Nurses Respond

  1. What do you see?

    "What do you, nurses, what do you see?
    What are you thinking when looking at me?
    A crabby old woman, not very wise?
    Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes.

    Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
    when you say in a loud voice, 'I do wish you'd try;'
    that seems not to notice the things that you do,
    and forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

    Is that what you're thinking?
    Is that what you see?
    Then, open your eyes . . .
    you're not looking at me.

    I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
    as I do your bidding, as I eat (at) your will.
    I'm a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
    brothers and sisters who love one another.

    A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
    dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
    A bird soon at 20, my heart gives a leap,
    remembering the vows (that) I promised to keep.

    At 25 now, I have young of my own,
    who need me to build a secure, happy home.
    A woman of 30, my young . . . grows fast,
    bound to each other with ties that should last.

    At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
    but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
    At 50, more babies' play round my knee;
    again, we know children, my loved one and me.

    Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead.
    I look to the future, I shudder with dread.
    For my young are all rearing (the) young of their own,
    and I think of the years and the love I have known.

    I'm an old woman now, and nature is cruel.
    'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
    The body, it crumbles; grace and vigor depart.
    There (now is) a stone where I once had a heart.

    But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
    and now and again, my heart (truly) swells.
    I remember the joy, I remember the pain,
    and I'm loving and living life over again.

    I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,
    and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
    So, open your eyes, nurses, and see . . .
    Not a crabby old woman, look closer, see me."
    -Author Unknown-or-Is She-

    What Do We See?

    What do we see, you ask, what do we see?
    Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee!
    We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss,
    but there's many of you, and too few of us.

    We would like far more time to sit by you and talk,
    to bath you and feed you and help you to walk.
    To hear of your lives and the things you have done;
    your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.

    But time is against us, there's too much to do -
    Patients too many, and nurses too few.

    We grieve when we see you so sad and alone,
    with nobody near you, no friends of your own.
    We feel all your pain, and know of your fear;
    that nobody cares now your end is so near.

    But nurses are people with feelings as well,
    and when we're together you'll often hear tell,
    of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed,
    and the lovely old Dad, and the things that he said.

    We speak with compassion and love, and feel sad,
    when we think of your lives and the joy that you've had.
    When the time has arrived for you to depart,
    you leave us behind with an ache in our heart.

    When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care,
    there are others that need us, and we must be there.
    So please understand if we hurry and fuss -There are
    many of you, and too few of us.

    A Nurse
    Last edit by betts on Dec 3, '01
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   maggie7
    This poem was given to us in nsg school and I could never read it without tearing up. I've never seen the nurses' reply before and it, too makes my eyes water. After spending over a year at my new LTC facilty and feeling I really hadn't made much of a difference, one women said to me "I feel all warm inside when I see you." And I know I did. Lovely reply. Sums it all up. Thanks!
  4. by   Hidi74
  5. by   BMS4
    Thank you.
  6. by   CMERN
  7. by   jevans

    Thank you
  8. by   ShandyLynnRN
    That was great! Thanks!
  9. by   karenG
    seen the poem before but not the nurses reply- great to see that. and as always the poem affected me!!! think I must really be marshmallow inside!

  10. by   PennyLane
    There have been other touching poems or sentiments posted on this site, but I can truly say that this one gave me goosebumps all over and brought tears to my eyes (probably b/c it wasn't the least bit religious). Thank you for posting that lovely poem.
  11. by   Zee_RN
    Wow. I rarely read poems too. Most are incredibly sappy. But this one hits home. Thanks.