…is a frequently asked question I get from patients who come for infusions on a regular basis and haven’t seen me before. I don’t blame the patients, to them I am not a familiar face since I was not there during their last treatment or previous times they have come for their infusions. So they ask this question after I have introduced myself.
“Are you a new IV nurse?”
I give them an honest reply… “I’m not new here or a new nurse”…then I tell them my IV experience, and the reason why they haven’t seen me at the infusion center before -where I’m not a full time employee. I must admit that sometimes I am very tempted to answer with a remark such as – “yes, I’ve never done this before and you are my first IV stick” or something funny.. but I didn’t want to add more to the stress they are already dealing with.
Familiarity breeds comfort. This happens to everyone. When we aren’t acquainted with a person, an image or a sound, our senses say; ‘I don’t understand, I’m nervous, I’m out of control’. We have to create a new reference in our memory bank so eventually we feel comfortable and in control. In unfamiliar situations, we have to evaluate what is going on around us then make decisions based on a variety of factors such as our beliefs, habits and past experiences. This is so true with our patients. Patients like routines and having a familiar face caring for them brings comfort and reassurance. Patients are very perceptive, they know and can tell a lot about our experiences by just observing how we perform procedures, our demeanor and body language. They also know their rights and can certainly ask for another nurse should they wish to.
At the end of the day, my patients are very pleased and very appreciative. Then the next question they ask is…
“Are you working next time I come?”