Thursday, December 1, 2011

New grandbaby and old nursing lesson.

As I sit staring at my new grandson I cannot help but marvel at the art work of God.  This little man came into the world weighing 7.3 lbs. and was 20 inches long.  His fingers are long and strong.  He has big blue eyes and a pouty little mouth.  Black hair covers his crown and perfect little feet top off his long legs.  He is the perfect combination of his mother and father with a spakling of my son and husband.  What I marvel at the most is the instinctive moves he makes~  he turns his head naturally and starts rooting for food when he is hungry, he curls his little fingers around anything that touches his hand.  The wonder of his innate instinct to eat, to stop eating, to urinate and have a bowel movement is another reminder of how wonderful creation is. 
The other thing that I love to watch is the way he cries if hungry and immediately stops when food is provided.  The need for human contact is another area of wonder~  the way that holding him close and talking to him calms him instantly…. We humans need very few things to survive…we are strong and resilient~ but we all need food, clothing, contact and shelter to survive well.
In my first semester of nursing I recall learning this principle…that patients need those basic things as well to heal and to survive and to survive well.  The powerful tool of human contact is one we should all remember. The patient that is fed, given safe shelter and clothing, good medical care and medications will still NOT do well if there is no human caring involved…esp. if they have no caring family in the patient’s world.  The elderly patient that comes in from a nursing home, no family in the area, and in need of medical intervention does much better when the nurse takes the time to sit with them, give them a bath, a soft massage and doing all of this while gently talking to them.  NICU babies will not thrive, and in some cases die, without human contact…behavioral health children do much better while in our care in the ER if the nursing staff has the time to sit with them and talk with them…
I like this phase of my life and my nursing career that has me thinking back and learning lessons.  I like that I am in a place of my career that I have the skills and the job that at times gives me the chance to sit and bond with a patient~ giving them the human contact and caring that they need.  I thank God today for my healthy, beautiful grandson, my family and friends and my nursing career.  I thank God for the continued lessons that he places before me every day. 


  1. I think that the power of the human touch has more power than we even know. Today I thought of this as I was walking along a city street with my daughter, there sat an elderly man, on the cold sidewalk. Possibly all of his belongings in a couple of large bags by his side. He sat there with his head bowed, eyes closed, holding onto his prayer beads. People walk by him as if he is invisible. I look at him and wonder, what is his story? Why does he sit there all by himself? I looked at my daughter and she knew what I was thinking, she hands me the bag of holiday bread that we had just purchased at the Holiday fair. So I stop and offer him a piece of bread that I just bought. He takes it and reaches out his hand to say thanks, looking a little amazed, maybe that someone took the time to notice him. A lot of what we do as nurses is very technical but a lot of we do is to give people hope and attention that they do not get elsewhere. I often think of those regulars that come into the ER, often times just to chat and visit with us. I remember a nurse I used to work with, he was such a fun person to work with. Some of you will recognize him right away. He was one of those people who could make any patient laugh and he could say anything to a patient and get away with it. I remember Frank would sit and listen to patients and hold their hand. He would take the time to make a plan to call a patient every day just to listen to them so they wouldn’t come to the ER every day. All it took was someone to care about them and pay attention to a lonely old woman who had no family that cared about her. I think that need for another human being to touch us never goes away. We are born with that need to be touched and to feel cared about and it does not go away when we are sick or old. Do you suppose this ability to care is why nursing is the most respected profession?

  2. Geneva, thank you so much for posting your VERY powerful thoughts and experience. I can see that man you described, sitting there, invisible... but not to you! Being a nurse is such an honor... and I think that at times we nurses may forget that as we get lost in the business of the is such a good reminder for us to talk about these incidents and how it makes us feel. I bet your heart was lifted up just as much as that man's heart was after you offered him some bread...but more than food, you offered him human interaction...showing him that you cared about him. We have a few patients that come to the ER around supper time, often...and they just need a meal and someone to talk to ~~ how sad that we in the ER are the people they choose to connect with~~ but what an honor that truly is... Your comments have given me so much to think about and think back on. Thank you Geneva for all you do...Im so blessed to know you!