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Sydney Eavey

“I was in my first medical-surgical rotation on a neurology floor and experienced several challenging patient interactions.

Once, I was with a patient who was Deaf and only knew a small amount of Korean Sign Language, so I had to learn to communicate non-verbally. I had patients who were disoriented to time or place and carrying on a conversation was not always possible.

A few weeks in, I randomly picked a patient that was on the opposite end of the unit from where I had been stationed. Little did I know, having a patient that was awake, alert, and oriented would startle me the greatest.

As soon as I walked in the room, I could sense an aura of positivity from both the patient and her husband who was present. We hit it off immediately, and I found myself conversing with the couple for 30 minutes with ease.

She sought medical attention after experiencing a tingling sensation throughout her left arm, and it was found that she had a brain mass requiring surgery that day. They were not sure if the mass was cancerous, which could completely change her life.

Her anxiety was evident but her attitude was extremely positive throughout the day, which was inspiring. At one point, she even asked the nurse if she could tape a picture of her son to her body to have him with her during the surgery.

At the end of my six-hour shift, I went into her room to say goodbye and wish her luck in her surgery. The worries and stress of the unknown had finally taken its physical form, tears. It was that moment that I questioned why terrible things happened to good people.

I took the rest of that day to reflect on how drastically her life could change in a matter of a few days. It made me appreciate that myself, my friends, and my family were all healthy and happy, because life can change in a blink of an eye.

I realized that the comfort I provided for her during an extremely vulnerable time was precious and impactful for both of us.”

To submit your own story, visit: www.nursing.upenn.edu/humans.