We all have aspects of our jobs that become routine. In the hospital setting with multiple new admissions coming and multiple transfers going, providing healthcare can at times become routine. To combat this, when I walk up and down the intensive care unit and peek in different rooms, I imagine what is happening in this person’s life. Each ICU bed is occupied by such a unique individual patient.

Making a conscious effort to know my patients on a more personal level helps break the routine. Hearing about my patient’s life; their spouse, how long they’ve been married, their children, their pets, their career, even the goals they have set for after their hospital stay, it all helps change my perspective.

I understand that their circle of close family and friends are impacted by the ICU admission. Home routines are off schedule. Work days may have to be rearranged and childcare rescheduled. Often, they are tasked with taking care of the patient’s pets and household and still have to manage their own day to day life. Additionally, if the patient can’t communicate for themselves, we rely on that family member or close friend to help us with choices and decisions.

Although there are usual routines of treatment and medical therapy for specific illnesses, no two patients are the same. Balancing the professional and personal ways of caring for patients can be challenging at times. It is an art. An art I practice with each working day.

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity” – Hippocrates

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