70: What a Nurse Sees

70: What a Nurse Sees

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

What a Nurse Sees

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.

~William Arthur Ward

I never really understood the fear of hospitals. Growing up I heard people say, “Hospitals are creepy.” Or, “I hate hospitals… all those sick people. Yuck.”

But for me, I grew up in a hospital. My mom was a registered nurse for thirty-five years at Northgate, a small hospital wedged between a movie theater and a Red Robin. Hardly intimidating.

I was always walking the halls of that hospital for one reason or another. We would swing by to pick up her paycheck or run in so she could rework some schedule changes. As a busy nursing supervisor, she’d sometimes be called into work last minute. Sitters were hard to find on short notice, so I’d have to tag along with her. My sitter was often an empty hospital room.

I’d pretend I was in a hotel. Mom brought me a plastic pitcher of water with a little Dixie cup. We’d walk down to the cafeteria and get candy from the vending machine. But best of all, she’d bring me a warm blanket and wrap me up as I fell asleep.

Randomly, a smiling nurse would pop into the room to check on me. They’d shoot me a big smile and a wave, then continue on with their rounds.

I was never scared. Actually it was just the opposite. I felt so safe and cozy. Sometimes I wished we could live there. The nurses were the most loving, kind, and smiley people I’d ever met. Right behind my mom, of course.

All my younger years I’d been witness to the comforts of Mom’s work. I saw how nurses made it their life’s work to care for others. Not just care, but give all they had to save lives and heal the very sickest people.

But as I grew into a teenager, my overnights at the hospital ended. My experiences with warm blankets and kind-hearted nurses were replaced by make-up and boys. My own confusion and “creepy” thoughts of the hospital started to fester. Blood, guts, yuck.

One day my mom told me a story about a man in a motorcycle accident. “You could grab his nose and move it from one side of his face to the other. His whole face had been fractured.”

“Mom! Gross! Why? Why do you do this job?”

She said, “Honey, nurses don’t see what you see. You see broken bones, blood and guts. We… we see someone who needs our help. And that’s all we see.”

I will never forget that comment. “We see someone who needs our help. And that’s all we see.”

What an amazing life lesson. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if we all saw what a nurse sees? What if we didn’t see the brokenness of a human? What if we didn’t see the gory blood and guts? What if we just saw a human being who needed our help?

Oh what a world it would be, if we could all just see what a nurse sees.

~Diana Lynn

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