You and I are not all that different

by Angela Brooks

You and I

by Elaine Popovich

I am a resident. You reside.

I am admitted. You move in.

I have behavior problems. You are rude.

I am non-compliant. You don’t like to be told what to do.

When I ask you to dinner, it is an outing. When you ask someone out, it is a date.

I don’t know how many people have read the progress notes people write about me.
I don’t even know what is in there. You didn’t speak to your best friend for a month when she read your journal.

I make mistakes during my check writing program. Someday, I might get a bank account. You forget to record some withdrawals from your account. The bank calls to remind you.

I want to talk to the nice looking person behind us in the grocery store. I was told that is inappropriate to talk to strangers. You met your spouse in the produce department. He couldn’t find the bean sprouts.

I celebrated my birthday yesterday with five other residents and two staff members. I HOPE my family sends a card. Your family threw you a surprise party. Your brother couldn’t make it from out of state. It sounded wonderful.

My case manager sends a report every month to my guardian. It says everything I did wrong and some things I did right. You are still mad at your sister for calling your mom after you got a speeding ticket.

I am on a special diet because I am five pounds over my ideal body weight. Your doctor gave up telling you.

I am learning household skills. You hate housework.
I am learning leisure skills. Your shirt says you are a “couch potato.”

After I do my budget program tonight. I might get to go to McDonald’s if I have enough money. You were glad the new French restaurant took your charge card.

My case manager, psychologist, RN, occupational therapist, physical therapist, nutritionist and house staff set goals for me for next year. You haven’t decided what you want out of life.

Someday I will be discharged…maybe. You will move onward and upward.

I found this poem cleaning out old folders. It made me sad to think how many people have these thoughts daily as the staff and as the clients. We are no different – we have just changed the words from the person who lives admitted verse someone one on the outside.

We are not different….we are blessed.

Will you please click on the Twitter and Facebook links and share this post. Maybe it will make someone else stop and think about the person they are taking care of.

Angela Brooks is the author of her best seller "The Nurses Voice", and is a contributor to the nursing magazines "Scrubs Magazine" and "". She is also a marketing leader for growing Health Company whose mission is to inspire individuals to lives of wellness, purpose, and abundance!

She is the founder of, a company dedicated to helping empower nurses who works in the mental health field. Not just for nurses – but those that nurse others in life. She is the nurses voice, the voice for those unheard.


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Copyright © 2011


Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Shirley Williams November 17, 2011 at 5:04 am

Angela, this is a wonderful poem and it touched me deeply.  I frequently comment to my peers about the way we think about and talk about our patients.  We are only different in that we have the keys.  Thank you for posting this here.  May I repost it on my blog?  I’ll be sure to link it back to you here.  Thanks again for giving me a pause and making me think about how lucky I am and about the way I think and feel about my patients.

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