A patients view of the nurse

Have you ever stopped to think about what your patients see when they look at you? As a nurse we walk into stranger's room all the time and barely stop to think about walking in. We would not walk into just anybody's house but we walk into their hospital room like it is ok and for the most part it is normal.

When I meet someone for the first time, I have my guard up not knowing what to expect or who I am about to meet, and I am sure they do the same when they see me coming.

After attempting to have a conversation with a new lady that arrived on my unit today, I was in listen mode more than I was able to talk with her. Most of what was being said did not make a lot of sense. What sounded bizarre to me was the story, if I listened close enough to pick up the pieces.

At 3 am she was sitting on the hall coloring on something she had started in the therapeutic recreation. I pulled out a chair and sat down beside her. She smiled and we chatted about her work. She began telling me her story and how she ended up here from Nevada.  She called names of people that have been in her life and the businesses she has been involved in. She enjoyed working and the hard work did not bother her at all. She talked about being partners with her father until he passed.  His passing changed her life. Not only did she miss her father whom she seemed to mention several times what a smart man he was – did not leave a will. The four siblings, who were once close, are now enemies.

In the middle of her story she changed pieces of papers and began using colored markers as she continued sharing her story. She paused, "What color are your eyes?" I responded Brownish, but they seem to change colors when I am tired and turn golden. She smiled, "I like them."  She continued.

Her family owned rock quarries, and machinery businesses that must have done well. After her father passed, they had to sell the business to cover all his expensive. She ended up with a small sum of cash that would only last a couple of years. Her only son had gotten most of it since he was in college.

She has dealt with mental illness for most of her life. He father covered the illness from the family and made sure she stayed on her medications. However, as an alcoholic himself he did not protect her from becoming one of those.

Her face was worn from hard work, worry, and the alcohol, her hands showed the labor, her eyes looked tired and her laughter was cheerful.  She had the attitude "I don't need a lot of money there is nothing I need but a place to sleep and a little food." I smiled because she is right, that is all we need. We have just gotten spoiled with having more than enough.

I started to get up and return to my station and she slipped something across the table to me. She said, When I look at you this is what I see, a queen." I laughed, "A Queen?  As we had sat and talked she was not just coloring she was drawing my portrait. I sat back down and said "Tell me about this picture." She has loved being and artist since the age of 6. She went to college minored in art and majored in business. She has drawn scenes as big as the side of a building and has art featured in the college art museum. She apologized for the art being messy but with her Parkinson disease it kept her from being able to hold the pen like a feather.

The image in the middle of the drawing is me. She was not sure sure who the person is to the left but they are coming into your life to help. To the right of me were two women she called princess. Across the bottom of the page she wrote in straggled hand writing. MISTRESS HAZOR  KING JABIN AIDE. I ask what it meant, she smiled "Look it up, that is you. When I look at you this is what I see." I took the paper and thanked her for the art.  She had me curious. Why did she look at me as a queen with princess aides.

When I got home that morning I began searching for information. This is what I found.
Deborah, a prophetess and a "judge" had more of the role of a godly counselor and deliverer than the courtroom judges of modern times. As a compassionate woman, (she is called "a mother in Israel") living in the hills not far north of Jerusalem, she must have become aware of the suffering and hardship of her people who lived in Galilee. No doubt she was responsible for uniting her people in the hill country and helping to raise a small standing army. As a judge she helped people make wise choices in their lives in the absence of prominent godly leadership among the people. Her life is an enduring example of God's willingness and ability to use a devoted woman (or man) to change the course of history and bring about a great military victory. Though the problems must have seemed insurmountable, Deborah saw the need of Israel, knew of the promises of God, and made herself available to Yahweh. It was God who had the exact plan for the hour. All that was required was obedience and courage.

"Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappodoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment," (4:4-5).


Is it amazing how people and our patients look at us – we have no idea what others are thinking. Our first conversation was hard to make connection – and then a few hours later got to meet the person behind the women. Don't you wonder what your patients see when you walk into their room?


Angela Brooks is a leading distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. Dedicated to natural health solutions, Brooks provides people with healing alternatives without harsh side effects. Additionally, Brooks is a mental health nurse committed to bringing mental happiness to the nursing profession by motivating and supporting nurses around the country.



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4 thoughts on “A patients view of the nurse”

  1. Really nice story Angela, thank you for sharing. I have work on and off as a nurse's aide, and am often struck by the stories and humanity behind a patient's eyes.

  2. Angela, I read your article in NurseTogether entitled, "Confessions of a Psych Nurse" and I was blown away.  I would love to repost this article on my nursing blog, Nursing Notes, or on my mental health blog, The Mental Health Minute.
    Please let me know if I can have your permission to do so.  Thanks.
    Shirley Williams, RN

  3. Hello Shirley – Thank you for reading. Yes you have permission to repost. Please leave the links and the bio on place – I would love to have a link when you get it posted. Thanks

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