Small gestures, big impact

December 02, 2019
William Boateng, ABSN student, holds up a picture created by one of his patients.
William Boateng, ABSN student, holds up a picture created by one of his patients.

Between delivering care, communicating with patients and caregivers, and providing education, nurses spend around two and a half hours with their patients per nine-hour shift. During patient care, nurses can have a significant influence on a patient's experience. A patient's encounter can hinge entirely on nursing skills.

While William Boateng, ABSN student, was on his clinical rotation recently, he cared for a pediatric patient with a congenital condition. Boateng says after meeting the young patient and being touched by her story, he thought about how he could add to her quality of care while she was in the hospital. Sometimes it's the small things that we do for patients that add up to create a huge effect. 

"Each time I entered her room, I walked through the doorway with a smile," he says. "I played with her, joked with her, laughed with her, listened and empathized with her, said kind words to her, motivated her, encouraged her, and above all I inspired hope in her."

When his shift was over, he said goodbye to her and her family. The patient enthusiastically asked when he would be working again, but because of his clinical timetable, he was not on the schedule, therefore would not see her before she was to be discharged. Not wanting to let his patient down, he paid her a surprise visit the next day after attending a lecture on campus.

"She was so happy to see me," Boateng says. "A week later, I received an email from an art therapist at MUSC." His patient had made him a piece of art on her discharge day. In the picture, the patient wrote the words inspire, kind, caring, talented, and devoted. Words that describe what Boateng meant to her during her stay at MUSC.

With simple gestures, words, and empathy, Boateng touched a young patient's heart, and as it turns out, she did the same for him.

Keywords: Winter 2019