Unfortunately, nursing seems to lack a strong presence in the media world, including radio broadcasts. I was thrilled then to discover today on my i-pod and podcast supported walk through the woods the presence of a voice of nursing on an NPR show called Snap Judgement. On this particular show, entitled G.I., show # 216, which aired on May 24, 2012, the vignette entitled “Frances Liberty” includes the account of a world war II nurse and how she cared for the injured and dying as a WAC nurse. Though “Lib” died in 2004, her voice lives on in this story of what I would call nurse heroism through creating caring-healing- spiritual environments.
You can listen to the whole show, which is somewhat heart-breaking in its accounts of veteran PTSD issues, or simply entertain Lib’s story by visiting this link:
What this nurse remembers the most in her accounting of being a WWII/ WAC nurse are the caring- healing moments she created for the soldiers. She tells of how she had the pretty nurses with their pleasing appearance doll themselves and use perfume, so as to sit with the most seriously injured and dying. Normally I would be perhaps not really thrilled with this portrayal of a nurse as an object of beauty, but I found myself agreeing that the nurses’ pleasing appearance perhaps create an environment of healing for a young man who is facing his mortality far too soon. Theorists such as Jean Watson and Barbie Dossey have agreed that the environment supports the healing process and this is an example of setting an intention for creating a calming, healing, and perhaps even pleasant presence.
Interestingly, the nurse detailed a story of sharing prayers and a rosary with a young Jewish man who was in need of surgery and facing his mortality. Not to give away the story, but her presence and spiritual support were what made all of the difference for this man; a moment of connection lasted this man’s entire life. And, as we often find in nursing, both for ourselves and our patients, it is those caring moments that our patients whom we serve remember, and it is those moments that most impact us as nurses and spiritual beings on our own healing journey.
I would love to read and hear more of our meaningful stories on the nurse manifest blog and in the media; this sort of story can help us to express to the public that we are there for them both as the providers of technically competent, life-saving care, but also as the guardians and supporters of the spiritual- healing needs.