ANGEL WINGS-A Prayer For Nurses

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I originally wrote this post two years ago when I was working in an ER in a hospital close to my home town. I have not worked at that ER for over two years now, but I do remember it all so well.

What was it like?a poem about a day in the ER by laura

When I started nursing back in the ’70s, we had a lot of patients to care for, but the technology of nursing care did not exist. We cared for patients with love and presence. That has changed today with all of the monitors and introduction of life-saving drugs into the medical profession in the past forty years.

In this fast-paced world of medicine, we could not care for 20 patients at a time as we did 40 years ago. Do you know that 40 and 50 years ago people were admitted to the hospital so they could get some rest? There were no beeping and lights left to keep them awake. People were allowed to sleep through the night if the doctor wrote a note in the chart requesting this.

Complicated financial changes

Every hospital is trying to save money and the time frame placed on patients stay weighs heavily on the care provided. Patients are to be in and out of the ER in 1-3 hours to increase the revenue.

To move people in and out of the ER so quickly relies on the coordination of all caregivers at the same time like Doctors, Nurses, technicians, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, social workers, laboratory and radiology. All of these entities have to work together to perform tasks as quickly as possible and produce results of testing to determine a diagnosis.

To care for one patient in the ER today involves monitors, pumps, numerous intravenous medications and a constant minute by minute changes with new updates.

I tried to prepare

I thought I was ready for my day ahead but quickly found out there was no way to predict the outcome of the horrendous assignment I received or the same for my co-workers.

But in my preparation for a long day, I did have a 35-minute drive to work each day. I liked my long journey as it gave me time to unwind and set my mindset to care for others in the best way that was available to me.

So, as I drove to work, I listened to my music on the radio with the sunroof open and prepared myself for a typical day. A typical day in this ER was becoming a minute by minute marathon.

ER nurse zoning

When you work in an emergency room each day and each moment is a new situation. On this particular day, I arrived at work around 11 am for my usual 12-hour shift that usually turned into 13 hours. I clocked in and went to my station.

In most ER settings a nurse is assigned to a station or zone which has 4-6 patient rooms that he/she will care for the patients placed in those rooms.

In this ER my zone was to open when I clocked in and was at my station. But on this day as many times before this, all 5 of my rooms had patients in them and no nurse caring for them because they had just arrived.

What this entailed was; I had five patients that I would need to check in, assess and follow through with the orders on each patient. The orders consisted of IV’s, meds, travel to modalities and meeting the physical and mental needs of each person.

On this day

On this particular day two years ago when I walked into the ER that I currently worked at I felt a sinking feeling as I clocked in. I not only had five patients but all five of those people were very sick and required my care in each room at all times. Now how can one person be in 5 different places at the same time? Impossible!!!

I was responsible for keeping these five people alive and carrying out all of the orders to maintain their wellbeing.

Any extra help?

Nurses work well together for the most part and help each other out. But on this day the staff was cut and running on bare minimum needs. The other nurses were in the same situation as I was. There was no one to help any of us.

I am sure many nurses are reading this post that understands exactly what I am saying. Many hospitals across the country have decreased the number of staff and increased the patient load per nurse. It all makes sense in the business world.

The nursing shortage in a business world

But this is not just a business world. These are people who need our loving touch to help them. They need our understanding and knowledge to alleviate their fears.

Another reason for the shortage is the lack of nurses to hire to care for patients. I attribute the nursing shortage to young nurses realizing that nursing is not for them after they have finished school. The constant beating mentally and physically exhausting lifestyle a nurse receives is not something that some new nurses want to experience.

Also, the average age of a nurse today is 50.ibu This means more and more are retiring, and less are choosing to become a nurse.

My only option was to pray.

Let’s get back to my day in the ER. It was horrendous. I felt like sitting down and crying because as one person I could not accomplish everything all at once. I was only one person, and the patients assigned to me were five.

What was I going to do? I had no options except to pray. So as I sat at my station with all five patients in need I bowed my head over my computer, and I said a silent prayer. “oh Lord, please help me care for all of these people today and don’t let me kill anyone” That was it a short prayer and plea to the Lord above.

I felt the hand of God on me that day. I felt the presence of the angel he had sent from heaven to be with my patients and me. What I accomplished was not humanly possible, and no one died. I couldn’t complain because everyone else was just as busy.

This poem birthed itself from this undeniably impossible day. I wrote this to remind all of us that it is not you or I who cares for each person, but it is the hand of God through each of us.

Summary

Today I am retired, and I have had a lot of time to think about the frustrations of our society today and how we care for people.

The nursing shortage is becoming an epidemic. The patient population are presenting to the hospital with more complications and require more in-depth care.

Our care we provide to the sick has become a business that requires a profit and the nurse to patient ratio has increased to dangerous proportions.

Nurses and hospital personnel can sit and complain, but that will only affect the care given to those who are very sick and in need of our loving touch.

