Last night, after getting back home for Thanksgiving break, I was talking with my mom about work. She works at a Catholic hospital just outside of St. Louis. Last year, I shadowed my mom as she worked on the medical/surgical unit one evening. I wanted to see what the conditions were like and get a better feel for her work. Since then, she’s also begun working shifts in the emergency room and outpatient infusion, in addition to becoming a diabetes educator to explain the treatment and healthy lifestyle tips to newly diagnosed patients. I have never seen the work on those other units, so I asked her if I could go to work with her this morning to see what outpatient infusion was like.
On the drive home, mom told me some stories about patients she’s cared for in recent weeks. Many of the elderly patients are kind, patient, and considerate. She grows frustrated with the younger patients, however, who are very often rude, impatient, and demanding. She says that years ago, when a nurse was assigned a young adult patient, she was glad because she expected a easy shift. These days, the younger patients are dreaded, because instead of making the shift easier on the nurses, they expect the nurses to be at their beckon call. They are often non-compliant with the doctor’s orders and dismiss the nurse’s advice, while still demanding much of the nurse’s attention, detracting from the care she must give to the other patients under her charge. She becomes discouraged when her patients choose to reject lifestyle change, expecting the hospital to do all the work and return them to health.
What is it about this generation that makes us feel entitled to “have it our way?” Why do we so readily deny wise counsel? Have we become “wise in our own eyes,” when it is obvious to the casual observer that we are total idiots?