Notes left Behind
“Over the past 15 days, I’ve learned a few rules about medicine…we’ve encountered doctors who freely admitted they were out of guesses but went out of their way to get to know Elena’s birthday, that she preferred swirl ice cream over all the others and that she would choose an Ariel sticker over a Jasmine sticker any day. And more often than not, it was the doctors with the good bedside manner who had the best results” (Desserich & Desserich, 2009, pp. 29-30). Elena Desserich was diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer in 2006, when she was just five years old. To be more specific, an incurable, rare form of brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), and her parents were told she had just 135 days to live. The distraught couple vowed to make each moment special for Elena and her sister Gracie, then four. Mr. and Mrs. Desserich were worried Gracie might grow up and not remember her sister Elena, so they began to write a journal about their kind little girl who loved books and art. Two ordinary parents wrote about their candid reactions to their daughter's journey through cancer. As they grappled with this disease, they realized the profound impact of a few good doctors and nurses on their daughter’s fight for survival. It wasn’t because of the knowledge the doctors or nurses had, but because of what they ascertained as Elena opened up to them. The medical staff uncovered all the facts about Elena: favorite Disney princess, favorite ice cream and favorite color. As a result, this little girl took an active role in this fight by having a good attitude and positive outlook. The role of a nurse is not only to care for the patient’s physical needs, but rather focus on the whole person through t...
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...for the well, ill and the dying. Excellence in nursing requires commitment, caring and critical thinking in terms of expertise, status and discipline over practice.
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