When my children were very young, I learned the importance of being present physically and emotionally during their transition times, the most important being waking and bedtime. As a child goes from sleep to wakefulness or wakefulness to sleep, there can be an unsettling in their bodies as they shift consciousness, and as a parent, being a steady presence can be helpful.
Transitions are equally important in the hospital as day shifts to night and night to day and we hand off patients we may have been taking care of the past 12 to 24 hours. Just as children need time to adjust to a transition, so do our patients as they transition to a new day, new staff, and possibly a new baby.
As health care providers, we must be equally as cognizant of our internal transition from home to work. Olivia DiLeonardo describes in "Morning" (Intima, Field Notes, Fall 2015) her mindfulness as she drives into work and walks into the hospital. You can see her shift from noticing the vivid details of the landscape on the drive in to the minute details of the trash in the parking garage. The pink barrett, the teddy bear, half eaten food that may have been lost by patients or family as they hurried into the hospital. All these details reflect her inner presence with her patients and, at the end of the her shift, hope for better days for them.
In my essay, "20 Minutes," I also speak about my transition, in the middle of the night, from home to the hospital. Just as with DiLeonardo, my senses are heightened to my surroundings as I drive in, the glistening snow, the deer, the night sounds. Perhaps this is so that all our senses are awakened and ready to be fully present for our patients and the variety and depth of their needs.
Andrea Eisenberg has been an obstetrician/gynecologist in the Metro Detroit area for nearly 25 years. Through her many years in women’s health, she has shared in countless intimate moments of her patients, and shared in their joys, heartaches, secrets, losses and victories. In her writing, she captures the human side of medicine and what doctors think and feel in caring for patients. She has documented these stories on her blog, www.secretlifeofobgyn.wordpress.com. Andrea is also a guest rotating blogger on KevinMD and has had several pieces published in Pulse, Voices From the Heart of Medicine, “More Voices” section. Her piece, "20 Minutes" appears in the Spring 2017 Intima.