Nurses have had to change standard questions
Patients bring their political views into the hospital with them. These views are either openly stated to staff or can be discerned by their TV news viewing habits. This recent election has made it more challenging to maintain professional neutrality while giving care to our patients and also maintaining a hospitable environment for their families and visitors.
As part of a baseline mental status assessment, registered nurses routinely ask patients their name, date of birth, etc. To make a judgment if the patient is at all confused or unclear, RNs have routinely asked who is president of the United States.
Prior to the most recent electoral campaign and presidential election, the latter question was mostly answered in a matter-of-fact fashion. Now, that same question is frequently considered an opportunity to loudly share their views about the current president or their opinions on any number of social issues.
Yes, the duration and volume of their answer helps, in part, to determine the health of their lungs. But most of us are now asking more neutral questions, such as the colors of the flag.
Prior to the current political situation, I rarely had to go into a patient’s room to inform the patient and visitor the subject of their discussion was adversely affecting the patient’s heart rate or blood pressure. This now happens on a weekly basis.
A hospital room is not a bubble isolated from external events, but rather is a magnifying mirror that reflects and enlarges our views.
Help us to give your loved ones the best possible care by remembering he or she is in the hospital because of a physical stressor leading to illness, and a bedside discussion of the current political situation might not be the wisest conversational subject.
Teresa Saltos is a Modesto Registered Nurse and recent law school graduate.
Letting go leads to grasping simpler joys
I first considered riding public transit in Modesto a year ago, wanting to live up to my tree-hugging ideals. After seeing my 12-minute commute turn into a 50-minute odyssey – sirens, cyclops and all – I concluded #AintNobodyGotTimeForDat.
More recently, though, I was challenged to find opportunities to give up control and seek comfort in sharing responsibilities. So I came back to the idea of using public transportation, as I would literally be letting go of the wheel.
That’s when I started to romanticize an idea of being community-minded manifesting itself in not just creating the community I want, but more fully exploring the community as it exists. And so, the public-transportation experiment began anew.
Some results were anticipated; I could consume my entire word count with stories of odorous men, lackadaisical mothers, and public indecency. I could rail about a system with inconvenient purchase “processes” and operating hours that remind me of trying to rush home before the street lights came on in my childhood. Those operating hours have serious ramifications ranging from college enrollment to participating in local government to depriving the economy of spending.
But I prefer to write about the moments of humanity. Such as the woman breaking a fellow passenger out of a schizophrenic monologue by offering small-talk and a snack. The man whose joy mirrored that of a 4-year old seeing ducks in a pool and the Sierras in the distance. The little black girl jubilant to have a black professional exchange morning greetings with her, as if it were her first encounter of the kind.
I recently heard the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
It’s remarkable how much I’ve gained in an experiment with losing control. And, I still have so much further to go.
Reggie Rucker is a Modesto entrepreneur and social media marketing professional.
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