What kind of Sick Person are you?


By: Marie Morgan, RN

Think back to the last time you were sick. What kind of “sick” person are you?

For me, it depends on my sickness as to the person staring back at you. If it is a stomach virus, I don’t want a soul near me. Not even to help!

If I have injured myself, I prefer that everyone pretend like it is not that bad. Don’t tell me about it because I don’t want to know until it is all over.

Fever and respiratory illness cause me to disappear into my bed until it is over.

Now think back to the last time that you didn’t feel well and your doctor walked through your dirty house and straight up to your bedroom. All the while your doctor is looking around the place where you have all your used tissues, cups with water or Gatorade, pill bottles, and dirty laundry to find a decent place to put their bag. You probably have not experienced this.

Many of our patients, however, experience this scenario. They have no energy, need help around the house, may or may not have support, and now they could possibly feel the need to entertain this nurse that just carved a path through their home. Could your patient’s prefer that no one touch them when they have a fever, that you stay away while they are throwing up, or that you don’t tell them how bad it really is for them? Perhaps they want someone who will dote on them and just sit and listen to how bad things have been. I challenge you to think back because as healthcare providers we are predisposed to forget what it is like to be the patient.

The next time you are treating a patient, remember what it may be like for them. It is one of the greatest honors to be invited into someone’s life and home when they are at their worst. When others are sent away you are called in.

Remember the privilege and you will see that this is a calling!

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