An open letter

I like to write notes to express my thoughts. I used to write notes to my basketball coach during practices. Verbal notes. For example, “Dear Coach, Thank you for running us until we are ready to throw up. I really appreciate it. Love, Chandler.” Coach never really appreciated them. However, I have continued writing verbal notes at times to really emphasize a point. Or, just because I like to. There are times, however, when verbal notes – or notes of any sort – wouldn’t really be appropriate. Like when I am frustrated at work. Those thoughts usually have to stay inside my head. But there are times, if I were able, this is what my note would say.


Dear Parent of my Patients,
Today I ask you to please give grace to the nurse that is 10 minutes late with your child’s insulin. You may not realize this but she’s already staying late to be able to dismiss another patient who was forgotten by the doctors earlier that day. Well, not really forgotten, but it seemed to take forever for things to get done for that family too. It doesn’t mean that your nurse doesn’t care about your child. She does. The fact that she came to your room at all means that she chose not to bolt to the exit the instant she was finished giving report. It means she is putting you above herself, even if she was a few minutes later than you wanted.

Please give grace to the nurse who doesn’t have all the answers.The doctor doesn’t give them all to her. Nor, in reality, do they always know everything. Please do not call the unit and berate the nurse for the job she is doing when you have not actually been there. A nurse’s job is taking the best possible care of your child that she can. No, she will not let your child go home if she thinks that there is a possibility that something seriously wrong is going to happen. Yes, she knows what she is talking about. And when she says that your child looks better and has been seriously helped by the care already given, she’s not just saying that to get you off the phone. And, even when you yell at her and get upset at her she will still present your concerns to the doctor. Not because she is happy with you but because she wants to make sure that the symptoms your child are having are not overlooked. For me personally, no matter how you treat me, your child is precious to me and has been given into my care. That is something I do not take lightly.

That’s something else I would like to point out. Assignments are given before the nurses arrive on the unit. The nurse writes names down of children she has never met. Then she takes “report,” which is essentially a 5-10 minute review of their story. Immediately after report the nurse has accepted care of that patient and is expected to care for them. No matter the issue, no matter the background, no matter the family situation. That’s our job. If we happen to tuck your child in differently than you do, or give medicine on a slightly different schedule than you do, or do something else differently, please remember that we do not know your home routine, or you, and are doing our best. It makes it quite a challenge some days!

This note is simply a request to give your nurse some grace. We are busting our butts every day to care for your child and some days it doesn’t seem like you notice or care. You only see when we are five minutes later to the room than you wanted, when really we drop everything as soon as possible to get there. Give us grace, and we will continue to care for your child in the best way we know how.



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