In musical notation, that snake-bite colon you sometimes see at the end of a notated passage is called a repeat sign.
It directs the musician to return to the beginning of the phrase or section and play it through again. To repeat it over.
But it is never a true repeat, because you can never play the same piece of music twice.
Although the musician returns over notation that is exactly the same, the flow and form of the music is always moving onward. Really, there are no repetitions.
As nurses we must always be very careful of repeats.
It is easy to fall into the trap of treating patients that return over and over with similar symptoms as exactly the same each presentation. Or to treat a particular condition or diagnoses as repeating itself identically amongst different patients.
Or to expect that a task we frequently perform is going to play out the same way as the previous occasions.
To do so is to risk missing the onward flow and form within our patients individual lives.
Our nursing work calls for endless repetition. Drawing blood. Giving medications. Taking ECG’s. Writing notes. Looking after patients with the same diagnosis. Day after day. Year after year. We think we know what we are doing.
Going back over the same section again and again.
But the illusion of the repeat is something we must work hard to avoid.
We must not just play the music, we must listen, and oftentimes, allow ourselves to be played by it.