Help Wanted: Day Nurse
I mentioned in my last post that for almost two years, we have used the majority of our private duty nursing hours for overnights. Life with private duty nursing has been quite the journey. Night nursing? A whole different ball game in itself. We have had twenty-nine nurses. I have caught seventeen different nurses sleeping; they were immediately removed from Nathaniel's case. A handful of nurses that worked well for us either moved out of town or faced some other personal life change that caused them to leave our job and home health. Another small handful of nurses were skilled, but just not the right fit for us. Non-nursing issues, like a nurse's clothing and belongings smelling like cigarette smoke, can become intolerable when the workplace is our private home.
For all our struggle with finding night nurses, we have had the opposite experience with day nurses. Nathaniel has had just a few since coming home.
Our first day nurse met me outside the house the day I brought Nathaniel home from Ranken Jordan. She stayed with us almost a year. She left home health to take a hospital job. Her wedding save-the-date hangs on my fridge. She babysits occasionally so Rich and I can go out to dinner. She watched daily as our whole family grew into becoming Nathaniel's family; the intimacy of that makes her a friend now.
Shortly after D left for the hospital position, our nursing hours were drastically cut and we did away with our day shift. We went for months with no day nurse until last September when Nathaniel was reevaluated again for nursing support, and our weekly total increased to allow both night and day shifts. We were fortunate to quickly find the right people for the day shift even through a transition in nursing agencies.
Starting next week, we will have two day nurses. I am excited and apprehensive. It will take some adjusting for our family. Twelve daytime hours is a long time for a private duty nurse to be in our home. For the nurse and for us. They will be here for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. Two of those days, the nurse will work a sixteen hour shift. The extra help watching Nathaniel will be great. I might be able to make a dinner now; my ability to concentrate on any household task for an extended time has faded these last few months as Nathaniel's activity level has increased. Keeping him constantly at my side so I can make sure his trach is in place while breading chicken breasts or forming hamburger patties has challenged my twenty-six years of home making.
Rich and I recently put together a help wanted ad. It is all fun. These are not real credentials an agency would advertise when looking for a nurse to staff our case; rather they are things we find important after sharing so much of our family life with nurses. I think insight can be gleaned from the list though. We do not mention the ability to change a trach tube or to suction or administer a g-tube feed. If a nurse comes with those skills, it is great. But far more important that she come with courage and bravery and tenacity and a willingness to learn new nursing skills.
Help Wanted: Day Nurse
Family with a very active critical airway tracheostomy and g-tube dependent two year-old looking for a day nurse. Full time position consists of three twelve hour shifts. Must be able to work Sundays. Please consider applying if the following describes you!
- Laughs easily.
- Is ALWAYS attentive
- Speaks softly.
- Has critical thinking skills.
- Stays calm in a crisis.
- Has a love for being outdoors in various weather conditions.
- Likes play dates with perfect strangers and their children.
- Understands the benefits of silence and moments of quiet in home life.
- Has a support system for personal problems.
- Able (and willing) to get up and down from the floor a million times. In. One. Day.
- Willing to play.
- Willing to sit back and do nothing so a little boy can be a little boy.
- Makes good car and truck sounds.
- Enjoys walks.
- Can crawl over a car seat when our van's sliding door is uncooperative.
- Willing to implement therapy homework.
- Willing to blow off therapy homework.
- Understands nonverbal communication.
- Tolerant of repeated viewings of the movie Cars and the PBS program Daniel Tiger.
- Patient when mom cries after discouraging tests and doctor appointments.
- Willing to learn sign language and a communication app on iPad.
- Remembers which floor we used in the parking garage.
- Presumes competence, intelligence, and ability on behalf of the patient and family. Including teen and college age brothers.
- Prompt to work.
- Prompt to leave so our family can have privacy.
- Willing to come in contact and possibly wear puke, poop, and lung secretions.
- Enjoys Starbucks, Kaldi's, Kayak's, Coffee Cartel, Hartford Coffee Company, Foundation Grounds, and perhaps additional coffee shops that Mom can argue as being located "between home and Children's Hospital."
- Willing to care deeply and almost become a one of us while also understanding the always present professional boundaries of private duty nursing.