Intimate Strangers: Article for AJN’s Aug 2017 Reflections column

Meeting a family for the first time, on the day they will say good-bye to their child for the last time. Taking care of the child's physical needs until it's time to be the one who turns off all that has been sustaining those needs. It is one of the most profound interactions a nurse … Continue reading Intimate Strangers: Article for AJN’s Aug 2017 Reflections column

Papi, Read the Story: The Nurse’s Privilege to Witness Beauty

The curious and perhaps inevitable effect of a major health crisis on any family is its power to elicit affection, emotion, and perhaps long-resisted efforts at connection from those most directly involved. Reserved personalities crack open, reach out. Estranged relationships build bridges, sometimes temporarily for survival, sometimes repentantly for healing. Close relationships sometimes buckle, sometimes grow … Continue reading Papi, Read the Story: The Nurse’s Privilege to Witness Beauty

How is Work: The Question I Struggle to Answer as a Nurse

It must seem odd, why I hesitate. It’s a pretty standard question in standard conversation. “How is work?” But I hesitate every time, and I think at times I stare at the person questioning me. I’m trying to gauge how much they want to know. Do you want an easy answer? “Work is busy. Our … Continue reading How is Work: The Question I Struggle to Answer as a Nurse

The Small Unforgettable Lesson: On Feeling the Gap Between the Nurse and the Patient’s Family

Disoriented, exhausted, and almost slightly embarrassed, she emerged from her dark room and blinked. I was the nurse for a different patient a couple doors down and had occasionally glanced at the photos she had taped on the front of her son’s door throughout the day – photos of her infant son in his healthier … Continue reading The Small Unforgettable Lesson: On Feeling the Gap Between the Nurse and the Patient’s Family

The Trust: What the General Public Bestows to a Healthcare Provider

When we were given our licenses to practice medicine, nursing, respiratory care, pharmacy, social work, physical and occupational therapy, we were given not only a license to write orders, administer medications, or give breathing treatments. We were given a trust that goes far beyond a technical practice. Of course, honing our practices is vital, and … Continue reading The Trust: What the General Public Bestows to a Healthcare Provider

Close Enough to Change: What Primary Nursing can do to a Nurse’s Heart

He could not speak. His disease process barely allowed him to move any longer. But he was fully present, and he would smack his lips to get my attention. He could use his eyes and a slight nod or shake of the head to communicate his needs and desires. He was fully present, a little … Continue reading Close Enough to Change: What Primary Nursing can do to a Nurse’s Heart

The (He)art of Conversation: On Being an Introverted Nurse (Post 1)

I’m always fascinated by people who have a way of making anyone and everyone feel as though they have known each other for years. My roommate in college during freshman year was this way. This worked out rather well for me, as all types of people would come knocking on our door, reducing the amount … Continue reading The (He)art of Conversation: On Being an Introverted Nurse (Post 1)