May 23, 2014

on being a nurse: when it hurts

During my commute to work, I pray that God would use me to bless the people I will come in contact with, namely my patients and co-workers. I don't always know what that will look like until God puts me in certain situations (and sometimes I don't even know if I am being a blessing - just being honest!).

Being a nurse will put you in unique settings and circumstances . . . it allows you the opportunity to walk with people as they face suffering and grief head on. 

Facing the loss of a loved one, the loss of hopes and dreams and what could've been. Facing the losses that death, disease and trauma bring.

I have been a nurse for six years and these situations are never easy. Honestly, I typically do not feel well-equipped in these moments. In these times, I am forced to rely more on God - which I am thankful for. I know I cannot do my job unless He is working in and through me.

I faced such a situation earlier this week. I started off my day wondering - what if I fall apart in front of my patient, when she needs me to be strong? What if the family sees me cry or get choked up when I try to speak? What do I even say? What can I say?

I knew that nothing I did or said could change their circumstances. But how could I offer support? What could I actually do to benefit them in some way?

I will tell you that I truly believe that it is an honor and a privilege to be a nurse. It is an honor to walk with people in the midst of deep heartache and pain. To share tears, to listen, to be present.

It is sweet of God to give me patients who are believers. I know I can offer them something more in these moments of grief. 

I can encourage them to hold onto God and His Word, which never fails. The Word of God is living, His presence and promises are the only thing that will not crumble under the weight of suffering and the trials of this life.

This very firm foundation will carry them through the deepest pain of their life. When I can give people scripture and words of encouragement, I feel like I can actually offer something. Something that will last, something that can give hope in the midst of loss. 

There are many other things we can offer in these moments . . . the comfort of having support from family, pastoral staff, a cool cloth or a fresh pillow (as simple as that may sound) . . . if I can offer anything that might bring the slightest bit of relief, if it can make a difference, then I am so thankful.

The journey of grief and loss is one that our patients and families take . . . and it is one that is not without challenge when you are the nurse caring for them. It hurts to have your heart open, but I am so thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to care for people during these times.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit
Psalm 34:18 
The Lord is near to all who call on Him
Psalm 145:18 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;  
 and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, 
    and the flame shall not consume you. 
Isaiah 43:2

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