Reflections from Alex: A CS BSN Student

Faith > Fear

I have just a few more weeks left working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. As I look back at where I started a few months ago, I see so much growth and independence in the clinical setting. Through out this experience, I have learned so much more than just maturing in my nursing skills.

This past week I helped take care of a young patient with a diagnosis that resulted in the individual experiencing excruciating pain. It was one of the hardest experiences I have had in the hospital as I watched her suffer my entire shift. My patient was exhausted and defeated. The pain medications prescribed were not managing the intensity of the pain appropriately. My eyes filled with tears, as I personally felt helpless in this situation. Nurses like to fix and make things better; however everything we were doing for the client medically was not working.

As I continued to watch the confusion and fear take over my patient, I felt called to do something I normally do not do at work. I stopped and asked her if she believed in God. I then placed my hand on her shoulder and began to pray for her. I asked the Lord to provide a sense of peace and comfort to the client. In the midst of the wondering and doubt, I asked God to help the patient know that He is ultimately in control of her life. This was the first time I had ever prayed with a patient, and it was a very powerful moment. It was a vulnerable experience as I shared a deeper part of what makes up my identity, and I think my patient was grateful I did. For the rest of the day, I rubbed the patient’s back and encouraged her to keep fighting. It is in moments like these that nursing becomes one of the hardest yet most satisfying jobs. This situation was hard to endure, but through it I was able to share my faith and be a light when someone was going through such a difficult trial. There were some points where I honestly had no idea what to say. I think just being present and making it known that you care and are willing to fight along side the patient speaks so much louder than any words could ever amount to. Be there for your patients when no one else is.

Nursing is so much more than a job and a list of task to accomplish each day. Of course it requires passion and hard work, but it goes beyond that. We get to motivate and believe in our patients when they don’t believe in themselves. Nurses feed patients when they are too weak to lift their own fork off the plate. We help lift them out of bed when the fatigue takes over their body. You see, nursing will take a lot out of you, but it is such a special gift to be a part of. It is moments like these that I learn what a textbook could never ever teach me.