Nurses do need to fight for the right to give good safe care, but they need to accomplish this diplomatically.

The only real answer to this problem is divine intervention. People deserve the best care. They need the best medical equipment and the love of a knowledgable person. And in light of the changes in nursing today this is an insurmountable human problem.

God can make a difference, and he is always here to answer your prayers even when the prayer is not formal and worded just perfect. He took care of me and all of my patients that day, and he will do the same for you.

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16 thoughts on “ANGEL WINGS-A Prayer For Nurses”

  1. Hi Laura,

    I fully understand your thoughts and predicaments.
    I was a physician from my home country before I migrated to where I am now. Nurses really do vital work hand in hand with the doctors. You are the first and last contact of the patients in the ER with lots more in between. Your care and compassion for patients are what they remember, maybe more than what the doctors offer.
    Saying that medical care nowadays have been more or less geared to the ” business side, ” rings true, I might say.
    With all those upgrades, new monitors, new equipments, they all bring less human touch, but I still believe that with proper mindset, nurses, doctors and all healthcare workers, if they acknowledge that what they are and all that they do and can do is all from God, they can still do their job with lots of compassion.
    And like you did, if they do pray every time when they start work and while working, every task that they do will turn out good and for the best of their patients.

    This post is so inspiring!

    Marita

    • Marita, The loving care that each one of us gives to the patient all goes back to a loving God. Without him to guide us, we can not do the difficult work. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and adding inspiring words to this post. I appreciate you.

  2. Hi Laura, wow is the first thing that comes to mind.

    “Angel Wings-A Prayer for Nurses”. The poem, exceptional. Certainly very touching. I have spent a lot of time in Hospitals, mainly due to my foolish behavior. It was then I realized how special nurses are. I spent five years on and off on the Psyche floor, in an emergency. Without question or judgment, I was treated by nurses and gained total respect for them. It wasn’t the Doctors, yes they filled out an agenda decided on medication on and that was it. The nurse(s) she was always there. I remember the little peeks, to see if you were sleeping, checking on the IV, the monitors and a friendly chat shared.

    This is a very essential topic for me because of my life experience. My wife and 5-year-old daughter were killed in a traffic fatality, (accident does not belong here). I liked my beer and it was after a Christmas party, my wife made the decision to drive, my daughter beside her and me in the back. The roads were snow covered, and a snow plow driver was unable to stop his truck at a stop sign, hence separating the front part of the car from the rear. The huge blade ending the lives of my loved ones. I escaped with minor injuries.

    I tried to fight the law and lost. No charges were laid. Introduction to alcoholic oblivion. Hello, hospitals, overdosing on pills slicing my arm’s and wrists, by the way, I learned I was slicing the wrong way. Absolutely no nurse treated me as a person feeling sorry for himself, and occupying a hospital bed that someone else needed more. The jail was to follow, so were withdrawal symptoms, seizures and so on. At times I was handcuffed to the hospital bed, while a prison guard(s) did their 24/7 over me, did not deter any nurse from treating me well. I will always be grateful to nurses.

    Your topics, Life, Memories, Life stuck in a bottle, Desolate Unchained hatred, so expressive and significant. All placed in easy to navigate pages, and all of them insightful easy to read pages. Your poetry enhancing your pages with true feeling and honesty.

    An essential and very needed topic. Providing, light and a positive message. An excellent web page which I was honored to read. 

    I looked at your Pinterest page and became a follower, on to your Facebook page, liking and following you were an automatic response.

     A brilliant accomplishment and a great honor to read.

    Thank you,

    Michael Mortimer  

     

    • Michael, For you to read this post and look at my blog, in general, is an honor for me. I think I read your comment 4 times. 

      The amount of heartache you have endured in your life far exceeds what most ever see. Although it appears with the jail, attempted suicide and need for psychiatric care you may not have handled it well.  Appearances are often deceiving because what I see is a person who is strong and brave to face a future life with so much grief behind you. This kind of grief is all-consuming.

      Thank you so much for looking at other posts. This is my heart’s desire that all will scan the pages and find the poems and articles that will give them the strength to continue. 

      Just remember, you are strong and courageous. You live every day with the memories of what was and yet you continue to build on what is today. 

      Again I am honored to have you as a follower. 

      Laura

  3. Nursing occupation is a blessing from God. I respect this occupation as well as nurses. 

    I just have read all the articles you wrote and learned many things that I did not know before. So nurses need to do a very hard work like 12-13 hours a day. It is really challenging while new patients come everyday with different problems. A nurse always feel some mental pressure to loss a life. 

    Nurses are very good mentally I think. Am I right? 

    • Thank you. Nurses are just normal people like everyone else in the world. Some are strong mentally and some are not. 

      Yes, nurses work 12-13 hours a day. It helps with consistency and the shortage of nurses. 

      With the nursing shortage, we often work overtime to cover the vacant holes of staff. Recently Senator Maureen Walsh in the US stated that all nurses do is play cards and they need to take care of their patients. She also said that if nurses complain about 12-hour shifts they need to be made to work 8-hour shifts. 

