It’s finals week. In fact, it’s the final two days. I have had time for studying, family, and reflection. It was also mother’s day this last week. My brain is stuffed with facts, figures, and stories. I need the facts and figures, but it is the stories that get me through day-to-day, and keep me motivated.
An amazing event has been happening in my life. Ever since I began having conversations with people about my career plans, I have been entrusted with stories. They have come from family, friends, and friends of friends. Some of them are even perfect strangers. They are the stories of Holy Moments. They are the moments in life where God enters in. The moments we give birth, the moments we die, the moments we are most vulnerable, and often happen in the presence of medical staff. I am learning from these stories, and every story has its own message.
I had not thought about some of these stories again until recently. We had a sophomore class meeting to help prepare us for our upcoming clinical rotations. We were told that many patients welcome the presence of a student nurse for several reasons. For one, a student nurse has only one patient to care for. The importance of this was stressed many times. What a truly rare opportunity to care for just one person! I don’t even get that at home. Also, these patients agree to have a student nurse, and we were told to talk to them in-depth, and often. They may have a story to share. Also, at some point, we will likely be present for a Holy Moment before we graduate. As I hope to send my entire senior year focused on obstetrics, I hope to be apart of many.
I was reminded again today when I was talking with my bus driver. I jumped on the local circular to get from the bus transit station to my neighborhood, and the driver I usually only say “Hello” and “Thank you” to started to talk. She asked when my semester would be over, and the conversation took off from there. Now, if you know me, you know I am a talker. I love the opportunity to tell a good story. However, I have been able to notice when a conversation, or my own story, turns into someone else’s story. In a twenty-minute trip I learned half of her obstetrical history and heard the story of her daughter’s birth. I am not going to tell her story to you, it was for me. I learned something today about a wrong that had happened to both of them, and it’s an opportunity for me to remember that patients are people, and mistakes are made, but that hurts can be healed…even if it’s by sharing the past wrong with a nursing student.
Holy moments can happen to anyone on any day. I am thankful for the people who have shared theirs with me in story, and I hope to keep them with me in spirit as I move to a new phase of my education. The stories will inform me as I participate in new stories, hopefully for the better.