The Ratio Difference

Last week we got our 2:1 IMC ratio back for Covid patients. And honestly? It’s made a WORLD of difference.

Of course it helped in all the obvious ways like 1 less round of med passes, 1 less assessment to do, and a whole lot less charting. But what it really did was give us more time. More time to spend with patients. More time to sit down, talk with them about their families, hear their stories. More time for conversation and compassionate care, rather than throwing scheduled meds at them and moving onto the next.

With this ratio, I’ve been fortunate to have meaningful connections with three of my patients. And it was because I had the time to do so.

  • One of my patients was an art teacher. They kept a sketchbook while they were hospitalized. I was able to sit down with them and flip through the pages. Their style of drawing was almost illustrative. Their characters came to life with bold Sharpie markers and speech bubbles. I got to learn a lot about them through their drawings and they got company while they ate supper.
  • One of my patients recently had a heart transplant with a complicated recovery. One of those complications being Covid. They shared with me that their daughter knew they spent a lot of time with doctors, so in order to spend more time with her dad, she now wanted to become a doctor. She’s 4. On video calls she would catch glimpses of my PAPR hood and say “Ooo! I just saw a doctor!” and giggled. This patient also shared with me they just felt gross after being in the hospital for so long. Saying they’d never had much for hair or facial hair before. I was able to shave their face and head, helping them feel clean again. An hour and a half later, we had covered weddings, the housing market, supper side dishes, and more. I now stop by their room whenever I’m working, even if I’m not their assigned nurse.
  • A patient came in with blunt force trauma to the head and an incidental positive Covid test. My Q2 hours neuro checks and vital signs were able to be done on time. I was accurately able to monitor and assess changes to their wound. I was also able to talk through my patient’s injury with not only the patient, but the patient’s mom on a phone call. My explanation was not rushed, and all involved in the conversation were able to fully process the information.

These patients. These conversations. These moments are the reasons I went into nursing. To provide compassionate bedside care. To be a listening ear. Healing is big picture. And when patients feel heard, understood, and part of the process, they just simply feel better. The patients aren’t the only ones who benefit, too. I felt better. I felt energized by my connections. I felt like I was treating a person, not just completing a checklist. I looked forward to coming back to work the next day. (Which, if I’m being honest is not a familiar feeling these days.)

We are still very much in this. This is not going away any time soon. So, in the meantime, we need to prioritize safe patient ratios, protect our bedside relationships, and promote intentional connections. Because if we do all of those things, we will get through this.

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