      So many of us would be happy to be with our family each evening but the shortage is so extreme that is not possible. 

      It is comments from our leaders like Miss Walsh that has contributed to the shortage. Nurses are tired of the put down from people like her when we are working short every day and so much more is expected of us. 

      But the incredible thing about nurses is we are resilient and we will continue to give the best care we can even when these type of comments are made. 

      I thank you for reading and from all nurses we appreciate your respect and kindness. 

  4. Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post. I personally place highly the poem because 1) I am a poet, 2) I believe poetry is a feeling that is above words that only our heart can put down. I was once in such a horrendous situation in a clinic. My daughter, Sarah, was in a very seriously sick state and I took her to the clinic. We were there for more than 2hours and no one was showing signs of attending to us until I flared up and angrily threatened to sue them if anything were to happen to my daughter. I couldn’t believe the dangerous situation that our clinics and hospitals have been as a result of nurse shortage. Thanks

    • It is an honor to meet a fellow poet. I agree with you. When I write a poem it pours from my inner soul and bubbles out of my heart to my readers. 

      What you went through with your daughter is exactly what is happening across the US. Patients are triaged and the sickest are taken care of first. Your daughter was very sick but because of the shortage, there were not enough nurses to care for the extreme emergent and the very sick at the same time. 

      It is sad indeed. And nurses always feel guilty because they can not do enough. 

      I am so happy you set your foot down and made the clinic aware of a potentially life-threatening situation. 

      Just a bit of information, did you know that people who abuse the medical system are using ambulances to go to the hospital for a broken finger (who walks in from the ambulance to the ER)  because they know they will get put in a bed if they come in by ambulance. But the really sick people are sitting in waiting rooms for hours? I hear this is trying to be changed but there are so many laws that protect the broken finger patient. 

  5. Your poem is so heartbreaking!  Lovely, but heartbreaking.  I cannot begin to understand the strength and compassion that someone who chooses nursing as a career, and continues to pursue it for more than 10 years, 20 years, 30 years…It must take so much love and personal strength of character.  I knew that technology and the pursuit of profit had changed nursing as a profession, but I hadn’t realized there was also a decrease in young people choosing to pursue nursing as a career.  It would seem that there will eventually be a crisis looming if this situation doesn’t change.  So often, it is the care of the nurse that helps the patient hang on, or to fight their illness.  So often, it is the care of the nurse that gives the family a tendril of hope and lessens their fear.  I’m so afraid that as cut backs increase, we will lose that human touch, and as a result, more lives will be lost, ultimately. I’m glad that you found extra help when you needed through your prayers, and I’m hopeful that your post will inspire others to do the same.  Thank you for sharing.  

    • Brooke, thank you so much for your compliments on the poem and nurses. There is a nursing shortage crisis right now and by the year 2022, we will be short 1 million nurses. 

      It began the hospitals cut staff to meet the budget but now it is the shortage of available nurses to hire that causing the problem. 

      It was with a prayer that I am so many nurses can even remotely keep up and save lives. 

      Thank you again for stopping by. 

  6. That was a lovely read. You can feel the love and compassion you have for the patients. Sadly sickness and healthcare has become big business and it’s amazing how the younger staff cope with the workload. You highlighted well the workload and expectations you have placed on you when you are a nurse which some people may not realise. You also highlighted your coping mechanism which is to pray and that obviously works well. Very nice.

    • Thank you, Pam. We are all here by the grace of God and he uses each of us to help others. We all have a different role to fulfill our calling. This was my calling and that of so many others who work in the health profession. 

  7. It definitely appears that hospitals are becoming more business-like and less about really caring about the patients. I have a lot of respect for nurses because I know that they have a tough job to do and there aren’t enough nurses to go around these days. You are correct there is nothing more we can do except pray and hope that God sends angels to look after these sick people because in my opinion humans only care about profits. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • I believe that nurses are the angels God has sent to care for people. We, nurses, have to pray for clarity of mind and for God to guide our hands to do what we need to do as quickly and as efficiently as possible. And pray for the safety of our patients. 

      Thank you for reading and for your respect. 

  8. Wow. Reading this was truly humbling. As someone who has spent much time in hospitals, I really appreciate the work nurses perform for us. I can’t imagine how difficult it is… back during my days waiting tables I often had the same feeling – I couldn’t be in 5 different places at once! Only thing is, no one’s lives or health were at stake (just their dinners). Being a nurse carries a lot of weight. Hopefully the nursing shortage is alleviated in the future — I felt like I had a ton of nursing friends in college! 

    Thank you again for your article.

    Best,

    Nick

    • Nick, When we go out to eat I often wonder if waiters and waitresses feel this way. You are right about the life part but don’t you think the principle is the same. Not enough workers to meet the demands of the people?

      Thank you for stopping by and voicing your appreciation for nurses. We do appreciate you. 

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