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The Superpower of Compassion


'True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.’ -Arthur Ashe. A hero is someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help others on a consistent basis. Nurses who live to serve others are heroes in my eyes.

Specializes in Health insurance nursing/ Cardiac nursing.

What have you learned from your Nurse superhero?

The Superpower of Compassion

Emergency room exam rooms are particularly terrifying when you are seven years old. Don’t worry, I’m not here because of me, I’m here because my grandpa is very ill. My grandpa spends a great deal of time in and out of the hospital. He is what the nurses and doctors call a “frequent flyer.” When he isn’t in the hospital, he lives at home with my mother and me.

Ever since I can remember, my grandpa has been sick. He has diabetes, colon cancer, heart problems, lung problems, high blood pressure, just to name a few. I used to be really scared of all of the beeping machines, alarms, and the serious looking staff in the hospital. That all changed the day I met a nurse named Clara. Clara was the ER nurse assigned to take care of my grandpa who was brought to the hospital because he was having some trouble breathing. When my grandpa was sent off for testing Clara took me aside and showed me how all the cool hospital gadgets worked and even introduced to some of her nurse and doctor friends. I decided that day that Clara was a superhero and one day I would be a superhero like her.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my family and I would develop a bond with Clara over the course of the next few years.

You could tell just by looking at Clara that she was a nurse who was enthusiastic about her job and loved helping others. My grandfather was not an easy patient by any stretch of the imagination and at times could even be belligerent. My grandfather did not get along well with most staff members, but he got along with Clara. Clara was a seasoned nurse. Not only did she take excellent care of my grandfather, she was witty and turned his anger and fear into smiles and laughs.

As stated by Arthur Ashe, ‘true heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.’ I believe this quote is a great description of a hero. Is a hero someone who performs a grand act of bravery, such as sprinting into a burning house to save someone while risking their own life? Of course, and that’s what we often see on television shows and in the movies but there is more than one way to define a hero. To me, a hero is a humanitarian who is compassionate, caring, and goes above and beyond the call of duty with nothing to gain. In this definition, Clara was a true hero.

Trips to the emergency room were as common as rain in Seattle. Often times, nobody was readily available to watch me, so I tagged along for many of the emergency room trips. My grandfather was a WWII veteran with a very rough exterior that not many people were able to break through. Clara was one of the few people who was able to turn his harsh demeanor to laughs and smiles. Clara performed her nursing duties with skill and competence, always explaining what to expect. On slower shifts, Clara spent time with me demonstrating how to use equipment such as the stethoscope, blood pressure machine, and heart monitor. By this point, I decided I definitely wanted to be a nurse. Thinking out of the box, Clara knew my grandfather was an uncontrolled type II diabetic who didn’t check his glucose levels often enough. Clara advised me to remind my grandfather to check his glucose levels so I could help him become healthier. I took this notion to heart. I began helping my grandfather check his glucose levels and documenting his numbers. I was taught what normal glucose levels were and reminded him to eat healthier meals when he went to eat foods such as doughnuts. Because my grandfather saw how serious I took this, he began watching his diet and overtime his glucose levels became more controlled.

Because of Clara, emergency room visits became a little less scary for my family. Because of Clara, I learned that nurses have the power to improve people’s lives. Because of Clara, I learned that compassion goes a long way. Because of Clara, I knew at a young age that I wanted to become a nurse so that I, too, could help improve the quality of life of others, all while putting a smile on their face.

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1 Comment(s)

spotangel, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 32 years experience.

Love it! Thank God for Clara! We now got a super nurse in you! Soon you will become a hero to another person.Never under estimate the power of a nurse!