Giggling. As I listened to handoff report, I finally deciphered the sound coming from one of my patient’s rooms. She was giggling. “Curious,” I thought, and turned my attention back to my co-worker.
I began my rounds and fell into the rhythm of caring for patients. The patient’s room from which I had heard the giggling was my last assessment as I started off the afternoon. “Ms. Giggles,” an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s, almost ready for discharge after a flare-up of heart failure, was quiet when I entered the room. As soon as she saw me, however, she smiled and the giggling began in earnest. Ms. Giggle’s cooperated with my every request, giggling her way through the assessment and providing me with a challenge of listening to heart and lung sounds between giggles. By the time I finished my assessment, I was smiling. Her giggles were contagious.
As the shift progressed, I noticed that everyone who exited Ms. Giggles room left smiling. She giggled through physical therapy, through occupational therapy, through evening cares, even giggled through her subcutaneous Heparin injection. Interestingly, each team member was impacted by his or her interaction with Ms. Giggles, although she never spoke a word.
Reflecting on my patient, I thought about the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). Despite my patient’s dementia, she positively affected all who came in contact with her.
Do I do that? Despite my circumstances, do I rejoice? Do I pray continually? Do I remember to be thankful in all circumstances? When others come in contact with me, how do I affect them?
As Christian nursing students, nurses, and instructors, are we striving to do God’s will for us? Daily we have opportunities to touch others’ lives, often those whose circumstances are far from ideal. By choosing to honor the command to be joyful always, pray continually, and be thankful in all circumstances, we demonstrate our love and trust in God and honor him through our actions.
What kind of impact do you have?
by Julie DeHaan who is affiliated with the Department of Nursing at Bethel University, St. Paul, MN.
This article is reprinted from the Journal of Christian Nursing, January-March 2013. Join NCF and receive JCN as a member benefit— or subscribe to JCN.