I have been in the nursing field for forty years. Although I have many memorable moments one stands out foremost in my mind. At the time, I was in the post-masters family nurse practitioner program and worked as a clinical nurse specialist at a pediatric hospital on the pre-admission screening unit. On this unit, I admitted the patient, obtained a detailed history, completed a physical exam and performed procedures such as starting IVs, accessing portacaths, obtaining labs, administering medications and preparing patients for procedures. Between my graduate school classes and 12-hour shifts at the hospital, time was short for me.
Close to the end of a particularly harried day, I went to see my last patient. I was not in the best of moods, as I was very tired and was looking forward to going home but not the hour drive it would take me. I entered the room of a very petite, blond, three-year-old with my papers, ready to jump right in with a no nonsense approach. Before beginning, I introduced myself as Brenda, the nurse. Before I could continue, this little girl with an angelic face bowed her head and said, “Thank you God for Brenda.” I was left speechless with tears flowing down my cheeks. Finally when I could speak, I said, “Thank you, I bet you’re the only person that has prayed for me today.”
Now as if that were not enough, I went on to find out that the child was there to be tested the next day for short stature, and she was blind. As you might imagine, I settled right in and did not even think of how tired I was or that I was staying over my time.
One remark that the child kept saying to her mother was that she did not want to stay in this hotel. She did stay though. I was off the next couple of days, and the hospital contacted me and told me that the parents wanted to talk to me. The mother said that she could tell that her child’s remarks had touched me. She wanted to let me know that her child had died during the procedure. I wept over this.
This child made a difference to me on that day that will last the rest of my days. She did much more for me than I could have ever done for her. I know that everyone has a story to tell, and we need to slow down and listen. I began thinking about what could I do and decided to purchase Dale Evan’s book, Angel Unaware to share with the child’s parents and family. I inscribed a note inside to the parents that read, “On the day I met your little girl, I entertained an angel unaware.”