Growing up, I was very fond of the books, “What do you say, Dear?” and “What do you do, Dear?” These books proposed ridiculous situations and asked the reader what was the polite way to respond. Often times, I feel like my career in nursing is a continual saga of these situations. For example:
1. A patient jumps out at you from behind the door, terror in his eyes and blood dripping from lines. He tries to attack you. What do you do, dear?
2. A patient starts crying because she feels hopeless and is scared about her future. What do you say, dear?
3. A patient comes in whining, complaining of pain, and is a quintessential drug seeker. What do you do, dear?
4. A patient is told he is dying and should consider hospice. He then makes frequent comments that he is worthless and wishes you would take a gun to his head. What do you say, dear?
5. A patient calls himself a monster and other derogatory names. Then he groans all day long and refuses to be comforted. What do you do, dear?
6. You walk into a patient’s room, not knowing anything about her. She then starts crying and telling you about her abusive past. What do you say, dear?
The only way to be a faithful nurse is to be constantly asking the Father to guide you through these situations.
These are real things that have happened over the last 5 months at the hospital. But there have also been funny and joyous things that keep my going. Like the day I sent the patient in scenario #1 home after a month in the hospital. And the time a huge IU fan told me it was OK that I went to the “Toilet-Maker” school. And the time that a patient’s husband told me he was going to “write me up” only to find out weeks later that he wrote me up as a nominee for a caring nurse award. Or the time that my patient was dying and he asked if we could pray together. There are many joys and sorrows working as a nurse, and through them all, God is faithful.