'Slow Nursing'? - Should RNs join the 'slow medicine' movement?
by, 03-03-2009 at 12:00 PM (4549 Views)
You may have heard of the ‘Slow Food’ movement which started in Italy in reaction to the pervasiveness of fast food chains.such as MacDonalds. ‘Slow Food’ evokes images of simmering crock pots but is more about families and friends sharing a leisurely meal as well as how our food is grown and distributed.
‘Slow Medicine’ also has it’s roots in Italy but the concept has been further developed by Dennis McCollough, MD based on his work with geriatric populations. He posits that although ‘fast medicine’ has its place in emergencies and curative procedures, too much intervention in late life can decrease quality of life by causing unnecessary hospitalizations and disruption for fragile elders. Slow medicine includes concepts such as “active bedside listening”, “covenant for steadfast advocacy”, “responsible observation vs premature intervention” and many others.
A physician friend brought the concept to my attention.and asked if I thought nurses might be interested. The vision of a ‘slow nursing’ movement quickly took hypothetical form. “But nursing is already about ‘slow’”, I said.
The “slow” flavor of nursing comes through in this definition from the Royal College of Nursing;“[Nursing is] the use of clinical judgment in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability, until death.”
So why are nurses feeling stressed like they’re on a never ending roller coaster or a bullet train to nowhere? As a fledgling nurse practitioner I learned that an NP was judged more on how many patients she could “whip through” in an hour than by her competence and caring. And nurses’ number one battle cry is often the complaint that they do not have enough time to spend with patients.
All the slow movements are retro by nature harkening back to a slower more caring way of life and no doubt nursing was slower when we did not practice in a regulated, economically stretched era. Although I think nurses can learn a great deal from ‘Slow Medicine’ I maintain that nursing is at its heart a ‘slow’ discipline. Nursing has been shoved over into the fast lane but I do not think there is a need for the redundant moniker “slow nursing.”
What do you think? I'd ove to read your comments. My next posting will be my review of Dennis McCollough’s book, “My Mother, Your Mother: “Embracing “Slow Medicine” the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones.”