One of the oldest rules in nursing is the one about self disclosure.
A Professional distance must be kept at all times.
I generally subscribe to this notion.
But not always.
Not quite and I will tell you why.
Recently I had a patient who had been admitted for symptom control .
Often these patients need a short sharp bout of medical and nursing care to alleviate problems before going home again.
They are still dying, but the end is not quite in full sight.
I nursed my patient on consecutive nights and so we quite quickly developed a rapport and an understanding how things needed to be done.
I am an efficient nurse who doesn’t fanny arse around and she appreciated this.
In between turns and medications and dressings she asked me direct questions about my life and I got the impression she wasn’t being nosey, she was just being interested , interested in something that wasn’t her life of carers and of cancer and of isolation and of dying.
She fed on the nuggets of a life outside hers with a sort of hunger
She had little experience of gay marriage and she dug deep and quickly into my divorce and my thoughts of being single again, of adoption and gay rights but when the work was done she would settle quickly under her fleece blankets , close her eyes and say “ Nos da” ( Welsh for Goodnight) until I saw her again in the morning.
I worked a lot of nights with her
The day of her discharge eventually came and that morning, around 6 am I turned her and made her comfortable before I went off duty.
It was still dark outside, but you could just see the ghostly shapes of the Welsh goats as they pastured on the side of the Orme from her room window.
Just before I left the room she said quietly“ I’ve enjoyed our chats..... I won’t see you again will I?”
“ Probably Not” I said as gently as I could, a little burst of sadness in the air
“ Nos da” she said carefully
“ Nos da” I repeated
And I silently closed the door to finish my rounds.....