Nurse Shares How Offering Even a Small Amount of TLC to Patients Goes a Long Way

Medical equipment sitting in the hallway with a group of healthcare workers.

There is no denying the reality that the atmosphere in a hospital is often very tense and caregivers find it hard to spend as much time with each patient as they would like. (Image: Sudok1 via Dreamstime)

Offering TLC to patients can make a big difference. There is no denying the reality that the atmosphere in a hospital is often very tense. You can see doctors running around with nurses to oversee critical operations. There are also worried relatives of patients admitted with critical conditions waiting anxiously for some word on how they are doing. It is natural that some of the patients being cared for in such a hectic environment will be stressed out. While the role of medication and clinical care can never be overlooked, the way the staff deal with such patients makes a visible difference. 

Elaine Ahn, a nurse in Diamond Bar, California, thinks nurses can make a difference by providing a bit more TLC to patients. Of all healthcare providers, nurses are the ones who spend the most time with patients. They are the ones to observe if a patient is experiencing any worsening of symptoms or is feeling better. It has been scientifically proven that mental well-being has a profound impact on physical health. Nurse Ahn saw that when she sat with patients from time to time and just chatted with them, the patients would feel better.

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California happens to be the only state that has a law in place to ensure hospitals must have one nurse to look after every 2 patients in ICU. For emergency rooms, the nurse-to-patient ratio stands at 1:4. Nurse Ahn knows that sometimes caring for patients around the clock can be mentally taxing, but she still tries to go the extra mile to offering TLC to patients to make them feel better.

Nurse Ahn knows that caring for patients can be taxing, but she still tries to offer some TLC to patients as much as possible.
Nurse Ahn knows that caring for patients can be taxing, but she still tries to offer some TLC to patients as much as possible. (Image: via Elaine Ahn)

She says: “Sometimes people just need to be heard. In the busy world of acute care, time can really be a luxury. With the number of tasks to perform and numerous alarms pulling nurses and aides in various directions, stretching us thin like pizza dough, it’s upsetting because it can get difficult to be able to spend as much time as we would like with our patients.” 

She recalls one instance when she was able to tend to a patient, giving him and his relatives her attention for a longer span of time. This made the patient and family feel better eventually. They were anxious and frustrated but her attention made a visible difference. This made her realize that this could be an effective way to deal with patients who are stressed and anxious.  

Offering TLC to patients came from her mentors

She derived the idea of offering TLC to patients from her mentors, Josh and Jess. She recalls how this helped her deal with a person coping with terminal lung cancer. The man was lonely and had no visitors. Ahn said: “Especially upon learning that he had no friends or family members to visit or call him, I really wanted to be someone who was present with him in this very difficult time of his life. I wanted him to be able to have another human present and be engaged with him and for him to feel heard and cared for.” 

OR nurse in gloves, gown, and cap ready to assist in surgery stands by a tray laid out with instruments.
Nurse Elaine Ahn in the OR ready for a surgical procedure. (Image: via Elaine Ahn)

She thinks giving TLC to patients is important but people in the healthcare sector must learn to stay fit and take care of themselves too. Apart from spending time with lonely and anxious patients, they also have to accomplish many routine tasks with precision. So, they have to strike a balance somewhere. That way they will be better able to offer care and attention to the patients around the clock.

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