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I'd like to thank you for publishing "Listen to Your Patients' Stories" (October 2009).* This article discussed a form of communication that I now hold dear to my heart. I didn't realize the effect that listening to a patient's story could have until an experience I had while preparing a patient for surgery. I noticed that she was tearful and unable to concentrate on my questions. When I asked her if she was okay, she confided that she'd just lost her husband of 40 years and missed him terribly. She said she was scared. I gave her this time to express her feelings and held her hand. Once she'd composed herself, she hugged me and said, "Thank you for just listening. I needed that."

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I now make a point in my practice to listen to my patients' stories. I challenge all nurses to ask themselves, Am I an active listener?




New Bern, N.C.


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