Nursing Wit & Wisdom

Inspire and Be Inspired, Nightingales!

I See You

Nov 15, 2019 | Clinical Challenge | 0 comments

Dear Nightingales and Friends,

Thank you for the great thing you did today.  I wanted you to know that I noticed.  

I know that I don’t get to work with most of you.  I know that for most of you I am not the one you call when you need help admitting a patient, or changing a bed, or get

ting supplies while you are tending to your physician.  I wish I was, because I would tell you…

I saw you…

I saw that while you are looking at the chart’s new orders, you are thinking of 12 other things including how fast pharmacy can get you that new antibiotic, remembering to grab a new bag of IV fluids on your way out of the nurses station before your patient’s IV bag runs dry, picking up the pain medication for the patient complaining of surgical pain, getting a teaching booklet for the spouse of a patient asking about the procedure today, making a mental note to remember to check the lab results you drew an hour ago, wondering if it would waste any time running into the lounge and “sneaking” a bite of your lunch that has been sitting there for an hour and re-prioritizing your day for your new admission.

I saw you…  

You gave your patient their pain medication before you went to lunch.

I saw you…

You stopped when a patient’s family member poked their head out of their room to wave you down.  You stopped, introduced yourself, shook their hand and looked intently at them while they asked you when the surgical team is coming to pick up their family member.  You answered calmly, explained the plan and said you would check to see if there were any other delays. [And then made a mental note to pop that to the top of your list]

I saw you…  

When you asked the elderly wife of a patient, sitting by her husband’s bedside, if she had anything to eat today.  She said, she wasn’t hungry.  I saw you… take a ‘secret Nightingale scan’ of her…

remembering they lived out of state and had been transferred here, there were no other family members around, and it was noon already and even you were hungry.  I saw you… go grab your lunch from the cafeteria and give it to her, making some excuse about how there was an extra lunch delivered today.

I saw you…

Break your sprint down the hall with your hands full of IV bags and linen, when you noticed a new nurse was admitting a patient and out of the corner of your eye, your “Nightingale Spidey-Sense” noted, on the fly, that they seemed a little overwhelmed.   You stopped, put your things down in the corner of the room and helped them get organized in the room and quietly suggest to the new nurse that you noticed that a certain one of the 100 things on her To-Do list, would be a good place to start.  The chaos calmed.  She looked at you silently and smiled, and you grabbed your things and moved on.  It all took 10 minutes.

I saw you…

When you had a patient who was a veteran, who said he was here from out of town, when he got sick and ended up in the hospital… overhear him talk on the phone and say he was getting discharged today and was making arrangements to get to the airport.  I saw you… call the cab company and order a cab for him… and pay for it out of your own pocket and then tell him, a cab had been arranged for him, but not tell him you had paid for it.  You wheeled him to the cab at the front door, thanked him for his service and wished him well.

I saw you…

When you sit with your dying patient in between patients, and do your charting in the room… so they wouldn’t be alone because there were no family or friends coming today.

I saw you… 

Stop at the grocery store on your way to visit and elderly homebound patient for a home care visit you know gets their meals from Meals-On-Wheels.  You picked up a bag of groceries of healthy meats, fruits and vegetable, enough for a few meals.  You brought it with you and stocked their refrigerator.

I wanted you to know, that even if I am not there… I saw the great thing you did today.  And I wanted to tell you, “Thank You”.

I would like you to do something this week.  Starting today and through the week…

Each day… at least one time…  

I am asking you to SEE SOMETHING GOOD about a Nightingale you are working with, or you know…


It is too easy for us to get wrapped up in the negative tidal wave that consumes our work and daily lives.  Everything around us seems to spin with noise, deceit, secrets, violence or just plan meanness.  The stress of hearing the news, watching 4 different versions of Law and Order and trying to find a happy story in the newspaper, can just leave you frustrated, tired, hopeless that there is good in the world.

There is good in the world.

We just have to change our glasses.  There used to be an internet news feed that I loved to read.  It was called, ‘Happy News’.  I used to read it at least once a week.  There were some fantastic stories in there!  Stories about everything… worldwide, national, local.  Stories about politics [yes, happy stories], medicine, technology, science, health and healthcare and lifestyle stories.  And it wasn’t just about the perfect cake recipe.

‘Happy News’ was real news about real people doing great things… that just weren’t getting noticed.

The site hasn’t posted new stories in about a year.  But the site is still there.  Check it out.  Read a HAPPY STORY!  Change your glasses.  Change your perspective.  Start to SEE the great things going on around you… and not just the violence, pain and suffering.

I don’t want you to ignore the bad things.  I just want you to see that in the midst of all the storm… that is not all there is.  I want you to see that there are great people out there doing little things that make a big difference.

And, there are great Nightingales right around you … and you… that are doing great things every day.  We are just blinded by the rough and tumble of the chaos around us, the bad tempers, the pain and suffering, the fatigue, the frustration and the fight to survive it all.

Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Andy Andrews wrote a book called, “The Noticer” about a guy named ‘Jones’ that was an unlikely friend, mentor and teacher to him in his darkest years… that taught him to ‘notice’ things around him, that would change his perspective and not only change his world, but help him change the world.  [I LOVE!!! his books, have read most of them, and give them as gifts.  I highly recommend… well, anything he has written, blogged or podcasted!]

So I would like you to do something this week.  Starting today and through the week…

Each day… at least one time…

I am asking you to SEE SOMETHING GOOD about a Nightingale you are working with, or you know…


I will even help you get started!


It may take you a moment or two to get started.  But I promise you this…

Once you get started SEEING the AMAZING things Nightingales are doing around you… you will start to HAVE FUN noticing.

This is a great exercise for Preceptor, Charge Nurses, Nurse Managers and Administration to do as they walk around on rounds or are doing meetings.

But it is not just for them… Every one of you that reads this…  

I want you to download the Action Sheet and put it on your clipboard or in your pocket this week.  And I want you to fill it out.

And then I want you to go to them… and tell them… ” I saw the great thing you did today and I wanted to tell you, I noticed.  Thank you, for what you did.”

And, Nightingales… Thank you for the great thing you did today.  I wanted you to know that I noticed.  

Inspire and Be Inspired, Nightingales!



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