I received a small laminated note-card from my grandmother and grandfather for my college graduation with this priceless saying, “A nurse is an angel.” As I read, and re-read, this card, I realize more and more each time how true to my heart and my nursing profession this saying is.
A nurse is a special person. It is one of a select few professions where we touch so many lives and so many hearts, work with so many people of varying social, economic, and physical environments and still demonstrate knowledge in health-care standards on a daily basis.
As a nurse, the relationships we build with our patients and their families and friends on a daily basis are more meaningful relationships than most professions can establish in years of being business partners, acquaintances, etc… The health care system would not be what it is without the crucial role of NURSES.
What is it, as a nurse, that makes me truly feel like an angel? As a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit, I feel I have touched, and made a difference in, many lives in my 5 years as a nurse. Let me share with you one story that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
It was a slow Friday afternoon in the PICU and I received a call from the unit coordinator telling me she had an admission for me. This was a five year old little boy who was seen in the oncology clinic earlier in the day for lethargy, dehydration, and neurological changes. He had a history of being diagnosed with a brain tumor about 3 months prior and had been through surgery for a resection of the tumor. Well, to make a long story short, the surgery was later deemed unsuccessful.
After working with the family for three days straight, putting their precious baby boy on full life support, going to CT scans, MRI scans, multiple care conference meetings, etc., I became very involved in this little boy’s case and had a special connection with the family. Sadly, a CT scan on Sunday morning showed invasive progression of the tumor from the scan done just two days prior and he was not going to make it; if he did, he would not be the same little five year old boy the family had known prior to this devastating news.
On Sunday, around 3 p.m., we held yet another care conference. The family, after a lot of heart wrenching despair and discussion, had decided to remove life support. The decision was made that this would take place at 8 p.m. Following the conference, the step-father of the patient asked me if I would be present when life support was removed.
My shift ended at 7 p.m., but I would, indeed, be present for the removal of life support of the little boy whom I had grown so fond of over a mere three days of nursing care. In short, the little boy was welcomed into Heaven’s gates around 10 p.m. that night. I was still there with the family and my fellow nurses, doctors, etc. After allowing the family some time to grieve and be with their son’s body, they slowly filtered out of the room, the mother and step-father being the last one’s out.
Understandably so as they were devastated. As I approached the family to express my sympathy to them, the mother ran toward me, hugged me, and buried her head into my shoulder, thanking me over and over while sobbing over the loss of her precious son.
This, in my eyes, is what nursing is all about!
The step-father, who had been very “removed” during this entire process, approached me, called me an angel, and hugged me. I have never looked at this as my “almost 19 hour shift,” only as a true testament as to what it means to me to be a nurse. This family will be in my heart forever!