INSIGHTS ON DEATH & DYING: Cultivating small acts of kindness

February 2005 
Volume 35  Number 2
Pages 66 - 66
  PDF Version Available!


  • Figure. No caption a...

    I'm a clinical nursing instructor in an associate degree program. The students have one full day of lectures on death and dying, then begin a clinical rotation in oncology, where they're assigned to care for terminally ill patients. Besides critical thinking and communication skills, what attributes should they focus on developing? —P.S., ILL.

    Figure. No caption available. Years ago, a film was made of terminally ill patients in Cavalry Hospital in The Bronx, N.Y. As a young nun leads a group of newly hired nurses and nursing assistants into the dayroom, the camera focuses on an elderly woman with beautiful white hair and a lovely smile. The nun asks the woman, “What is the most important thing you would teach these caregivers?”

    Without hesitation the patient says, “To be kind.”

    That's a quality I hope every nurse possesses—but especially those working with people ...

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