While on placement at an emergency ward last year I was conducting my routine observations when I heard a commotion behind the nurses’ station.
Apparently, one of the healthcare assistants had come across some images on a patient’s mobile phone. Indecent images of children.
Now I know what you’re thinking, firstly what was a member of staff doing with a patient’s phone. Well I’m not sure, it wasn’t my place to get involved. Regardless of how the pictures were discovered, the patient was then nursed with a police accompaniment while the allegations were investigated.
But how did it feel for the nurses to have their patient transform before their eyes? I could visibly see the way they felt conflicted. A patient had gone from being somebody that we felt sorry for, for being involved in an accident, to someone that could be involved in criminal behaviour.
I had to conduct the patient’s observations and I hope I managed to hide any internal discussion I was having about what this patient was accused of doing. It got me thinking about how as nurses we will often find ourselves in situations where we have to care for patients whose actions and lifestyles we disapprove of.
Have there been any incidents that have tested your ability to remain professional?