Slow to Anger?

It’s 3am and I can’t sleep, so why not start the day off blogging, right? I wanted to touch on a touchy subject today, having compassion for those patients whom you are vastly different from and at times seriously disagree with. As a nurse it is in the job description to be non-judgmental and compassionate. Confession: that is impossible, at least 100% of the time (well, certainly for me at least). Maybe not for the sweet old lady who says thank you every time your in the room, or the patient that blew me a kiss on my way home this week (my heart melted). But extremely difficult for the patient who has a swastica tattoo or the patient who needs security called because they are verbally aggressive or the patient on a mental health hold and feels the needs to throw everything from their table onto the floor just to be irritating.  Often times I just need a reminder that this patient has walked down a path I have not walked, and I cannot imagine the hardships that have lead to their decisions. Or I need to be reminded that we live in a broken world with imperfect people who are loved by a holy God. But this patient was different, I could not be non-judgmental.

It was the first time in my nursing career this week that I was angry at a patient. Not so much irritated, but actually really angry. So much so, that emotions overwhelmed me and I had to step out of the room for a breather. My mother’s side has a Jewish heritage, and seeing that swastica overwhelmed me in a way I had not expected. Have you ever experienced that? The feeling where you never even knew you had so much anger for something, and then the anger just floods out of no-where? Note: I am not an angry person. Really, I usually only get angry if someone messes with my family, then the bear claws come out. So this was a new experience for me and I had to take a few walks around the halls to contemplate me feelings. I just couldn’t imagine the hatred people felt towards Jewish people just for being Jewish in Nazis Germany. I just couldn’t see how 11 million people being murdered would be something to be celebrated in the form of a tattoo. And frankly, if it were up to me and wouldn’t have wanted to go back in that room.

But this person needed my care. They needed me, and I could not turn them away. So I prayed, and I shared with my co-workers how I was feeling. Sometimes you really do just need to be open and share about your experience with your patients to those working down the wing with you. In doing so I discovered another one of my co-workers had connections through her grandfather fighting in DDays. It was a comfort to be able to take time to express my feelings, and to put them behind me so I could continue caring for this patient.

Proverbs 19: 11, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to over look a transgression.”

Luke 6: 27, “But to those who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, give home food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”

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