Recently Lanie shared an encounter with a patient that really demonstrates her professional presence. Her patient, a woman who was dying, was altered and could not verbally communicate with others. Her daughters were very distressed that they would never be able to speak with their mother again. How could they communicate with her before she died?
Lanie took one daughter’s hand and placed it on the patient’s chest. She explained that each daughter was one with her mom’s heart and they could all share in this moment. At Lanie’s urging, while one daughter held one hand upon her mother’s chest, the sisters held hands and formed a circle. Each family member was able to personally address their mom. The family laughed and cried as they spoke with their mom and shared stories. Lanie relayed what an honor it was to facilitate closure for those daughters. Without Lanie’s professional guidance, there would have been a different outcome for the patient and her daughters.
I was very touched by the story and have repeated it when talking about the Caring Science to multidisciplinary teams. The story speaks to the healing nature of nursing and how nurses make a difference in the way we honor our patients’ wholeness. Lanie’s story also reminds each of us to be the best of who we can be in whatever role we have.