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Thread: The More You Give, Inspirational Poems, Touching Stories

  1. #11
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    Jun 2013
    One of the things that’s changed most since I started nursing more than a decade ago is the concept of age. 70 used to be old. Now 70 is middle-aged, mostly, and we’re seeing more and more patients in their late 80s and 90s, usually in better shape than 70-year-olds were 10 years ago.

    With that lengthening of the time people are healthy comes interesting changes. People are getting remarried now, sometimes more than once, when their spouses die or they divorce. Families get more and more blended. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out who’s related to whom.

    A year or so ago, I had an elderly man in who’d had a minor stroke. He and his first wife had adopted 20-some-odd children over the years, from the time they were first married until he was well into his 70s. She died six years ago, and he’d remarried at the age of 90. His wife was 80-something.

    So here we have this man, now age 92, and his wife, and his various adopted kids, some of whom had kids and even grandkids of their own. (His oldest, a son, was in his 70s and had a great-grandchild.) I asked how he’d been able to support the constant flow of children, some formally adopted and some just taken in, on his wages as the pastor of a very small fundamentalist church.

    He told me that God had not blessed him and his first wife with children, but that God had raised up a table that made it possible for them to care for kids who had nowhere else to go. I nodded; I don’t argue politics or religion at work.

    Then his wife said, calmly, that she and he hadn’t yet had any children, but that they’d only been married two years; who knew what could happen?

    I opened my mouth, then shut it. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand basic biology; she just lived in a different world than I did. God had sent a child to Rebekah and Sarah and Elizabeth, so why not her?

    I am not religious. Not even a little. I was so touched, though, by those folks. They walked their talk, they obviously loved and enjoyed each other, they had fun together, they flirted. With somebody like that, 90-plus wouldn’t be so bad.

    By JO, RN

  2. #12
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    Jun 2013
    There's a special beauty witnessed
    Every day within your role
    As you care for all your patients
    As you meet each nursing goal

    In this role you make a difference
    One that goes beyond just care
    Goes beyond the role of Nursing
    To a special gift you share

    It's a gift that eases sorrow
    Eases pain and fallen tears
    One you've chosen to give freely
    Without compromise or fears

    In your touch there is a healing
    Known on earth and high above
    It's the special beauty witnessed

    When a Heart is Touched by Love.

  3. #13
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    Jun 2013
    The Gift: An Inspiring Nursing Story

    We all have our own nursing stories to tell our colleagues and even our children. But the greatest nursing stories of all are those that inspire others to understand why nursing is more than just a calling; why every experience can be considered a gift.

    His name was Randolph and he was ninety four years old, according to the neighbor who found him early one morning. He was apparently out for his morning walk to buy a newspaper when he collapsed on his front porch. When I first laid eyes on Randolph, he was lying helplessly, but conscious, on a gurney in the emergency area of our small local hospital. He was dressed in a grey tweed suit, white shirt and a bow tie. His eyes were bright blue and staring straight at me.

    “Hello, Randolph”, I began. “My name is Janet. I will be your nurse today and I am going to take really good care of you. It seems you had a little accident this morning.”

    As a first year nursing student, I was new to the emergency area. I had only cared for patients who were stable or who needed very basic cares. Randolph was a new nursing challenge for me. My assignment was simple enough, however, I was to transfer him to the floor (station 12 med/surg) and assist him into a gown.

    As I undressed my patient and prepared him for his hospital stay, I talked to him as though we were having an actual conversation, although I was the only one talking. I tried to look at him directly as I spoke. He seemed to understand me and occasionally made a little sound of some sort. He even tried to smile and would raise his left hand as if to acknowledge that he did truly understand my ramblings.

    Randolph’s blue eyes were intense as he watched my every move. They were kind, but focused. Concerned, but trusting. He seemed to be acutely aware of his surroundings and of me.

    “Randolph, I’m going to give you a little sponge bath.”

    I began washing his well shaven face. I doubted he needed a bath. It was obvious to me that he was a well groomed older gentleman from the way he had dressed himself that morning. I spoke to him about the hospital, the weather and whatever else I could think of. He followed my every step with his eyes.

    My mind raced. My heart pounded. My eyes filled with tears. I began to wonder where Randolph’s ninety four year old feet had taken him during his life. I wondered what paths they had trod, what roads they had taken. I felt overwhelming gratitude that I was the nurse who was assigned to care for him. How was it that I was the one who was so fortunate?

