Today when I went to the ward I was walking round to make sure all the children were happy and relaxed and I came across a baby who was crying a lot. My first instinct was to go and help calm him down and play with him to relax him. But he was in a separate room which I noticed had a ‘protective isolation’ sign on the door. I knew from my previous experiences that patients can be isolated for one of two reasons: either for their own protection, or to protect other patients from the illness they have if it’s contagious. Upon noticing this, I went and spoke to a nurse about whether I would be appropriate for me to enter the room. It’s very important that within a healthcare setting you understand your role and the level of your competency. I am involved in the caring role, so am not made aware of the patient’s conditions. I also am not qualified to judge whether it would be safe to enter a room where a patient is isolated for their own protection, as well as the procedures on how to do so.
It was significant that I was able to recognise the need to be able to ask when unsure to make sure I’m not posing the patients at any risk. The nurse assured me that I could go in to look after the baby and also told me that I must wear a disposable apron before entering the room. I cradled the child and put him to sleep. It seemed that he was so distressed because he had been left alone as his mother had returned home for a short time to bring him a change of clothes. I loved being able to make the child more comfortable and essentially calm him down…no matter how small a patient is, there’s always something you can do to make them feel better. Even if they’re too young to understand what you’ve done for them, the fact that the baby was relaxed now was enough to make me feel like I had fulfilled my role.