No me either! I have held a patients hand, but then tell me what is wrong with that? There seems to be a perception that specialist nurses, particularly perhaps those looking after people with lung cancer do such a thing. I guess this would be because the perception is that they have no particularly useful role in patient care seeing as they usually don’t actually provide physical care. At the same time the implication is that the employment of such a nurse financially prevents the use of particular expensive drugs. I have been a specialist nurse, but not with patients with lung cancer. Indeed I made a decision relatively early on in my nursing career that I didn’t want to specialise in the care of people with cancer, and can’t imagine concentrating on lung cancer. I did share an office with the hospital’s lung cancer nurse though and she didn’t pat peoples hands though she did spend lots of time with individual patients talking through treatment options or lack of them and generally being there to listen and advise. She often also was there to pick up the pieces left my busy medical staff breezing in and out of a situation without taking the time to check that the patient understood the message that had been given.
There is a feeling, I would suspect, that if you don’t administer medication, don’t wash people or take them to the toilet then as a nurse you have nothing useful to give. Well that has not been my experience of my colleagues who have this kind of role or of the way they have been accepted by their patients. The best services are offered using a team approach where everyone has their part to play and where the patient is central to what is provided.
Today I heard some worrying stories about a local GP, but I wouldn’t take that to mean that all GPs have an over inflated idea of their own knowledge, skills and abilities any more than it can be generalised that this is the case of your average nurse. I have been patronised by plenty of GPs in my time, perhaps almost patted on the head, but I have never to my knowledge patted a patient’s hand.