Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dear Nursing Student:

Last night a friend who is currently in nursing school approached me because she had an 'emotional nursing question'. Apparently earlier that day during her clinical time in the ICU drop down unit, she had a patient who was palliative, only he didn't know he was palliative yet. Yesterday he was telling her his plan to live into his 90's, meanwhile she knew he was about to receive the news that he was expected to only live another four months. She said she couldn't stop thinking about him and asked me how I handled sad and difficult things I'd encountered as a nurse. 

Immediately so many of the saddest and most confusing scenarios I had witnessed came to mind. Seven years working fulltime in an emergency department will expose a person to many strange, sad, horrific, and humorous things. Many times I would walk out of one heartbreaking encounter and into another one within the same hour. Kind of like when you're learning to surf and really all your doing is being hammered by one wave after another. It's quite the beating.

Anywhere in the hospital you will encounter suffering and as a Christian nurse you have a unique opportunity to witness to others in your reaction to suffering. 

First thing I told my friend is that it's a good thing she is sad.
Sometimes when you work in an environment like the hospital it becomes so commonplace to see people in pain or dying that it's easy to become callous. I've found that I'm a better, more loving nurse when I don't harden my heart - and let empathy overcome my instinct to shield myself from emotional pain. Loving people always means pain for you but it's worth it. 

When you see things so awful you question everything - take it before the Lord. Every nurse has that patient they'll always remember. A case that shook your foundations. When you encounter that patient it's ok to say to God 'I don't understand...but praise your name, You do.' Cry to Him. Pray to Him. It helps to have that category to put things in. The category where God knows things we don't and has a plan and purpose we don't know of. 

Community is huge. Your church family and fellow believers are there to help strengthen you, to worship with you and to pray with you. Don't be an island or a lone soldier. You're not strong enough. It may be tempting to stay home on the days you're off because you're so tired, but you will be depriving yourself of refreshing fellowship and biblical teaching.

Don't over work yourself. Take your days off and go look at beauty or do something you absolutely enjoy. Above all read your bible and pray! There is life outside of nursing, it's easy to forget that sometimes. Go to an art gallery, listen to music, run by a lake...whatever reminds you of the life and beauty God intended when He created this world, do it. Remember there will come a day when there will be no more sickness and dying. A day when nurses will be out of a job.

Psalm 62 : 8
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (ESV)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the encouragement, i work in the health care and i know what it feels like working six days a week and feel tired to even fellowship with other believers. Yes, healthcare is tiring but we should hold fast to the Truth that will never pass away. Thank you