Final Connection: An ICU Nurse Revises Her Feelings About Cell Phones

Illustration by Denny Bond. All rights reserved.

Illustration by Denny Bond. All rights reserved.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship to smartphones, and each person (and generation) draws the line in the sand between invasiveness and usefulness in a different place. Cynthia Stock, the critical care nurse who wrote the Reflections essay in the November issue of AJN, “Final Connection,” starts her brief and moving story with honesty about such matters:

On Monday, if you had asked me how I feel about cell phones, I would have come up with this: I hate to listen to the drone of conversation coming from the person next to me on the treadmill at the gym. I don’t care about trouble with the HOA. I don’t care about a son who can’t decide on a career as a director or an actor. I work out to smooth the kinks in my soul from a job that requires me to navigate a relationship with life and death.

Today, ask me how I feel about cell phones. . . .

A good essay or story often centers around a reversal of some sort. What the protagonist believed may not be so true after all, or may be more complicated than first thought. As you can probably guess, in the course of the essay the author finds that she must revise her opinion of cell phones. Time and the pressures of geographical distance are sometimes felt more urgently in the ICU.

But there’s more here than a simple lesson learned or change of heart. In the end, the essay may not really be about the meaning of technology so much as about family, nursing, human connection, and loss.

The essay is short, and can be read for free, so click here to read it in entirety.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

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


  1. […] Final Connection: An ICU Nurse Revises Her Feelings About Cell Phones […]

  2. Big Red Carpet Nurse November 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    We so often focus on the newness of things these days. New is often taken as synononomous with better (“new and improved!”). On the other hand, countless times in history we’ve wrung our hands about something new ruining humanity forever. At one point long ago it was the printed word (“These kids today, lazing about reading! It’s unhealthy…”), and today it’s screens. We’re still getting used to them and figuring out how tyo use them wisely, but I figure that human are, above all else, adaptable animals. We’ll sort it out in time. I focus more on what doesn’t change. People are essentially the same now as they were centuries ago: we have the same fundamental needs, especially for connection. I’m glad to see a story about a newish tool helping meet such timeless needs. Thanks!

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