "customer service" approach to healthcare
Ask me: If my own pain is a zero … or a ten
Ask me: How it felt to be sued or deposed
Ask me: Anything except "Can you stay over and work tonight?"
Ask me: How it feels to be assaulted or verbally abused on a regular basis
Ask me: What I think about most doctors

Ask me: What I think of most of my nurse coworkers
Ask me: What a pain in the ass I think alot of families are
Ask me: For my views on the social welfare system
Ask me: How deeply I am moved by the suffering of my truly suffering patients

Ask me: How I feel about using my time and talent on someone who has tried to take his own life
Ask me: If I’m still able to cry
Ask me: How often I wonder when tragedy will strike my family
Ask me: How I could fix the broken system
Ask me: How many years, months, weeks, days and hours until I can retire
Ask me: If I’ve been treated fairly by my supervisor or employer
Ask me: When the last time was that I didn't have a UTI because there was actually time to go to the bathroom during a shift

Ask me: About the last time I had a 30 minute uninterrupted break
Ask me: What my dearest dream is
Ask me: What gives me hope
Ask me: Why I still do it
Ask me: If I ever allow myself to think I’m good enough
Ask me: What I use to determine my worth
Ask me: How my day is going, but mean it

Ask me: Anything … but be prepared for the truth, and only ask if you really want to know what I think.



Student Nurse Jack said...

If you ask me, I think you should submit this for the next Grand Rounds.

Damn good writing there.

Runs With Scissors said...

Thanks, but most of the credit for this post goes to Edwin Leap. His post inspired me. I took his and modified it some. I could probably add a hundred more "Ask Me" statements to this - I'm sure you could, too!