Band-Aids and Compassion

Reluctantly I sat down at the round table filled with eager nursing students armed with band-aids, cotton balls, and needles! It is one of my least favorite times of year: FLU season (insert creepy music) as a health care professional it is imperative that I get an annual flu shot to protect my patients and myself from that yucky bug. Plus it’s required if I plan on keeping my job 🙂

I slowly walked toward a friendly looking student, reminding myself that it would only sting for a minute and there wouldn’t be too much blood involved! Me a nurse ! A nurse who gave a flu shot to a patient not 12 hours ago was giving herself a pep talk as if I was walking to my doom!!

I put my things down, rolled up my sleeve and reluctantly nodded as the future nurse said “left arm?” she then proceeded to clean my deltoid with an alcohol prep pad and said “I’m going to go riigghhht here as she gave my muscle a squeeze”. Once again I nodded, I wanted to yell, “just get it over with!” I watched her prep the needle as I have done countless times before, and right when she was about to poke me I looked away, counted to three and to my surprise I didn’t feel a thing! Not bad nursing student, not bad.

I reassured her that she had done a good job like so many patients have reminded me and went on my way, proudly wearing my ” I got my flu shot” sticker on my scrub top (hope I remember to take that off before I through it in the wash) .

Shots are not nearly as scary as I remember and thankfully my arm doesn’t feel like it has been punched by a heavy weight champ. I did however let out a quick yelp as I peeled that band-aid off of my arm before I went in to work last night (ouch!!).

Sometimes nurses need a dose of their own medicine to remember how vulnerable being a patient makes someone feel. I hope the next time I roll my eyes at a patient who doesn’t want their Q8h heparin shot because it burns, I think back to my heart pounding experience yesterday morning and have compassion, even if it is a 200lb man covered in tattoos 🙂

Peace, love, and flu shots — Nurse Mo ❤