Intimate Strangers: A Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Reflects

By Lisa Dietrich for AJN.

“How do I talk about these things with a stranger unless I know how to be intimate?” asks pediatric intensive care nurse Hui-wen (Alina) Sato, the author of “Intimate Strangers,” the Reflections essay in AJN’s August issue.

Sato writes about “walking intimately . . . through the most devastating hours of her life” with a woman she’s only just met—even as her role as a nurse involves ending the life-sustaining treatments of this mother’s child.

Nurses will tell you such experiences can be common in their profession. But essays like this remind us that such experiences are also remarkable. Sato is the type of nurse who ponders her role, who stops after the fact to wonder what it means to be a participant at such moments in others’ lives.

Could she have been more honest, more present, more comforting, more . . . something? The essay stays close to the facts, both inner and outer, but is also reticent when reticence is called for, honoring the mother’s grief.

The essay is free. We also strongly recommend two recent blog posts by Hui-wen Sato, “How to Support the Nurse in Your Life” and “The Inner Stretch of Nursing.”

2017-08-04T10:51:54+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Nursing, nursing stories, patient engagement|0 Comments

About the Author:

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

Comments are moderated before approval, but always welcome.