The patient who had just had a D&C after a miscarriage. The little girl dying after a failed liver transplant. The man headed to surgery for a colon resection to treat his cancer. The wife whose husband just died. The father who called to tell us his daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer.
These are all people who I have prayed for, prayed with, or prayed over. Of course, there have been many more. Some I've forgotten, some I never could. Some who knew I was doing it, some who never will.
For me, prayer is essential. It's the act of inviting God into a situation--whatever it is.
I work with a doctor who prays for the patients on her schedule each day. Sometimes nurses join her. I know of another doctor who actually has a special room designated for prayer in her clinic. How would you feel if you were her patient and knew her interaction with you and all her decisions regarding your care had been prayed over?
Of course not everyone feels the way I do about prayer. It might even be offensive to some. That's okay. But I earnestly believe most people have some sort of spiritual inclination. A patient has never become offended when I've said I'd be praying for him. I think we all find it comforting to think God might actually care about our circumstances and take the time to intercede for us.
I heard a story the other day of an anesthesiologist who ministered to a little boy and his family in a most unlikely way. The boy, who is in a losing battle with cancer, was having yet another procedure done. After it was over, but while he was still unconscious, the doctor decided to bathe him and trim his nails. Something he was in too much pain to have done while awake. She told the mom that, as a mother herself, she felt it was one small thing she could do to help.
I have this vision in my head of this kind doctor washing off caked blood and grime, all the while asking God to care for this little boy.
It's one of those amazing moments we get to be a part of in the health care profession. Meeting people in there rawest form. Reaching out to them in whatever way we can. Ministering to them as we meet their medical needs. Often these are holy moments. I cherish several.
Do you have any moments like that? Times when you've taken care of a patient spiritually and not just physically? Times when you felt used by God? Times when you've realized nursing is so much more than you ever dreamed?