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

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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.