Sometimes another human can put words into form that capture your own feelings and views better than you can articulate yourself. Connor Bond (@Trauma_Mouse), Scottish Emergency and Critical Care nurse working in central London did just that with his poem “I See You, Nurse”. Connor shared this on stage at DAS SMACC in Berlin after winning the SMACCSLAM poetry/spoken word competition. Although I’d heard Connor’s poem when judging the competition, I was floored when sitting behind him, watching and listening as he stepped to the centre of the round stage in the middle of the Tempodrom. This will be released via the SMACC podcast in due course, but for whatever reasons personal or otherwise, I feel like a lot of us could do to hear this now. Over to Connor…
“After moving from the North of Scotland two years ago, I’ve worked between an emergency department and critical care in central London. Nursing on the frontline in a capital city can present it’s own unique issues, but I truly believe that we canall find ourselves facing challenges derived from our health systems, patients or upon reflection internally.
I often find myself uncomfortable when adorned with the title of “Saint” or “Angel”; I do feel that this is my vocation, but I hardly float around my ICU with a halo in situ! As nurses we are incremental to the holistic patient experience and often responsible for interventions that will drastically improve outcomes – I shall always remain proud of that.” Connor Bond
I See You, Nurse
Remind me, why do I do this?
Why I chase the rush
of chaos, of drama
of resus & trauma
Why I’ve held distraught mothers
Cared for fathers
and leant by the bedside to explain to brothers,
why their sister simply won’t wake up after
I switch off infusions
and call out after her.
On the surface I’ll hold steady,
dry and stern
but I crack on the underground home.
I hold thankless floodgates in my hands
Staying strong for
another family looking to be shown
Improvement in those lines and trends that I’ll struggle to decipher to a devastated mother, who wants her baby home.
But we’ll still push and still go
Stretching resources, and ourselves.
I’m doubled with patients,
double strength pressors,
double shot espresso for that fourth night in a row.
And then the ward round comes
and I ask myself
have I done enough?
are these lines labelled, is my bedside straight?
but can we be too tough,
on one another
They call nurses “Angels”,
but my wings are long singed
from holding too tight to Dear Nightingale’s lamp,
but I carry on because I will it,
and because i can,
Because I’ve seen eyes open after weeks without sedation,
while family rallies behind a young man with such determination
as he takes his first steps for the second time in his life.
We are not Saints
We are not Angels
I will never cause miracles at handover
But I’ll give them my mind,
until my best is enough, no more.