    It has been many years since a sweet man by the name of Randolph was assigned to me. I don’t know the end to Randolph’s story. Maybe I don’t want to know. I would like to believe that he recovered well enough to return to his home - that he was able to get back into that grey tweed suit of his with the little bow tie.

    - See more at:

  4. #14
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    Jun 2013
    Being a Nurse Means...

    You will never be bored.
    You will always be frustrated.
    You will be surrounded by challenges.
    So much to do and so little time.
    You will carry immense responsibility
    and very little authority.
    You will step into people’s lives
    and you will make a difference.
    Some will bless you.
    Some will curse you.
    You will see people at their worst--
    and at their best.
    You will never cease to be amazed
    at people’s capacity for
    love, courage, and endurance.
    You will see life begin—and end.
    You will experience resounding triumphs
    and devastating failures.
    You will cry a lot.
    You will laugh a lot.
    You will know what it is to be human
    and to be humane.

    - Melodie Chenevert

  5. #15
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    Jun 2013
    A new kind of "push present"

    Some women receive a beautiful piece of jewelry in the delivery room, in celebration and thanks for their hard work while giving birth. You might have heard such a gift referred to as a “push present.”

    Sentara Healthcare awarded a “push present” of a different kind to nursing students at Thomas Nelson Community College. The gift? A human-like birthing simulator machine.

    Many nursing students and teachers know such machines as a Laerdal SimMom, which “lies” in bed, and from across the room might be mistaken for an expectant mom. The 120 students in Thomas Nelson Community College’s nursing program and the team at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center where she’s located took a personal approach and named their SimMom “Sarah Sentara.”

    “Sarah” does everything a real mom does: She goes into labor and has contractions that a nearby monitor records and tracks. She sometimes experiences a faster heartbeat — and even a complication or two – as she delivers a baby.

    “The SimMom is a wonderful tool to help students learn about obstetrical and newborn issues. She provides nursing students the opportunity to care for patients experiencing life-threatening obstetrical emergencies they otherwise would not have an opportunity to experience,” explains Jean Midyette, nursing simulation lab supervisor at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC).

    Simulation equipment has become the expected, state-of-the art equipment in nursing education, yet the expense of one mannequin is, in most cases, far beyond many college nursing programs’ capacity to obtain. “Sarah Sentara” required an investment of $50,000.

    “Without the partnership with Sentara, I doubt that TNCC would have been able to purchase the SimMom this year,” says Cynthia Callaway, vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the TNCC Educational Foundation Inc.

    Sarah’s value for the nurses isn’t underestimated by the program’s teachers and nurses.

    “Sarah provides our students with the most realistic birth scenarios and allows a team of students to ‘care’ for the mother and the baby,” says Midyette.

  6. #16
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    Jun 2013
    We received many articles for the NurseTogether article contest and it was a difficult process to pick just three, as there were so many inspirational, entertaining, touching and informative articles submitted. The team would like to thank everyone who participated for sharing your experiences with us, and thank you for being a part of this amazing profession! Tune in tomorrow to find out who the 3rd winner is!

    My nurse story started when I was a young child in grade school. I read historical biographies on Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton and was struck by the deep desire to go into nursing.

    I grew up in a small community and the hospital in town had a Candy Striper program. When I was thirteen years old, I had the great experience to work with the nurses assisting them in their very busy day. I was able to help with ADL’s, provide massage and be there to listen to their stories. This experience solidified my decision to go into nursing for my career.

    During high school, I obtained my certified nursing assistant certification and went to work at a local nursing home. The work was hard but I was able to learn much about patient care, how to be a collaborative member of a healthcare team, how to work with families and how important listening to the patient was. After I graduated from high school, I moved to the big city and worked at a local hospital as a CNA in various departments. It was then that I decided it was time to enroll in nursing school.

    I was not the traditional nursing student in that I was married and had a two year old and a 4-month old at home when the semester started. Not only was I juggling home, children and school, but I also continued to work part time at the hospital.

    I had been in school for about three months when my 6-month old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had to have surgery just before finals. I explained my situation to my school and they committed to work with me to help me finish up that semester.pediatric home care

    I was left to believe the tumor would remain stable and no more care would be required, so I made the decision to continue with school. It was during the second semester that I realized something was not right so I took my daughter to a specialist and learned that the tumor was growing and we would need to go to UCSF in San Francisco. The trip was made and a treatment plan given and we were able to return to Portland and receive care there by a pediatric oncologist.

