“A Nurse is an Angel – A nurse is a person who gives so completely with touches to heal, always smiling sweetly, There’s no way to figure such value or worth… A nurse is an angel who walks on the earth.”
I received a small laminated note-card from my grandmother and grandfather for my college graduation with this priceless saying on it. 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. The patients and families we care for put their trust in us at the most vulnerable times in their lives, when illness or death is facing a loved one for whom we are caring for. 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 a 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 5 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 3 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, he was not going to make it; and if he did, he would not be the same little 5 year old boy the family had known prior to this devastating news. On Sunday, around 3pm, 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 8pm. 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 7pm, 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 3 days of nursing care. In short, the little boy was welcomed into Heaven’s gates around 10pm 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, 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!