The following is a post by Marybeth Baber, MSN, MBA, RN, evidence based practice nurse specialist, Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, about a special patient that touched her life.
My most sacred nursing moment
It is hard for me to choose just one sacred moment in my nursing career….you see I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years! But there is one patient that stands out for me over these many years. The patient was one of the first patients I took care of as a new graduate. His name was Steven and he was 2 years old. Steven was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a type of congenital heart defect, and had never been home. His parents lived out of town and were not able to visit very often.
Steven was a challenge to care for with lots of tests and complicated procedures but I often volunteered to be his nurse. I liked the challenge of the procedures and technical skills but I also made sure I took the time to care for Steven holistically – caring for him, mind-body-spirit – I would often take him out of his warmer and rock him and hum to him.
Steven was a special boy and even though he had a tracheostomy and couldn’t speak, he had his ways of letting us know what he needed. Rocking him was often all he needed. Steven had had several surgeries and over time he began to lose the fight and he passed away on my shift.
Steven was my first patient that passed away – his parents were not able to be with him – but I was….and I took special care after his death to wash and prepare him as I thought his mom would have done had she been there.
Steven is one patient who stays with me to this day
I was blessed to have the opportunity to take care of Steven so early in my career. I learned first hand how important holistic care is to our patients and how fortunate I am to be a nurse and have the opportunity to touch so many lives and in the same way I am touched by my patients.
In the current healthcare environment I fear that some may have lost touch with the important art of nursing and I hope my story will inspire others to take a moment and reflect on why they became a nurse and why they stay in nursing – remembering both the art and the science of nursing.
I hope others will share their stories as well.