    I decided to continue with school but did give up working part-time as a CNA. During the remaining school years I was very fortunate to receive the support of my nursing instructors and professors. During one of my rotations I met a fantastic nurse practitioner who built a practice to serve children in her community that were underserved. Her stories as a nurse were priceless. She became a mentor to me as she too had undergone struggles to get to where she was. She provided me with so much encouragement during the many tough times. When I was unsure I had the strength to make it through, she was there to tell me I could. Despite having to return to San Francisco for another surgery, going through 6 weeks of twice daily radiation and on-going chemotherapy, I finally made it to graduation day. I looked out proudly seeing her there at the ceremony celebrating my achievement.

    After losing my daughter, I went to work for the home care company that provided such wonderful support to me during the week my daughter was at home dying. I spent many years devoted to pediatric home care. I was able to help several families work through the dying process with their children with the hope of it being a positive and supported experience, where their children could die at home with their family and friends around. Many people ask me how I handled losing a child and I truly say that, while it is hard, I feel so lucky that I could take my tragedy and turn it into something positive. I am certain I am a better nurse and know my role in helping other parents through the process truly made a difference.

    I have had many great opportunities in my career path including: adult oncology nurse, childbirth coach, pediatric office nurse, pediatric oncology nurse, pediatric home care nurse, pediatric shift care manager, disease management supervisor, supervisor at a clinic serving the uninsured and am now currently working back in the world of oncology, creating an unprecedented cancer care product that will change the direction of cancer care for patients.pediatric home care

    Looking back, I have no regrets. I have always looked forward to going to work and nothing makes going to work more rewarding than knowing I make a difference every day.

    - See more at:

  7. #17
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    Jun 2013
    Night Terror

    Years ago, while still in nursing school, I worked the overnight shift at a nursing home. More often than not I was the only Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for the 50 residents in one wing of the facility. Some nights I was the only CNA for all 150 residents. As you can imagine, I spent the entire night going from soiled bed to soiled bed, changing sheets, and changing and re-positioning patients.

    One of the women living there had night terrors. She was never able to name that which she feared, but woke every few hours screaming in panic. Her confusion and fear touched my heart as I tried to imagine experiencing her quality of life. I immediately discovered that she would calm down and return to sleep if I spent 10-15 minutes talking to her. Soon thereafter, I discovered that if I came to work 20 minutes before my shift started, held her hand, and talked with her she slept peacefully the entire night through. 20 minutes a day, five days a week out of the life of a student nurse was a small price to pay for her peace of mind.

    JT Hayes, RN, PHN
    Palm Spring, California

    JT’s comment: “I believe that a large part of nursing involves giving of that of which we are made to those in need.”

    - See more at:

  8. #18
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    Jun 2013
    How Do You Think - Author Unknown

    If you think you are beaten, you are;
    If you think you dare not, you don't!
    If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
    It's almost certain you won't.

    If you think you'll lose, you're lost;
    For out in the world we find
    Success begins with a fellow's will;
    It's all in the state of mind!

    If you think you're outclassed, you are;
    You've got to think high to rise.
    You've got to be sure of yourself
    Before you 'll ever win the prize.

    Life's battles don't always go
    To the stronger or faster man;
    But sooner or later the man who wins
    Is the person who thinks he can!

    Don't Quit - Author Unknown

    When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
    When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    As every one of us sometimes learns,
    And many a failure turns about,
    When he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
    You may succeed with another blow.

    Often the goal is nearer than,
    It seems to a faint and faltering man,
    Often the struggler has given up,
    When he might have captured the victor's cup,
    And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
    How close he was to the golden crown.

    Success is failure turned inside out--
    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell how close you are,
    It may be near when it seems so far,
    So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
    It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

  9. #19
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    Jun 2013
    As nurses we are taught that we are professionals and we must maintain a certain emotional distance with our patients. It’s a boundary that encompasses the therapeutic relationship: nurses as caregivers, patients as the recipients of the care. But now, working as a nurse, I have found that while most of my professional boundaries are well defined, sometimes the line between a professional and personal relationship with a patient can become blurred.

    I work on an orthopedic surgical unit where most patients are coming in and going out very frequently. That makes it hard to get to know anyone too well. But there are some patients that we never forget, for good or bad reasons. Most of the time these patients stay with us because, for whatever reason, one of us crossed the invisible boundary nurses set for themselves.

    Recently, I cared for two patients who touched me so deeply it was impossible to maintain a professional distance. My grandfather had recently passed away, and both of these men reminded me of him. My grandfather, or “Grand-Daddy” as we all called him, was one-of-a-kind, and one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever met. He was hard of hearing but constantly fiddled around with his hearing aids, so it was wise to always be prepared to repeat yourself once or twice. He had an extraordinary memory until the day he died, and was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.

