A Very Poignant Message from an ER Nurse

“You’ll never see what walks with us as we walk into a room. The ones that taught us all that we know, the ones no longer here with us.”

Sad Angel

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Editor’s Note:

My wife Kashmir sent me this link on my personal FB page.  It is a rhetorical letter written by an ER nurse to the “hypothetical patient”.  It is well written, poignant, and although not written be a perfusionist- it was written to include all of us that work in critical care areas in medicine.

A very good read 🙂


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Becca Morris

“Disclaimer: I don’t often say or post things like this for many different reasons, mostly because it was my choice to live this life that I do, and I’m not looking for praise or sympathy of any kind.

I stumbled across this picture quite some time ago. I always seem to end up coming back to it. It’s like an old friend. I can’t take credit for the picture, it is not mine, and I couldn’t even tell you where I first found it. As I visited with it this time, I felt the need to share it. Share it to show you what most likely won’t see.

See, as an ED nurse, you’ll watch me do things and instantly judge me for them.

You’ll wonder why I can walk out of your room and instantly into another, forgetting that I may have promised you a blanket or a cup of ice for the moment because I was “distracted” by someone else.

You’ll wonder why every name I’ve called in the lobby has not been yours, you’ll wonder why some patients are walked back sooner than you, and you’ll curse my name under your breath as you wait.

You’ll wonder how I can seem to have time to “sit at a computer” while your child is suffering, and wonder why I cannot fix things for you immediately.

You’ll wonder how, under any circumstance, I could be sharing a smile or a laugh with a co-worker in the nurses station, as if laughter has no place in an ED.

As I walk in for my shift, you’ll stare at me, your eyes saying that you want me to take you back too, and you’ll wonder why I can’t just make that happen.

As I walk out from my shift, you’ll wonder why I’m allowed to leave when we are asking you to wait, how could I possibly go home when you must stay here to get the care you need?

But here’s what, if you’re very lucky, you’ll never see.

You’ll never see me lose. You’ll never see me pull down my mask, take off my sweaty gloves and say a goodbye.

You’ll never see the weight that we carry home. For minutes or hours, days, or weeks, or even lifetimes.

You’ll never see what walks with us as we walk into a room. The ones that taught us all that we know, the ones no longer here with us.

You’ll never see our hearts as they continue to beat, even as they ache with the pain of past and present battles.

You’ll never see our minds as they tirelessly overthink and overwork scenarios, wondering how or if we could do something better next time.

And for the most part, I’m okay that you can’t see those things. It’s my job to do, my burden to carry, and my labor of love and service.

However, I’ll be honest, there are times that I wish you could understand the alternative to waiting in a lobby. There are times I wish you understood the difference between urgency and emergency. And there are certainly times that I wish I could be transparent enough to tell you these things without fear.

If you know, or love, an ED nurse, please do me a favor and just give them a hug. Or maybe a fist bump if hugging isn’t their thing, or maybe even just a nod of approval. They’re working as hard and as fast as they can, and some days, it’s never enough.”

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