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From our readers…A cycle of caring


It began a long time ago
A woman walks through the dark room, with just a candle to light her way
The soldiers can sense her presence
She leans close, touches their hand, and looks in their eyes
They know—it’s the nurse—
She cares.


Many years go by
A young child, bitten by a dog, goes to the hospital
She’s crying and scared
A woman approaches, dressed in white from head to toe and a cap just so
The woman sits down, takes the child’s hand and smiles as she explains that dog bites need
to be washed and that she will be as gentle as she can
The child knows—this is the nurse—
She cares.


More years pass
A young woman in last year of high school wonders what she should be
Related Nursing—sounds like an interesting class
Terminology and procedures she learns, next week the hospital!
Her first assignment; assist Mrs. Smith in room 212 with her breakfast
Should be easy (she tells herself) Oh great! Mrs. Smith won’t eat
Mrs. Evans, the instructor, walks into the room
As she approaches, she smiles at the student, takes Mrs. Smith’s hand and asks
How was your night? How has your breathing been? Are you in any pain?
As the conversation continues Mrs. Smith slowly starts to eat.
The young woman knows—Mrs. Evans is a nurse—
She cares.


A few more years go by
What a day! Pinned, capped, and candles lit!
Graduation is finally here
Hours and hours of class and clinical, not to mention Care Plans
The nursing instructors have taught, role modeled, pushed and praised.
The young nurse asks herself; can I do this?
Will my patients know that I care?


Even more years pass and during this time many changes have occurred
White dresses and caps are gone; in their place is a rainbow of colorful scrubs.
Women and men of all ethnicities work together as nurse colleagues; they are educated in
colleges and universities and strive to affect positive changes in health care.

Standardized nursing language, evidenced-based practice, safety and core competencies,
certification, nurse sensitive quality indicators and technology are integral to the practice
of nursing in today’s world.


Some of the transitions have been smoother than others for the nurse, who was once that little girl, who was bitten by the dog.


It is now 2010.
A clinical instructor walks into a room, approaches the bedside, and observes that the student nurse is holding Mrs. Smith’s hand and listening to her story while the eternal feeding finishes.
After the student leaves the room, Mrs. Smith looks up and tells me—
“That student will make a great nurse because—she cares.”
And so, it continues…


Debra Wagner has been a practicing nurse for 30 years and has been witness to these changes. She is also the “little girl” in the story and has been a nurse educator for more than 20 years in community college and university settings.

From our readers gives nurses the opportunity to share experiences that would be helpful to their nurse colleagues. Because of this format, the stories have been minimally edited. If you would like to submit an article for From our readers, click here.


  • Thank you for your kind words.

  • Debra,
    You have distilled all the technicalities of nursing down to the most essential element of our practice – true caring. Thank you for your touching poem.

    Anne Warden, RN, OCN

Comments are closed.

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