The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses publishes AACN Advanced Critical Care. Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press® assists in the publication of ACC Online.

Current Issue : October-December 2016

From the Editor

I have written about violence in this column previously, but it is a topic that continues to require focus and attention. Heartbreaking violence is occurring daily in our country, both in situations that are immediately known in real time as they are occurring as well as those seemingly " everyday" situations that don't garner as much attention beyond local neighborhoods. The well-known journalist Bob Schieffer was recently asked what the difference was between today's violence resulting in protests and that of the civil rights protests of the 1960s. His answer was that people in today's society no longer have patience.

Hearing that response caused me to pause and reflect about the role of patience - or lack thereof - in our daily lives. What a simple statement and one that certainly rings true in many ways about today's society.  Everyone is rushing from one activity, obligation, or commitment to the next, angry at any inconveniences encountered.

Think about the times you may experience impatience in your daily healthcare setting. It is easy to become frustrated when your plan doesn't go as expected in trying to complete myriad tasks. Does your language become short or accusatory when calling the lab to see why the test result is delayed? Do you become brusque when talking to the pharmacist about the missing medication that your patient needs now?

Have you ever experienced a situation where your frustration prompted you to call colleagues in another department or unit to complain about the issues "they" were causing? Then perhaps someone you know answers the phone and your perspective changes? Perhaps you allow your colleague to describe what is happening in their area including the pressures they are facing and attempting to address. Your irritation dissipates when you hear the familiar voice of a colleague with whom you often work and you give your colleague the benefit of the doubt that he or she is doing their best. Maybe you even offer to send assistance or help problem solve the situation.

Patience is such a simple concept, yet one that can be challenging to maintain and display. When we don't use patience things can escalate - voices become raised and accusations can occur. Ultimately, bullying, intimidation, and damage to working relationships can be difficult to repair. Patience is a requisite characteristic to be able to truly listen to each other and dialogue about ways that together we can solve today's issues - whether in our healthcare environment or in our society.

Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS

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