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Training Perception

The nurse who demands of herself that she perceive accurately paves the
way for accurate, deft service in her profession. There are constant
means at hand for training in the art. Suppose you try to get so
definite a picture of each ward or room you enter, in a swift but
attentive examination of its furnishings and their locations, and of the
patients, that you can reproduce it to yourself or a friend some days

You come into a large ward, with a row of beds on either side of the
door, and a wide central space between. How many beds in each row? There
is a table at the far end of the room, opposite the door, and a nurse in
white is writing there. Why does she wear white? What is her name? To
your right is a closet-like room opening from the ward. That is a
medicine-room, you are told. How many windows has the ward? You glance
from bed to bed with a rapid passing in review of the patients. Which
ones seem to you very ill? There is a large white screen about one. You
are told that when treatments are given the screen is put there, or that
when a patient is dying the bed is screened. You look for the
ventilators, and see how many are open and how they work. You see a
room-thermometer, and ask at what temperature it is kept. The nurse
explains that a certain degree is ordered, and that, so far as possible,
the ventilators are operated to insure that.

If your attention has followed all these details with careful, accurate
perception; if you have grasped them clearly, one by one, at the time,
you will be able to answer quickly next day when some one asks how many
patients the wards accommodate, and how many beds are vacant. You can
describe the lighting and ventilation, the room temperature, etc. And
later on you will quickly see to it that a screen is properly placed
when you know treatments are to be given.

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