The NURSING ASSISTANT
---I was talking to a member of the Zen Hospice Volunteers and the subject of Green Gulch and Dr. Grace came up. He mentioned that he hadn't seen the movie of her life at this point. Many people that he knows have seen it...and liked it, but he hasn't seen it yet.
---To refresh your memory: she is the LHH doctor who was involved in a head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge. She lapsed into a coma. It was touch and go for a long while after the collision. Nobody knew if she'd retain her brain functions again...enough to even speak. It was a very hairy time for awhile as she recovered. We didn't know too what extent the recovery would happen. To make a long story short, she now drives a power wheelchair and works in our pain clinic
---She was my doctor at the time of the accident. She was very personable and we had a good relationship. It was her leaving for awhile to recover from the collision that then caused my new doctor to be Dr. Victoria Sweet. This was a year-and-a-half before she left to write ''God's Hotel.'' I'm sure you know the book ended up being a best seller putting Laguna Honda and Dr. Sweet on the map. It also resulted in a TEDtalk from Victoria Sweet and all sorts of notice.
---When all of this was going down, I remember my own take on what's happening. After being assured that Dr. Grace was going to recover...I became elated with an undeniable fact that would be a huge result from this. Dr. Grace will NOW experience life as a patient and would vindicate the fact that being forced to see a hospital from the pov of a patient would result in a big change in the staff/patient relationship that was very much needed. The resident would now have someone to champion their cause.
---Her statement was this (giving a talk to the doctors upon her return to LHH) – she learned that the most important relationship that a patient has in the hospital is not the doctor/patient relationship, but the relationship that the patient has with his nursing assistant. He/she can really make or break your time spent in a hospital.
---I felt that the statement was 100% accurate BUT was NOT emphasized to be as important as it IS. To me and my own experience...experiencing many of the same things first-hand and witnessing many others in the same boat. If that relationship is good the experience is positive. If that relationship suffers (in any way) the experience suffers accordingly.
---Let us put a microscope on that for a minute. The most important relationship that a patient has is with his nursing assistant. For awhile, the patient relies on this person to be his eyes + ears for him. Here is the part that always seems to be short-sheeted...''the caliber of that relationship and if that person (the nursing assistant) has the ability to truly be your eyes + ears.'' Where that relationship lies is the foundation that the whole hospital experience is built. For awhile anyway, he or she can make or break your hospital experience. They are responsible for our pee and poop. How much more intimate do you want to get?
---As important as that relationship is...it is given almost NO importance as to being sure that the two people involved are two people who work together in tandem for the optimal result of making the patient as well as he possibly can be. The objective is to rehabilitate the whole patient. More time and consideration should be paid to the relationship that has the most influence. The Nursing Assistant AND The Patient.
---This applies to some of us!
---When that relationship works we will probably have a success story. If that relationship doesn't work we will have a patient who doesn't recover as fully as he should. Be Well.
This may just be a draft!