Notes on Nursing
Always sit within the patient's view, so that when you speak to him he has not painfully to turn his head round in order to look at you. Everybody involuntarily looks at the person speaking.
Irresolution is what all patients most dread. Rather than meet this in others, they will collect all their data, and make up their minds for themselves.
If it is a whispered conversation in the same room, then it is absolutely cruel; for it is impossible that the patient's attention should not be involuntarily strained to hear
In very weak patients there is often a nervous difficulty of swallowing, which is so much increased by any other call upon their strength.
Unnecessary noise, or noise that creates an expectation in the mind, is that which hurts a patient. Such unnecessary noise has undoubtedly induced or aggravated delirium in many cases. Remember that every noise a patient cannot see partakes of the character of suddenness to him.
Remember, that the more alone an invalid can be when taking food, the better, is unquestionable; and, even if he must be fed, the nurse should not allow him to talk, or talk to him, especially about food, while eating.
Do not meet or overtake a patient who is moving about in order to speak to him, or to give him any message or letter. You do not know the effort it is to a patient to remain standing for even a quarter of a minute to listen to you.
Never to allow a patient to be waked, intentionally or accidentally, is a sine qua non of all good nursing. If he is roused out of his first sleep, he is almost certain to have no more sleep.
A good nurse will always make sure that no door or window in her patient's room shall rattle or creak; that no blind or curtain shall, by any change of wind through the open window be made to flap–especially will she be careful of all this before she leaves her patients for the night.
Never speak to a sick person suddenly; but, at the same time, do not keep his expectation on the tiptoe.
Remember never to lean against, sit upon, or unnecessarily shake, or even touch the bed in which a patient lies. This is invariably a painful annoyance.
«Notes on Nursing», 1859.