1. Miracle, Vickie A. RN, EdD, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC

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Recently, 2 members of my family were hospitalized. During this time, I was reminded of the many little things nurses do when caring for patients and their families. I say "little things" because that is what they are to us. But believe me, they are not "little" to patients and families. Many of the activities that we nurses perform on a daily basis may seem trivial to us, but they mean the world to patients and families. When a family member thanks you for bringing her a pillow and a blanket so she can sleep in the chair next to her husband, you usually reply, "It's my job." I want you to recognize that this part of your role is critical and one of the many things that patients and families appreciate most. It is similar to a random act of kindness. Patients may not remember that you brought them their medications and helped them regain their health, but they will remember the "little" things that you do, such as bringing their wife a pillow or giving ice cream to their grandchildren.


So in this season of giving thanks and appreciation, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all nurses for all those "little" things, the random acts of kindness, you do everyday and for which you may not receive recognition. On behalf of your patients and their families (all true comments I have heard over the years), thank you for:


1. Bringing my daughter a Popsicle when she was restless.


2. Placing a cool cloth on my head when I had a fever.


3. Sitting with my mother so I could take a walk.


4. Arranging for my dying wife to have a manicure.


5. Sitting by my bed quietly holding my hand.


6. Knowing when to talk and when to be quiet.


7. Arranging for my dog to visit.


8. Making sure my family saw the doctor this morning.


9. Allowing my new grandchild to visit.


10. Repeating what the doctor said.


11. Answering my questions for the fifth time.


12. Writing down the questions I should ask my doctor.


13. Listening to the stories about my grandchildren.


14. Working with dietary to obtain meals I could eat.


15. Calling me at home after I left the hospital just to see how I was doing.


16. Remembering me when you saw me shopping.


17. Sending me a sympathy card when my husband died.


18. Bringing me a piece of your daughter's birthday cake.


19. Hanging up pictures of my children in my hospital room.


20. Staying in touch long after I was healed.


21. Serving as a gatekeeper to limit my visitors so I could rest.


22. Allowing my family to visit any time.


23. Permitting me to remain at my son's side during the resuscitation attempt.


24. Bringing in a new toy for my daughter at Christmas.


25. Talking to my father while he was unconscious.



I know all of you can add many more examples to this list. During this holiday season, I want you to stop and think about how the little things you do everyday make a huge difference for your patients and their families. All throughout the year, and particularly this time of year, you are busy with so many activities, most of which involve more giving. Take the time to give yourself a gift. Remember those little things you do without ever thinking and then be proud of yourself. Be proud of your profession and recognize the importance of random acts of kindness. They may just be part of your job, but they are really so much more. Give yourself the gift of thanks.


I wish all of you a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season and 2007. And thank you.


Vickie A Miracle, EdD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC


Editor, DCCN and Lecturer


Bellarmine University School of Nursing


Louisville, KY