Antidote to burnout, from Dr. Josh Grossman

Nurses General Nursing


Here's another memoir from my colleague Dr. Josh Grossman that I thought other nurses would enjoy.

|Title|: "She Kissed Me!"

|Joshua Grossman, M.D., F.A.C.P.|

|Diplomate| American Board of Internal Medicine

|1005 Melrose Avenue Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601 - 2605|

|Phone| 423 929 7576

e-mail: [email protected]>

I entered the empty elevator on the first floor. The elevator stopped on the second floor. She entered with a gentleman companion. She was a tiny little lady well less than five feet tall. As the elevator began to climb she looked directly up at me and spoke, "Oh Doctor!" Then, light as a feather she came directly to me, and up on tip toe, she kissed my neck. The elevator stopped at the third floor. She and her gentleman companion departed with a smile for each other and a smile for me. They were both in their eighties. They seemed to communicate without words.

I remembered her well. I had seen her only once previously, twenty-five years ago, in an urgent care area when she presented with rapid heart action and near collapse. Her electrocardiogram documented paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (P.S.V.T.). Gentle, unilateral carotid sinus massage for one second restored her to a regular sinus rhythm. She was pleased. She wrote me a letter-of-appreciation on floral-bordered-stationary that I still have endorsing that now that I had documented her tachyarrhythmia (sudden rapid heart beat), her primary care doctor was able to provider her with definitive effective medication that was successful in preventing further episodes of rapid heart action with collapse.

There is much that I did not know. I did not know what her relationship was to her gentleman companion. I suspected they had been significant to each other for quite some time as they appeared to communicate without words. I did not know if her gentleman companion knew exactly why she kissed me. But of course that would be for her to explain to him if she felt the need to do so.

Within the framework of our day-to-day stresses in the provision of healthcare it is a special joy to experience and now a special joy to share that special moment-of-respect, moment-of-appreciation, moment-of-validation. Could it be that our antidote to "burnout," just might be our sharing these joyful memories - moments of our "natural high" as healthcare providers?

I can still feel the exact place on my neck where she kissed me!

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

What a wonderful story!!

Of course, we all experience moments like this, and I know when I've had a bad shift, that it helps me to trot out some of my own good memories and thumb through them like old photographs. This mental exercise not only encourages me to remember why I went into nursing in the first place, but also to be grateful for all the blessings my career has brought me.

That, and working part-time, is what keeps me sane when chaos reigns and I'm dealing with my fourth admission in 8 hours.......!


160 Posts

What a heartwarming story!!

A friend of mine said to me the other day that she hopes her children do not go into nursing when they grow up, because it is a thankless job.

Ok, at times it can be.... but then I remember a few of those "special" patients, and how much they meant to me, and how they thanked me for all I did for them.

I can't begin to count the # of kisses on the cheeks, hugs, and even thank-you cards I have received from them and their families.

Those moments make it all worthwhile.



2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

From California's most recent "Nurseweek," I quote:

"Burnout tends to be minimized in units where nurses experience a sense of teamwork, have supportive managers and open communication and don't blame each other...."

No surprise, but WHERE ARE these units?

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