Today at work I heard a story that went like this…
I used to work as a nurse on a psych unit for 20+ years, and I absolutely loved it. Everything about it. My coworkers. The hospital. But most of all, the patients. While they sometimes gave me troubles and even put my life in danger on a few occasions, I truly loved them. One patient of mine…I’ll never forget him… was especially challenging. Every other word out of his mouth was a curse word, and he just had this blank look in his eyes. It was like something was missing. One day, I couldn’t handle the swearing anymore, and I simply asked him if he had ever thought about praying. Acting like he didn’t hear me, he continued to swear at me, and I didn’t ask him about prayer ever again.
Until several years later.
I was getting ready to head home after a long shift, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was a man with a familiar face, but I had a hard time placing him. “I’m so sorry,” I told him, “but have we met before?”
He gave me the widest grin that I’ve ever seen in my life, and he simply replied with a yes.
“Well, you’re going to have to remind me as this old memory of mine isn’t quite what it used to be,” I joked back at home as I tried to scan my memory for who this young man was.
“Okay, I’ll give you a hint…you asked me if I ever thought about praying…” he said in a very gentle voice.
I gasped, instantly remembering the young man who had given me such a hard time. The young man who had made me cry on countless occasions. “Oh my word…it’s you…so…(fumbling for words)…have you thought about praying much since you’ve left the hospital?” I asked him.
“I haven’t stopped,” he answered, and I noticed he had tears in his eyes…
Whenever I hear stories like these, it makes me realize that every interaction I have with a patient could be a life altering moment. Think about it. Did this nurse realize that her simple question could change this man’s life forever? Probably not. But did it? Absolutely.
And so my reason for sharing this story today is to offer a reminder that whatever your profession -whether it be healthcare or not -you have the power to impact lives. As Mother Teresa would say, do little things with great love, and a special thank you to all healthcare professionals for treating your patients with kindness and respect! 🙂