When I worked in the home care program at a VA hospital in Illinois, medical students sometimes came along with us nurse practitioners while we made our visits. I enjoyed showing them the reality of delivering care in the patient’s home—where we were guests—the subtle line between suggestion and decree, education and instruction, doing for … Continue reading THE WEIRDEST HOME VISIT
Betsy, a writer friend, emailed me the story she had read in our workshop since I had to miss the class. She knows I hang on every episode of her life in Ireland where her second child was born and she negotiated the daily vicissitudes of a different culture. In this episode she had left … Continue reading NURSES REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE
“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” —Gabriel Garcia Marquez I remember Sadie Rooney handing me a brown paper bag on my visit that autumn day in the early 90s. Her husband, Jim, a self-taught preacher, had died the month before. At first … Continue reading 24-Hour Woman
My nursing career has taken me down many paths over the years. Presently, I am a Reiki Master Teacher as well as the founder of a nonprofit organization called The Reiki Share Project. People often ask me what I “do.” And I usually begin by telling them that I am a registered nurse. Their next … Continue reading ONCE A NURSE, ALWAYS A NURSE By Jane Van De Velde, DNP, RN
Just last week I came across a folder in an old box on the bottom of a closet. There I found accordion-pleated sheets of paper where I had written about the Donovan family in single space dot-matrix some twenty years ago. Bill Donovan had lung cancer with metastasis to his bones and brain. He died … Continue reading Long Lost Story
When I visited a patient in my caseload that lived in an “unsafe” part of the city, I went in the morning. Right after the pimps and drug dealers had called it a night and before the shop keepers pulled up the bars over the store windows and the women came out to sweep the … Continue reading The Murder Building
This happened long ago. I worked for a hospital-based home care program. We, nurse practitioners, received referrals from physicians who had exhausted all options to prolong the patients’ life. We visited the patient in his home and helped the family care for him until death. Traditional hospice services were not an option as yet. My … Continue reading Unsolved Mystery?
When you have been a nurse as long as I have there are patients who take residence in your memories and resurface frequently. They could almost be family except they have a short history in your life. What they were like before or after you knew them usually remains a mystery. Mr. G was a … Continue reading There Are Some Patients We Never Forget