The Healer's Art


Evan and I spoke together in Sacrament meeting for the first time last week, and I have a confession to make: I used to be one of those young women who day dreamed about that day. I wasn't day-dreaming about how my future husband would propose, or what our wedding day would be like. Nope I was day-dreaming about speaking in church together. Pretty sure that's how I ended up with a seminary teacher for a husband :) But seriously I'd hear young couples give talks in church and tell "their story" and just swoon over how romantic it all was. I couldn't wait to do that! Unfortunately I have not been able to successfully compress mine and Evan's story down to a two minute intro, all the fun is in the details! So mostly I left the job to him, and besides I was so nervous I had to take off my heels and hold on the the podium for dear life so I didn't really have the presence of mind to tell it right anyway.

But while I was studying for my talk, I came across a quote that really stuck with me and I haven't been able to shake it:

“When we get emotionally and spiritually involved in helping a person who is in pain, a compassion enters our heart. It hurts, the but process lifts some of the pain from another. We get from the experience a finite look into the Savior's pain as he performed the infinite Atonement. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, a sanctification takes place within our souls and we become more like our Savior.”  -Glenn L. Pace

As far as school goes, this semester has been a rough one for me. I have learned more than I ever have in any other semester in school, and probably multiple semesters combined. Being able to interpret all the lab values, identify any cardiac rhythm you can throw at me, and regurgitate the hemodynamic values does make me feel smart, but mastering all that wasn't even the hard part. 

I started the semester off in the ICU. Okay we all know what that means... intensive care unit... AKA the sickest of the sick and therefore NOT where you want to be from a patient's perspective. I know people die in hospitals, or at least supposedly that's why everyone hates hospitals right? But two years in and I hadn't seen it yet. And really, in nursing school we don't talk about people dying that much. We talk about people we can heal. So when my first patient died a few weeks in to my clinical rotation I sat motionless and watched the cardiac strip slowly deteriorate with tears in my eyes for over an hour. The next week when my patient died, I went and hid in the hall and started sobbing. What kind of a nurse does that?? I didn't even know that man, I had only been on shift for an hour before it happened and he was unconscious the whole time! But I was watching the reaction of his family and I just couldn't hold back my tears.

Next up was the Psych ward, what an improvement right? But I have to tell you I LOVED it. I was on the chemical dependency floor with patients who were suffering from addictions and substance abuse.  It completely changed my perspective on how I view people. I mean, I am currently on a month long chocolate fast because of my patients there, that should tell you how serious this is. We got to spend all day with our patients, in therapy, playing cards, just in casual conversation as well as formal interviews, and after hearing about what they have been through in their lives you just want to say, of course you are addicted to x, y, or z, I probably would be too! You can't think of anything except how you just wish none of it had happened and how you just want to take it away. In the medical hospital I ask my patients to please take a blood pressure pill every day, or make sure you don't forget to check your blood sugars. In the psych ward I say, "Will you please give up the only thing that has given you happiness and kept you alive and never ever have it again for the rest of your life?" ( Hence the chocolate fast, it was the only thing I could think to do to gain some form of empathy for them! Not that chocolate is the only thing that gives me happiness...but you get the picture.) 

So the point of my rambling is this: the hard part of nursing is you get your heart broken over and over again! I have been thinking all semester... Why am I doing this? Who in their right mind would sign up for this for the rest of their life?? Until I came across this quote, and that makes it all worth it. BYU College of Nursing's slogan is "The Healer's Art." Because its true, it hurts. But in the process you lift some of the pain from another. So while I'm no longer the idyllic freshman who came in to nursing with the idea that I was going to change the whole world, I love it again. And I can't wait to start my capstone in the fall to continue to try and take just a little bit of pain away for each patient. 

But I'm not that changed. I'm still moving back to the happy floor of the hospital. Labor and Delivery here I come!



  1. Kamille, that was a very touching and thoughtful post. Thanks for writing it. It really made me think and ponder. You have realized and written many truths in this. Good food for thought - spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Hope all is going super well with you guys. :)

  2. You're really cute. You definitely have the healer's art! :) LOVE YOU!

  3. LOVE the quote! really puts things in perspective! p.s. I'm not going to lie I'm pretty sad that we don't get to go back to UNI, I miss it already!

  4. Very beautiful and well said.

  5. I never comment on your blog but I just had to this time. Thanks for sharing that quote. My little 2 month old nephew passed away from SIDS in January. He was life flighted to Phoenix Children's Hospital where he spent the last few hours of his life in the PICU and passed there as well. I couldn't help but think about the nurses that were doing all they could to help little Luke and I could not figure out how they could do this everyday. You're not the only one who cries after a patient dies by the way... even nurses who had worked there for years were getting super choked up with tears in their eyes. To sum it all up, I am just so thankful that there are people out there that can take that load to help their patients.

    Shortly after he died my good friend sent me a quick email that said this:

    "Hey Kels. I was talking to my mom about Luke and talking to her about how strange it was that I have felt so much sorrow when I don't even know your sister or had never met Luke and this was her response, "I think as moms we are supposed to feel one another's sorrow. Somehow in the cosmic picture, I think sharing in another's sorrow (even if we don't know them well) allows us to help carry the burden in some small way." I had never thought of it this way, but I think it is a really beautiful thought. I hope it is true, and that through my grief, and everyone else who knows Sara or not, that we are helping to carry her burden."

    I think nurses and doctors alike carry part of that burden as well and thank goodness for them. What you are doing is really noble and having gone through this experience, I can say that my view of medical professionals has changed drastically. Anyways, that was a super long post and i promise if I ever post again it won't be that long :)

  6. Hey kamille, I don't know if you remember me but I am Evans friend from back home in California. I felt the exact same way the first time one of my patients died in nursing school. The women was dying from heart failure and she was going down hill fast, she coded right in front of me and died within minutes of calling the code. I cried in the bathroom for along time. I think that being able to known how precious life it makes you a good nurse!


Post a Comment