Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

One of my jobs

on April 1, 2019

She came in with the others that show up first thing in the morning, the ‘7:30’s we collectively call the first arrivals.

Her husband walked five feet behind. Before I spoke, she did.

“Which way is East?”

I immediately understood why she asked, but I didn’t have an answer. I have no sense of direction even when in my car unless I turn on the dashboard compass, so just imagine the dumb look on my face when she asked this simple question.

Her husband saved me and pointed in the direction behind me.

Then I regained my bearings.

“Let me move some chairs. You both can pray together.”

Within a few minutes they were in the pre – op bay next to me, curtain in front of them, with only their mats visible at the bottom hem.

It was just two weeks earlier that forty-nine people who shared my patients’ same faith were murdered in New Zealand. Not even children were spared.

While I stood outside the bay waiting for them to pull the curtain back, I was filled with an overwhelming empathy and a new understanding of something I don’t think consciously about in my role as a Nurse.

We use standard precautions, wash our hands, wear gloves, masks when needed, even gown up if the diagnosis requires it. We practice sterile technique, audit our clinical practices, do quality control testing… the list goes on.

In those ten minutes, my understanding of the importance of someone feeling safe grew tenfold.


I almost didn’t want to share this because my empathetic response is miniscule compared to the turbulent emotions families surely experienced when the New Zealand massacre occurred.


I consider myself lucky to have gotten this patient to take care of.

Having a job that teaches me how to be a better human is a pretty damn special job.


10 responses to “One of my jobs

  1. Alexis Rose says:

    Beautifully written.

  2. This is a lovely story. I would not know which direction was East either. I too have no sense of direction.

  3. Beth says:

    Facing East is VIP to several cultures. I remember the first time I attended a Chinese funeral and the burial afterward. Every grave faces east from within a semicircle of cement. I say it does; perhaps land limitations may prevent those customs now. We place a lot of emphasis on burial, but in some countries burial. What about those whose conscience may trouble them? Progress may be painful in more than one way.

  4. taanjiam says:

    LORD bless sounds they are of a certain religion that faces east when they pray. Even though not all agree in religion .during times of great loss division is replaced by empathy from those who have a compassionate heart.

  5. Beautifully written. Glad you shared this

  6. Susan Rossow says:

    Thank you for sharing how supporting the spiritual needs of others is an essential and sometimes overlooked part of Nursing. You cared for your patient and family in every way. Bless you♥️

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Chen Song Ping

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