I have been thinking for a long time about the fact that we older nurses are dying off. We will take with us our memories of nursing history. I have always loved to hear from other seasoned nurses about how they size up their nursing careers as they look back. What was important at the … Continue reading Leaving Our Legacy
Larissa MacFarquhar is a staff writer for the New Yorker. She has written profiles on “do-gooders,” people whose altruistic acts “spring from genuine empathy.” Her subjects are varied: Quentin Tarantino, Diane von Furstenberg and Paul Krugman. Most recently she spotlighted Heather Meyerend, not a famous person, but a nurse. Her story starts on page 62 … Continue reading A Hospice Nurse is Featured in The New Yorker
Taking a Blog break. This post appeared on March 10, 2013.
A friend deliberated whether she should visit her father for his 95th birthday. She was swamped with commitments. Since he was unaware of his birthday as well of his surroundings and didn’t even recognize his three daughters, there was no urgency to travel to another state.
However, she cleared her schedule and made the trip, as did another sister and a niece. Both lived out-of-state also.
As it turned out, on his birthday, he had a choking episode with difficulty breathing. He stopped eating and died three days later, surrounded by those he loved who otherwise would not have been there had they not come to commemorate the day he was born.
This story reminded me of a patient I cared for back in the early ‘90’s when I worked as a nurse practitioner in a home care program. I had made a first visit to an elderly man…
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Lois Roelofs posted this story of Martha Keochareon, a nurse dying of pancreatic cancer who selflessly allowed nursing students to be present during her last days at home in order to learn about hospice care.
I hope this poignant story moves you as much as it did me.
As she lay dying from pancreatic cancer, Nurse Martha Keochareon wanted to do more than plan her funeral. So she called her alma mater and offered to become a “case study” for nursing students. She reasoned she could help students learn about the dying process while, at the same time, it would be a way for her “to squeeze one more chapter out of life.”
I loved this story. First, as a retired nurse educator, I was struck by Nurse Keochareon’s selfless giving. I could identify with her desire to teach; as nurses we are taught, along with being caregivers, to be teachers (as well as communicators, researchers, leaders and more). I believe we consider it a duty and a privilege to empower our patients or students with the resources they need to function successfully in their lives.
Second, Nurse Keochareon had lived with pancreatic cancer for more than six…
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I have been pestering my classmates from nursing school (we are about to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary next month) to write their stories so I can post them on my blog. Maybe pestering is too mild a word. Regardless, I have succeeded. Two women have sent me stories. The first comes from Joan Moore. This … Continue reading TRICK OR TREAT AT THE FRONT DOOR; HEARSE AT THE BACK