Thursday, September 15, 2011

Good News

The best part of my day, hands down, was getting to tell a patient that her CT scan was clear, and that no further cancer had appeared in her abdomen.

As a nurse in the emergency department I often saw the test results before the physicians did. Many patients would ask me directly what the results were but I always had to defer and say that the doctor would be in to speak to them shortly. It was one of the things about nursing that irked me on a regular basis.

Today the chart landed in my hands and I called a bubbly woman in to the office. I asked what her referral was regarding and she informed me that it was for the results of her recent CT scan. She had a history of cancer in her abdomen and as I flipped through the chart trying to find Diagnostics I said a silent prayer hoping things would be normal. Found the report and read it out to her...everything was normal. As I read I could see in my peripheral vision her shoulders relax slightly from a hunch, and heard a breath escape with the movement. The relief on her face was a delight to me.

So much of our practice deals with pathology and telling people bad news that these moments of relief and reassurance, are a treat. I am grateful that I was able to start my career of telling people results with some good news.


Grumpy, M.D. said...

"Your scan looked fine... Oh wait, that's the wrong chart. Hang on."

Sarah Sue said...

That's wonderful! : ) I'm glad for both you and the patient too : D

Solitary Diner (Also Known as The Frugalish Physician) said...

I wish I'd never seen Dr. Grumpy's comment in real life (shudder in memory). Glad that the scan today was a good one and belonged to the correct patient.

Cara said...

I hear ya on the results thing. I had the sweetest old lady whose cancer result came back on her BIRTHDAY. I had to look at that thing in the chart all day long. I was off shift before the doctor came back, then off for a few days so I never had to look her in the eyes again. It was such a sad day for me, but you do what you do.