Al is weak, frail, and most important, scared. At 55 years of age, after 34 years providing care, she finds herself in a major medical center— on her back, staring at ceiling tiles. The woman who’s always had skin as pure as a china doll now ironically has a porcelain hip. She’s just 36 hours out from a total hip replacement, and she knows something is wrong. She feels her heart pounding, she can hear the beating in her ears, feel the pulsing on her pillow. She rings the call bell to ask for the nurse to check her. An hour comes and goes, and no one comes to her room.
That’s from the August Reflections essay, titled “Miss Orienting Nurse.” The author is Linda Pellico, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing, who tells of her chagrin at witnessing rote care provided to a hospitalized friend by a former student of hers. We hope you’ll read the essay and let us know your own experiences as a nurse or patient—or both. How many of us will someday have to rely on such cold and distant figures as the nurse and MD portrayed in this essay?-JM, senior editor