Not a Nurse but Her Mother Was, and Now It Really Matters


Illustration by Lisa Dietrich for AJN

The loss of Emily Cappo’s mother, a competent and supportive parent and an accomplished nurse, leaves an enormous gap in her daughter’s life. Then her own son gets sick.

Cappo writes about these events in “I’m Not a Nurse, But My Mother Was,” the Reflections essay in the June issue of AJN.

Without her mother to turn to for help and guidance, Cappo has no idea how she’ll handle the situation. “There I was,” she writes,

the nonmedical person in my family, the person who hated blood and needles, being thrown into a situation demanding courage, stamina, and role modeling.

But we rise to the situation that presents itself, if the stakes are high enough. Cappo discovers what many nurses already know: the nurses who care for her son make all the difference in his care, and provide her with essential support as well.

In the course of her time caring for her son’s illness, Cappo reconnects with her mother’s memory—and her mother’s strength—in an unexpected way.

Click here to read the essay, which is free.

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

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