Blog 2: Cognizant Observation

Observing others in their natural day to day affairs is something we do every day to the point we are no longer cognizant of our actions. Growing up my mom and I would always sit in coffee shops or the park and watch the world around us. I continued to observe on my own even when I wasn’t with my mom usually unaware of my actions until the beginning of this year. A few days before the semester started, my sorority did some workshops where we focused mostly on learning to be cognizant of our own actions and those around us. It has significantly opened my eyes to recognize what is going on around me.


I recently started working as a student nurse aid (SNA) at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and I realized the hospital cafeteria would be a great place to observe others. As I sat with a fellow PCA there to train me, I looked around and saw a diverse group of individuals. Many with similar characteristics as well as differences. I saw groups of family members from all different cultures which was evident by their diction and nonverbal communication such as the way they used their hands to explain as well as their dress. One family was excited when they realized a PCA family member could take her lunch break and spend time with them. It was visible that the family seemed calmer and could relax without thinking about the reason they were visiting the hospital. Another couple appeared to be in a deep conversation as they leaned toward one another and spoke in whispered voices. The wife kept looking around as if she was worried someone was listening in on the conversation and continued to lower her voice when people passed.


Aside from patient families, there were groups of doctors and groups of nurses. Some were talking about patient, answering pagers, phones, or talking about personal situations. Although they appeared very annoyed when a phone or pager went off, the conversation itself seemed very light-hearted as to take a break from work. As a SNA, I knew in a few short shifts I would be on my own and without another patient care associate to sit with meaning I would probably be sitting by myself on my phone the entire time. I don’t want to be sitting alone, and I know it will take some time to meet new people but observing others reminded me how I can open myself to start making connections. Overall, it was very interesting to watch people in the hospital cafeteria to interact, and I was surprised yet glad I didn’t see anyone crying.