The Moments in Between

 In Nurses Weekly

We all have yearly professional milestones and obligations that help us mark the passage of time. These include our yearly attempt to resurrect the CPR dummy, the annual opportunity to get our favorite employer-branded merchandise on our employee anniversary or the yearly reminder that we don’t know nearly enough about stroke scales. But those are things we do for nursing. That’s not what meaningful nursing is.

Sometimes, though, it feels like nursing should be measured in shifts. There are days in which we live 8 or 12 hours at a time, where every hour feels like a constant rush, a push to get to the end of the shift with the hope that when you pass the baton to the next shift, the patients are a little bit better off than how you found them.

But the best nursing happens in the moments in between.

It could be the moment when your education and experience reveal a problem no one else sees. Sometimes it’s when subtle details come into focus and you suddenly can explain to a patient or a physician what the patient’s body has been going through. We all know stories of problems that would’ve slipped through the cracks if not for diligent nurses trusting their instincts and tracking down answers.

Those are the meaningful nursing moments that can change lives.

These days, people are more isolated and more scared than ever before; every health care encounter is heavily structured for maximum safety, while very little is unscripted.

But those moments in between still remain—moments when a scared patient needs a hand to hold, a lonely patient needs someone to talk to or an unspoken issue needs a voice. Now more than ever, people need to connect with another human, if only for a moment, and oftentimes that person is a nurse.

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