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A Nurse's Hands

VivaLasViejas specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I've been retired for over two years now, but in a rare contemplative moment, here are a few thoughts on what being a nurse meant to me.

Lately I've taken to looking at my hands, which appear to have morphed into my grandmother's in recent years. They are well-worn and the skin is thinning rapidly, much to my dismay. While a layer of fat fills in the lines in my face, the same thing can't be said for my hands, which tell my life story without words.

And then I remember: these hands have held new life, and comforted the dying.

These hands have given the first bath...and the last.

They have been washed literally hundreds of thousands of times in the service of people I didn't give birth to.

They have administered the first feeding and the last dose of morphine.

They have rubbed sore backs, dressed wounds, smoothed fresh linens over feverish bodies.

They have fed, cleaned, stopped bleeding, performed CPR. They have also prepared the living for surgery, and the dead for their final journey.

They are the hands of a nurse. And even though my career is over, my hands will forever bear the marks of the noble work they once did.

And somehow, that makes the wrinkles OK.

Edited by Joe V

Debilpn23 specializes in long term care Alzheimers Patients.


that is beautiful. I notice my hands morphing into my grandmother's too. Hugs my friend

Yay, Viva! I'm glad you're writing. You always make me feel something when you write.

You deserve those beautiful nurse's hands. Each wrinkle is a testament to the people you've helped and the nurses you've inspired.

Patricia Birnstiel specializes in Pediatrics, med/surg.

This was beautiful. I am getting ready to retire and am finding it difficult to stop doing what I have done my entire life. This brings back memories of my life in review. Thank you.

ZEBRA57 specializes in ICU/Management/Holistic Health.

Beautiful --- uplifting --- a reminder of the work & spirit we bring to our profession.

FranEMTnurse specializes in LTC, CPR instructor, First aid instructor..

Viva, you write so eloquently. I love your articles and this one is exceptional. It touched my heart in many ways, and brought back many memories of when I worked in the healthcare field. Thank you so much.

Viva, well said, thank you so much for your dedication and service to the nursing profession. I am sure that your caring and compassionate hands will be missed. Your post is very inspiring for young and senior nurses as well.

Wow, this is beautiful. What an honorable profession. Thank you for sharing this.

txbornnurse specializes in QA, ID/DD, Correctional, Education.

As always you express via writing what lies deep in the hearts of many of us. Wrinkles, scars, swollen knuckles are all physical testament to countless hours of dedicated hands on healing, comforting and consoling.

Thanks so much for sharing. I too have been retired for two years and it's funny because I was looking at my hands the other day and smiled. Nursing was my profession at home and in the work place. Oh if my hands could talk. Now my youngest grand says "Nana hold my hand".

Beautifully written. I would love for my hands to wrinkle for the same reasons.

Roy Hanson specializes in as above.

in this day and age of Hands off or I will charge you with assault, tis good to see, that done in the right context, hands on came be therapeutic. We are a hands on species, contrary to day and age thinking. As long as its done properly. Many patients have never felt the soothe of being touched, a pat on the back.

A nurse is an excellent position.


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