A code blue was called on patient. As usual, it was announced via the hospital’s overhead paging system. Unfortunately, what was also heard was the patient’s daughter crying over the events that happened. It was described as a cry like no other, the kind that stops you in whatever moment you are in.
While the team was performing resuscitation measures, we had one of our ICU nurses trying to comfort the daughter, and explain what was happening. Shortly thereafter, Kathy arrived and began comforting the daughter, providing her undivided attention. The ICU nurse was then able to assist with the code. Kathy spoke to the daughter in a very calm manner. She came to pray with the family and help comfort this person behind the cry.
Initially we thought Kathy was part of the code team as Pastoral Care, since she was there before the pastor. Later when I spoke to Kathy it turned out that when she heard the cry overhead, she felt moved and had the need to come and comfort this person, this stranger.
Compassion can mean very different things in different situations, that awareness of seeing and helping the suffering. That night Kathy displayed the essence of caring. The fundamental principles that help describe nursing as not just a science but an art.