Thursday, October 24, 2013

Credit Due

I once mistakenly believed I knew nothing. Then after many years, with great hubris, I assumed a false sense of mastery over all that lay at my feet. It was only the wisdom of experience that taught me the truth lies somewhere in the vast in between.

It was nothing really, at least to me. I was in the midst of a busy, contentious, office meeting when my mobile began to buzz. I answered with the bitter taste of annoyance whipping from my tongue. It was a nurse from the skilled facility. My patient was declining. Frazzled by my surroundings and emotionally invested, I found just about every excuse for why she was wrong.

I looked at my watch impatiently as I calculated the time till finishing the meeting and the distance to the nursing home. It would be at least an hour. Mentally frozen by my preoccupation, the director of nursing jumped onto the line.

Dr. Grumet, we need to transfer him to the hospital.

A flash of anger rose red from my chest. Who was she anyway to question my judgement? Who does she think she is? But thankfully, the force of my own response made me pause. Indeed, she was the head nurse of the facility. Unlike me, she was currently staring at the patient as she had all day.

The fire in my belly cooled, the rage ebbed. I agreed to send the patient to the emergency room.

Hours later, I charted quietly at the nursing station. The director walked by and paused. I looked up and smiled humbly. I've learned over the years to give credit to people when they make good decisions.

You know you were right! Thanks for being forceful. I was too emotionally invested.

Her face lit up and she slipped away to her office.

I could tell that my admission had made an impact.

I guess doctors don't often give nurses credit when they are right.

And frankly, I think that's a shame.

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