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The Critical Incident: A Challenging Communication Encounter - Essay Example

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I was working as a nurse associated with the neo-natal ward in the hospital. The neo-natal ward had 4 pre-term babies at that point of time. There was a special case of one baby boy who was born at 26 weeks gestation and weighed about 1.5 pounds at birth. The neonatologist had given a probability of survival at only 50%. However, the parents were clear that they wanted the infant to survive. One fine morning, I rushed to the ward, hearing the screams of the mother. The mother was furious with someone and gesticulating wildly. I asked her to calm down and explain the situation. She was barely coherent, shouting at the interns and the nurses on duty. Apparently, the equipment was showing falling levels of oxygen saturation and no one was concerned enough to investigate the issue. Besides, some alarm was ringing inside the ward and the neonatologist was not summoned. The mother was really out of control and shouting at everyone. It took me more than half an hour to calm her down. In between I also got angry and tried to reason out the delay in nurses attending to the issue. She got more violent and began to throw a few things off the table. In the end we had to restrain her physically albeit for a few minutes. She broke down, sobbing. I kept a gentle arm on her shoulder and made her sit down. Meanwhile I ordered a cup of coffee at her request. It was handed over to her. Then I asked her if she had taken her breakfast. She replied in the negative. I ordered a quick but healthy breakfast from the hospital canteen. Once she consumed her breakfast, she was able to speak coherently. Even now, she was a bit loud and angry, but she was more logical and rational than before. I realized that there were shortcomings on the part of the nurses on duty also. Since the incident happened just before my shift was beginning, I was unable to understand the context fully. Structured Reflection Sometime later, I was trying to assess what had happened during the situation in the neo-natal ward. Firstly, what were the issues that were apparent on the surface? My reactions to the issues must also be analyzed. The primary issue was negligence on the part of the nurses and attendants on duty at the ward. The secondary issue was the tantrum thrown by the mother, though in hindsight, the tantrums were probably justified. On reaching the scene, I was initially angry and flustered. I reacted instinctively, trying to fight fire with fire. I was perhaps not successful. It only resulted in the argument getting louder. My feelings during the encounter ranged from anger to empathy. In the first instance, I perhaps started arguing and countering her on the various allegations raised. At this juncture, I was going by the gut. There was no thought on my part. I was merely reacting like a provoked child. Perhaps, my reactions were influenced by the nature of the encounter. Maybe, the situation was completely out of line with the otherwise quiet and brisk environment of the hospital. Possibly that made me angry.  ...Show more


The essay "The Critical Incident: A Challenging Communication Encounter" describes that during periods of stress the nursing profession is beset with workload of the highest order. Doctors are not expected to be in attendance throughout the day. They can take short breaks from work, although they cannot get away from the hospitals for an extended duration of time…
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The Critical Incident: A Challenging Communication Encounter essay example
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