Today I had to look a family in the eyes and tell them that the needed to prepare themselves for the worst – that their mom, their sister, their friend might die.  Today I looked into the eyes of a daughter, heartbroken and sobbing, and sisters whose tears wouldn’t stop flowing, and did my very best to be compassionate, informative, and realistic as to the status of the situation.  Today, I was able to connect with a family at their most vulnerable; by listening, offering support, being accessible when they needed me, and offering privacy so that they could grieve a situation they were not prepared to grieve.  Today my heart was heavy for a daughter who was begging her mom to wake up, and sisters who just wanted one more day.  Today I was the nurse that they needed me to be.  Today I was the nurse that every patient and family deserves – the nurse who was blessed with time – the time to be there for a family whose whole world was crashing down.

In a time when healthcare is in a state of flux, when hospital budgets are driving staffing ratios, and when the demands on a nurse’s time often result in an inability to provide the comprehensive care that we would like to provide to our patients; today embodied the very reasons that I became a nurse.  Today was about compassion, empathy, support, offering explanations, answering questions, and being able to listen.  Today was more than providing physical care, today was about providing care to my patient and her family as whole beings.

Today I was the nurse who gave it her all and left work feeling as if I made a difference….

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