Nursing Presence Assignment

Nursing Presence Assignment Words: 646

Nursing Presence I recently had the privilege of being a caring presence during the last few weeks of my mother-in-law’s life. She was 80 years old and had been diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer. There was no cure. Doctors informed her she had a very short time to live and she should go home and get her affairs in order. We spent quite a bit of time together during her last few weeks. Every day was a gift. She did a lot of talking and reminiscing. While I listened to her, I learned things I didn’t know about our family.

Sometimes I would hold her hand or gently stroke her arm. When she would ask about the progression of her disease, I was always very honest with her. This helped to reassure her that I had only her best interest at heart. Sometimes we would just be silent and enjoy the moment; drawing comfort from each other. As she began to have more difficulty with speaking and writing, this is where my presence, not only as a daughter-in-law, but as a nurse, became so important for both of us.

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I tried to create a calming presence, one that was conducive to healing. Although I could not cure the disease, I wanted to help in healing her spirit. She wasn’t afraid to die, she simply didn’t want to. This was a very bittersweet time for both of us. It was very sad knowing we were losing her, but it was also a very peaceful time. She lost her ability to communicate her thoughts or wishes to me vocally. It’s hard to put into words how I felt, but it was as though I could feel within myself what she needed.

When I looked into her eyes, it felt as though her spirit was in my soul. While doing what I could to enhance the quality of her death, she touched my heart in a way I will never forget. There was an incredibly strong presence in the room. I wanted her to feel as though her mind, body, and spirit were all being cared for. Healing presence is defined as, “As the condition of being consciously and compassionately in the present moment with another or with others, believing in and affirming their potential for wholeness, wherever, they are in life. (Miller & Cutshall, 2001, p. 12) In our textbook titled, “Holistic Nursing, a Handbook for Practice”, Dossey defines presence as; “The essential state or core of healing; approaching an individual in a way that respects and honors his or her essence; relating in a way that reflects a quality of being with and in collaboration with rather than doing to; entering into a shared experience that promotes healing potential and an experience of well being. ” (Dossey and Keegan, 2009, p. 9) These definitions help to express some of my innermost feelings during my experience with my mother in-law’s passing. She passed away on June 6, 2009, and I miss her. But her spirit lives on through me, my husband, and our children. Although I gave myself completely and freely to her, she gave so much more back to me. This is a memory that I will always treasure. I’ll always try to incorporate what I’ve learned from my own experience into what I do every day for my patient’s.

Whether we are trying to help, heal, and recover, or providing a healing presence for a peaceful death, we are making a difference in their lives. By integrating holistic therapies with conventional treatments, the patient’s mind, body, and spirit are being cared for. This is what I hope to bring to the bedside. References Dossey, B. , & Keegan, L. (2009). Hollistic Nursing A Handbook for Practice (5th ed). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. Miller, J. E. , & Cutshall, S. C. (2001). The Art of Being a Healing Presence. fort Wayne, Indiana: Willowgreen.

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