How a Patient’s Family Heals a Nurse in this Era of Medicine

(Author’s note: Permission has been granted by all parties involved, including the patient's family, to share medical details that may make this patient identifiable.) One of the things that feels most unfair about pediatric ICU nursing is that with critically ill children, you don’t get the comfort of being able to look back and say … Continue reading How a Patient’s Family Heals a Nurse in this Era of Medicine

Guest Post for American Journal of Nursing: Learning New Skills of Supporting One Another as Nurses

Life post-TEDx Talk is slowly returning to a more reasonable pace, which means I finally have more time to start writing again. This latest guest blog post for the American Journal of Nursing is about an issue I have been wrestling with for awhile: Why do we nurses still seem to have a hard time … Continue reading Guest Post for American Journal of Nursing: Learning New Skills of Supporting One Another as Nurses

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

The Inner Stretch of Nursing: Guest Post for American Journal of Nursing

Nursing has a way of challenging - and sometimes flat out messing with - your perspective on life. So many Sundays, I've gone to church and started singing about truths I know to be foundational - God is good, mercy and hope are real, comfort is near. I have seen and experienced all of these … Continue reading The Inner Stretch of Nursing: Guest Post for American Journal of Nursing

How to Prevent a Code as a Nurse (and it’s not the way you think)

Hers was a story that would make you shake your head in disbelief just to hear the background, never mind what all actually went down on my shift with her. An unstable family, a turbulent social life, clear signs of personal distress. As the nurse, I listened to the story, and like a good nurse, … Continue reading How to Prevent a Code as a Nurse (and it’s not the way you think)

The Messy Untangling: On Sorting Through the Hard Feelings after a Rough Shift

Today, I’m feeling it. The untangling after a particularly intense shift on all levels. I walked into a shift with a family whose child had taken a big turn for the worse and they had no guarantees that moving forward with certain procedures and therapies would turn things around for the better. We could only … Continue reading The Messy Untangling: On Sorting Through the Hard Feelings after a Rough Shift

A Shared Sense of Rest: On Therapeutic Presence and the Power of Quiet

She was not my patient, but I had briefly met her earlier in the day, and my co-worker asked if I might be free to go in her room and just be with her awhile while my co-worker caught up on charting. The patient was having an anxiety attack, and the Ativan we had given … Continue reading A Shared Sense of Rest: On Therapeutic Presence and the Power of Quiet

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