For the first time, I came to the hospital as a visitor, not an employee. And it was strange. After so many years of strolling – no, rushing – through the corridors, running to MET (medical emergency team) calls, swiping swiping swiping my ID card to get through the rabbit warren of shortcuts and hidden stairwells, following a team of consultants around trying to keep up, pager buzzing non stop, phone ringing without a pause, mind ticking thinking about what jobs I had to complete… suddenly it all felt different.
Suddenly it wasn’t the state of the art hospital we all know and love. Suddenly it became a little daunting. Sure inside those walls on a work day I notice the many visitors, families, friends all there for one reason – because someone is sick. I always smile in the corridors, help direct where I can, try to be as pleasant as possible knowing that they wouldn’t be there unless there was something wrong with a child they know and love. But as staff we are there for a different reason. And it feels different. We have purpose. We are there to treat, look after and help where possible. We are, somewhat, in control of what is happening and we act based on what the outcome is and manage based on research and experience. It’s all very medical, methodical.
But being there as a visitor suddenly it seemed different. I didn’t know what to expect. Everything was out of my hands. Walking through the corridors I didn’t feel that sense of purpose, in fact I felt a little lost. Vulnerable. The corridor was no longer just a walk way to get from one ward to another. It was a long hall which gave me enough time to think about where I was going. Staff who didn’t know me smiled at me politely (probably thinking that I was there because someone I know is sick and they wanted to be nice) I didn’t know if I should swipe my card in to the ward or ring the bell. How do you even find a patient when you’re a visitor after hours and not meant to just stroll up to the nurses station and look at the patient list? I suddenly realised that a place I thought I knew so much about seemed so foreign experiencing it from the other side.
It made me realise – it is possible to travel down the same path you have travelled down many times before and suddenly it all seem very different. Change one factor and your whole perspective changes so it’s the same path, but different.
Be healthy, be happy, by kind.
Dr. Nelu x
(Photo credit: http://www.keyword-suggestions.com/aG9zcGl0YWwgaGFsbHdheQ/)