A Nurse So Cold

Al is weak, frail, and most important, scared. At 55 years of age, after 34 years providing care, she finds herself in a major medical center— on her back, staring at ceiling tiles. The woman who’s always had skin as pure as a china doll now ironically has a porcelain hip. She’s just 36 hours out from a total hip replacement, and she knows something is wrong. She feels her heart pounding, she can hear the beating in her ears, feel the pulsing on her pillow. She rings the call bell to ask for the nurse to check her. An hour comes and goes, and no one comes to her room.

That’s from the August Reflections essay, titled “Miss Orienting Nurse.” The author is Linda Pellico, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing, who tells of her chagrin at witnessing rote care provided to a hospitalized friend by a former student of hers. We hope you’ll read the essay and let us know your own experiences as a nurse or patient—or both. How many of us will someday have to rely on such cold and distant figures as the nurse and MD portrayed in this essay?-JM, senior editor

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2016-11-21T13:16:06+00:00 August 16th, 2010|career, nursing perspective, students|2 Comments

About the Author:

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Judy Demick August 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I was inspired to write about why every nurse should spend some time working for hospice or home care. I hope you have the time to read it and make a comment.

  2. Judy Demick August 17, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Now that you bring up the topic…I am a medical social worker and have spent some time in hospitals visiting my patients and the occasional family member. I never understood why it takes so long for a nurse to show up in your room when you press the call light. I have stood out at the nurse’s station and watched them. They are not dashing around. They don’t have 50 patients. Yes, there is paper work, but doesn’t the patient take priority? Staff at nursing homes are much busier than hospital staff in my opinion.

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