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6 Inspirational Tales The nurse-patient relationship can be inspirational for either party. In this chapter, many nurses describe patient’s inspirational words or actions. A truly inspirational story describes the nurse who frequently held hands with dying patients. In nursing homes, when newcomers enter, all staff members know they need to interact with them to make them feel comfortable, almost as if they were in a new home. To do so helps the new patients continue being as active as possible on a daily basis. Numerous stories in this chapter talk about Mary Breckinridge, founder of the Frontier Nursing Service, especially how she inspired various nurses, midwives, and Appalachian Mountain residents to become reliable, dedicated servants for those in need of food, clothing, shelter, and so on. Other stories speak of church pastors and missionaries, as well as loving services in honor of the Lord. A Life’s Lesson I met a man who was a patient in the hospital where I began my nursing career. He was one of those sweet little elderly persons with eyes that sparkled. He always grinned from ear to ear. On one occasion I was assigned to be his student nurse. For privacy reasons, I will refer to him as Mr. P. I truly enjoyed taking care of Mr. P. To this day, after twenty-two years of hospital nursing, I still remember him, and when I think of him I smile. After I graduated from nursing school I became an employee at that same hospital. One day when I cared for Mr. P. he wanted a shave. Well, I was still quite a young, new nurse, just starting out, you might say, and I wasn’t too sure about the shaving procedure. We just didn’t do that much shaving in nursing school. We learned all the other hygiene pretty well—bedpans, bed making, bed baths, etc. 108 Tales from Kentucky Nurses I thought that I would try to shave him, but how do I go about this? The best thing I did was to be honest with Mr. P. and tell him I wasn’t too sure how to do it. Without any hesitation he said, “I’ll just talk you through it.” All of this time he was still smiling with a big, loving smile. (I sit here smiling too as I think back to that time many years ago.) So Mr. P. got his shave and I received a checkoff on a new procedure . We both did just fine, and then he reminded me of another lesson in life as I commented on his smile. He grinned really big and said, “Well, I think if you just keep smiling, the whole world will smile back.” Rebecca Collins, Auburn, September 14, 2011 “I Feel Pretty, Too” As a retired registered nurse I have turned my patient-care skills into gardening skills for my one acre [of] land. Recently while working in the yard I was reminded of a wonderful lady whom I had only known for a year. She used to love to keep a garden and would always home can the fruits of her labors. I firmly believe God has a purpose for each and every one of us. It may not be the purpose for which we asked, but it is the purpose he wants us to have. I also firmly believe every person we meet in life makes an impact on the outcome of our lives. People we have known for only a short time can make a lasting impression on the way we want our lives to be. Gladys Alexander, known as Mrs. A. to her caregivers, was one of those rare persons who drift into your life, steal your heart, then drift out again. After September 11, 2011, my nursing career shifted from delivering babies to taking care of the elderly. I really needed a change, so after fifteen years of working night shift I finally had the opportunity to work day shift in my hometown hospital. Naturally, I was not sure if I could switch from newborn babies to adults, because some habits are hard to break. After six months I learned I did not like taking care of medical-surgical patients, but I did not want to give up my day job. God answered my prayers when he sent me a challenge. I accepted an administration job in the extended care facility of the same hospital. I had always said I would never...


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