As direct care nurses, we encounter patients throughout our careers who leave an indelible imprint on our lives.

Think back to all of the patients you have cared for during your nursing career. Some of them really stand out in your memory, don’t they? There was the young man with terminal cancer who was the same age as your son, the father of 2 growing boys who lost his limbs to pneumococcal sepsis, the mentally retarded 65-year-old, so sweet, yet all alone as a ward of the court, and the young Marine who, years after his severe illness, still visits to bring the staff cupcakes on the anniversary of his hospital discharge. The diagnoses varied, the drips we titrated changed, and the specifics of care have faded from memory. What remains is the imprint made upon us from sharing our lives, however briefly,...

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