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The Art of Nursing

red mom

Nursing is described as an art and a science.  I learned the science component with hundreds of hours of clinical, classes and study.  I read research articles for enjoyment.  I have used vacation time to attend nursing conferences to sit in hours of lectures to learn the latest techniques and evidence that guides my nursing practice.  Learning the art of nursing has been a more subtle occurrence.

Artists are naturally gifted, but they rely on instruction from the masters of their craft and practice to hone their skill.   I learned the art of nursing at the bedside of my patients.  My patients helped me to develop my compassion, empathy, and patience.  I learned what a person needs to feel comfortable while leaving this world.  Children have taught me how to soothe, smile and distract to ease painful experiences.   Young men addicted to drugs and alcohol have taught me tolerance of choices I do not understand.  Grieving families have helped me to find the best words to comfort.  I have learned that, “I’m so sorry,” is the only thing you can say; and that every silence does not need to be filled with words.

My personal space bubble has evaporated over the years.  Patients and families need a hand to hold or a hug to feel safe and human.  I have learned the art of humor.  Laughter is a welcome treatment in nearly all situations.  I have learned to listen in a way that a person feels heard.  I have learned what people need to hear in order to leave this life or cling to it.  I can motivate an exhausted mother to find her strength and push one more time.  I am grateful to all the patients that have helped me to learn the art of nursing.

I am not an artistic person in a traditional sense.  I can’t sing, paint or dance.

I have sat at the feet of countless people who have taught me the art of being human.  My patients and their families have been both muse and master instructors.

Nurses sometimes forget about the art, and become lost in checklists, charting and extra shifts.  It is easy to view patients as room numbers, ailments or obstacles to having lunch or taking a potty break.  Remember to practice your art.

Patients are human.  Humans need beauty in their lives.

Nurses create beauty at the bedside.

-Carrie Halsey MSN, ACNS-BC, RNC-OB

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What Hippies Taught Me about Birth


I learned a lot about labor from granola nurses and crunchy parents.  Here are my favorite lessons that I learned taking care of laboring patients whom were skipping pain medications.  It has made me a better labor nurse for all my patients.  What lessons have you learned in the world of labor and delivery?


Feed moms or they get cranky.




rose bloom
A cervix blooms like a rose.





It is okay to ask the tough questions






Don’t assume that all parents want vaccines, baths, disposable diapers or a pacifier, unless you want to see  crunchy mom wrath.





amniotic fluid
Babies like their amniotic fluid.  Don’t AROM their swimming pool.





Everyone needs a hug sometimes.





Make sure you are keeping a safe distance when its pushing time.





Sometimes a mom will need you every minute.






Sometimes a mom only needs her partner







Not all moms wear deodorant, have a fan handy.






red fox
It is okay to name your son Red Fox. (Or any other unconventional name)






Wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsing to cut!!







intermittant efm
Continuous fetal monitoring is not always necessary.








Always knock on the door first! I have been surprised on more than one occasion about what was going on in the room!







pulling out baby
Moms deliver babies, not doctors.








dad gaze
Watching a  dad and mom look at each other after the baby is born always makes me cry.


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Dear God, It’s Me Again


Dear God, it’s me again, Denise RN. I know that I just asked for a miracle last week, for that VBAC, but I could really use your help again. The mom in 407 is only 19 weeks pregnant and her water broke. She’s laying flat in bed, with her head a foot lower than her feet, trying to keep her baby inside. Give her strength Lord. This baby will never make it. Grant her the peace to accept that her baby will not go home with her. Heal her heart so it will be open to another baby someday.

Dear God, it’s me again. It has been a week and 407, I mean Candace, is still pregnant. She has finished her IV antibiotic course and is showing zero signs of infection. I saw her smiling and talking to her belly last night. She has done everything we instruct. I see her hope growing. Why are you allowing her this hope? That baby won’t make it 4 more weeks.

Dear God, it’s me again. I’m amazed at Candace’s strength. She is tired of lying in bed, but she never complains. She would sit on a pin if I told her it would help. 21 weeks, everyone is on the countdown now. Hope is spilling out onto the unit. Why are you letting this hope continue to spread? That baby won’t make it 3 more weeks.

Dear God, it’s me again. 22 weeks! Are you kidding me? Candace is so tired, but full of joy. Thank you for this miracle. We are almost there. The baby is growing and mom still has no signs of infection. This is really going to happen, isn’t it? Since you are in such a gracious mood, can I get a chance to pee before noon?

Dear God, yeah it’s me again. Help me to not fall asleep driving this car. Today was awful. Candace went into labor. I tried to stop it, but the baby came anyway. He was so small and fragile. I laid him on her chest and they cuddled together while he died. She cried when I told her that he was gone. Why, why, why? Why didn’t you take that baby last month? Why couldn’t she keep her baby? Why did you let her have hope for a month and then leave her childless in the end? Give her strength Lord, she is in pain.

Father in heaven, I became a mother today. Thank you for this gift. My little boy was only with me a short time. I wish he could’ve stayed with me. You must have needed him more. When my water broke so early I thought I would never meet him, but he was so strong. Every day I talked to him. I told him how much I loved him. I told him his name is William, just like my dad. I told him about all the things we would do when he was older, and the places we would go together. I prayed every minute for his safe birth. I cherished every little kick and movement this last month. Thank you for those moments. Oh and please bless my nurse, you know which one. The one that pretends she’s not too busy to massage my achy back. The one who smiled encouragingly, while she checked Will’s heart tones each day. The one who helped me hold him when he was born. The one who pointed out all his little miracles, from his tiny toes, to how his nose turns up just like mine. The one who told me how much she loved the name I picked out, while she pretended that she hadn’t been crying. Bless her with peace. Bless her with strength. Bless her with the wisdom to understand she can’t save every baby.

Thank you, God, for my nurse.

feet baby