    One day at work, an older man arrived on my floor after a total hip replacement. As I worked to admit him to our care, his room was crowded with half a dozen family members who surrounded him with love. I asked him about his family, and he told me about his eight children, 30 grandchildren, and a couple of great-grandchildren too. It was uncanny how much this man reminded me of my grandfather, who also had a large family of six children, 28 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

    I smiled as I watched my patient fiddle with his hearing aids, and tears welled up in my eyes as he answered all of my questions with a familiar, “What did you say?” I didn’t mind repeating myself, and for a moment, it was as if I was speaking with my grandfather again.

    After I was finished admitting him and settling him in, I found myself constantly peeking back into his room asking if he was O.K. and if he needed anything. He was pretty low-maintenance and never really needed much, and eventually, he was gone. I never told him that he reminded me of my grandfather, or how he tugged at my heartstrings, and I often wonder if I should have. But I worried that in showing this man a little extra attention, I had somehow breached the therapeutic relationship.

    Not long after that, another patient came up to the floor. The report said he was an older man who was in “comfort care.” This essentially means that no lifesaving efforts would be made on his behalf; we were there to keep him comfortable during his final days. When this patient came up to the floor, I was quite taken by him. His gruff, Irish exterior belied his sweet nature. Medically, he had a lot of issues, but when he came up to the floor, the only thing he wanted was a bowl of oatmeal. When his tray came, he found cream of wheat instead. He was so disappointed, but I was determined to find him a bowl of oatmeal.

    Miraculously, after a search through our floor kitchen, I found oatmeal and delivered it to him. He was delighted and blew me a kiss and gave me a wink. His chart said he needed assistance to eat, but he dug right in. Sure, he made a mess, but he managed just fine on his own.

    Watching him eat that oatmeal reminded me of some of my last meals with Grand-Daddy. Grand-Daddy never was the neatest eater, and we would always laugh about what a mess he made. But he didn’t care — at his age, he just wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. My patient’s personality was strikingly similar to that of my grandfather. As he lay curled up in the bed, I thought about the strong man he must have been a long time ago.

    When his wife and children came to the room, I felt a pang of familiarity. His wife remained so graciously composed during her visits. It brought back memories of my grandmother during my grandfather’s last days. Despite her deep sadness and fear of what was to come, my grandmother kept full composure and took care of not only him but also everyone around her. I still am amazed by how strong and selfless she was during that time: a true role model for unconditional love, and I saw these saintly qualities in this man’s wife.

    The following day, the man was sent back to a nursing home where comfort care would be resumed. When the transporters came to get him, I started to feel emotional, like someone I loved was going to leave me. Even though I knew he was going to a nice and comfortable facility, I didn’t want him to go. We transferred him onto the stretcher and I made him cozy in his blankets. His family was sincerely thankful, and I remember telling them with tears in my eyes how much we enjoyed taking care of him, and how much we would miss him.

    The tears continued to well up as I watched his stretcher go around the corner and out of sight, because I knew I would never see him again. I felt like I was saying goodbye not only to him, but also to my grandfather all over again. But once again, I stopped myself from sharing these feelings with my patient or his family. They knew I cared, but they never knew how much caring for him meant to me personally.

    Looking back, I still don’t know if I did the right thing, keeping my feelings to myself. I now realize that both of these patients were helping me heal, even as I was helping them. Watching them leave was like letting go of my grandfather again, but they also gave me the gifts of laughter and reminiscence, right when I needed them most.

    I know that, ultimately, I am still just the nurse, and they are still just my patients. But I think it’s better for both the patients and myself if we both sometimes allow ourselves to feel something more than a professional bond. Nurses and patients move in and out of each others’ lives so quickly, but we are nonetheless changed by every encounter.

    I became a nurse because I want to care for people and make a difference. Being touched in return is an added bonus.

  10. #20
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    Jun 2013
    I became a nurse because of the flawless care my grandmother received in a hospice. She had everything she could ever need, and the support that she and my family had throughout her passing was nothing short of fantastic. Today, as a qualified staff nurse, I try to bring a bit of sunshine to all my patients, even when the government targets and general displeasure at the state of the NHS makes it hard. Its not easy being a staff nurse, but its the person in the bed that matters, not the ridiculous amounts of rules and regulations. I wouldn't change my job for anything.

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