I want to share a funny anecdote to demonstrate the art of communication.
Recently a Nurse Manager friend at a nearby agency shared that one of her staff nurses was asking for help with a patient whose loved ones were demanding hydration for their dad who is no longer eating or drinking fluids. He’s terminally ill and hydration is not recommended as it can cause more harm than good in the last days. But the family is in total denial and insisting we try. His veins are shot as well as shriveled from the dehydration, but the attending physician asked for the nurse to try one liter of fluid just to calm down the drama.
So my friend texted the nurse back (on their encrypted messaging system) and suggested trying “a butterfly in the AC.” The thing is, the text went to someone else with the same first name who isn’t a nurse who commented back… “Why would I want to put butterflies in my air conditioner and how would I get them in there?!” (FYI—NO identifying information was sent! NO HIPAA violations!)
We all had a great laugh, noted the need to slow down, and just for the record, the patient actually rallied a bit and satisfied his family by drinking a few sips of water. No IV was needed.
We get ensconced in our nursing world and write notes with our shorthand c’s and s’s (for with and without) and q day and HS, etc., and forget that our lay family members and even non-nurse co-workers don’t speak that same language. Always be sure to communicate clearly, and of course, slow down and send those texts carefully.