Felisa Roselle Barrientos
February 2021
Felisa Roselle
Isolation Unit- Adventist Hospital Palawan
Health Carousel Philippines




Again, with my hand over hers, I told her that just like always, I was praying for her and her family every night. At that moment I knew I was there not only for her but for her family as well.
I am Felisa, a 25-year-old RN in the Philippines. I have been working since 2017 and have been an active Medical-Surgical nurse since then.
A few days ago, I unexpectedly received a "Service Excellence and Client Commendation Award" for the year 2020 from our hospital's administration, which humbled and inspired me to write about my most impactful nurse-patient story.
Growing up, I have always been a very jolly and lighthearted type of person. Always with a cheeky grin to everyone I pass by. Even as a Nurse, I do my best to always put a genuine smile and a heartfelt laugh to share with my co-workers and patients. Little do they know, we nurses go through a lot of personal stresses as well. It could be a sick love one, struggling financially, or maybe just a broken heart. Which in some cases, could permanently take our smiles away.
So here goes my story. As a good-humored person; it was always automatic for me to make sure to bring joy to everyone around me. I also make sure to make a light but a warm connection with my patients by cracking jokes here and there, or maybe just by simply telling them they look extra fresh or beautiful that day. There would be sometimes where I'd make a lasting impression and a patient would ask for the "jolly nurse" during my rest days. Never did I think that those little "Make Happy moments of mine could also turn into a heartbreak yet a beautiful realization for me.
One day I was assigned to a 50+-year-old patient admitted due to an infected wound, post-surgery, and with a poor prognosis. I had other patients aside from her, but her case was the most unstable then, hence she was under our care for quite a while. She was in a lot of pain, anxious, and was still trying to figure out her thoughts about everything. She would have quiet days and grumpy days, but little by little I found ways to make her smile and laugh with me. She had a successful operation but was recovering poorly due to complications regarding infections. She would cry and murmur during wound cleaning at the bedside, but I always made sure to never leave her side without telling her how brave she was and how beautiful that made her, costing me extra time away from my charts, which means overtime for me. We both knew that her condition was not going well anymore, but even so, we always brightened up each other's day by simply smiling and sharing our daily "hey, you look great today!" compliments.
One unfortunate day her condition got critical, and she was then consequently rushed to the ICU. The following week, I got to talk to one of her daughters. She then told me that her mom was always looking for that "Jolly nurse". Sadly, I didn't really have the chance to visit her then because it was the peak of the panic regarding COVID-19 and I didn't want to risk her safety by visiting her. During this time, I was also busy starting my duties as an isolation nurse in our new facility specially made for expected COVID-19 cases. When she was released to a step-down ICU unit, I tried to visit her and of course making sure I've disinfected according to newly updated safety protocols. The first time I visited her she still had to call me "Nadine", she immediately told me she missed me and after sanitizing, I held her hand and told her that I've been praying for her and I've missed her too. I encouraged her to be strong and to make sure she'd be able to accompany me to walk and run around the hallways soon. Twenty-four hours later, her condition worsened, and she was intubated. I bumped into her older daughter, who told me about it and asked me if I could visit and talk to their mom again, because they felt like it would be her last hours and that their mom really liked having me around. So, I did. Even with a GCS of 3, I talked to her and told her how chubby I was getting, and she needed her eyes to see. Again, with my hand over hers, I told her that just like always, I was praying for her and her family every night. At that moment I knew I was there not only for her but for her family as well. A day later, she gave up the fight and rested in our father's arms. It was painful and it felt like I lost a new friend.
We shouldn't really be that emotionally involved with our patients, but most of the time, it is us who they find the most reliable during their most critical moments, to the point where you both unnecessarily get attached to each other. Before I met her, I have almost lost my happy and lighthearted self due to personal issues and the burnout of the work we have. Our patient-nurse relationship story has made me realized that no matter how hard it is to be a nurse, we always have to remember that most of the time we are more than just our patient's advocates, we have that gift to become their hope. Our simple smiles and our laughter with them could be that one big confidence booster they have been looking for and we should be generous enough to make sure we could give them that as they need it.
Ever since then, I promised to myself to always keep myself smiling and to always have a lighthearted service to all my patients, regardless of who they are, what they do, and especially no matter what I'm going through, making sure to set aside my personal needs to attend and render a wholehearted kind of service to my patients. I have decided to do my best to always be that beam of hope for better health and fast recovery. With my story, I could definitely quote some lines from Lydia Hall on her "Core, Care and Cure" theory, or maybe Hildegard Peplau with her "interpersonal relations theory" but I'd rather encourage you to look at yourself. Hopefully, this would remind my fellow nurses and healthcare providers around the world to keep that beautiful smile of theirs. Do not worry about the mask, the twinkle in our eyes will show for sure. Stay healthy heroes and God bless!