My mother was in the intensive care unit (ICU) in a vegetative state after a cardiac arrest. Her wish was to discontinue all lifesaving measures, but when I approached the physician with her advance directives he screamed that I was killing my mother. A nurse informed the physician that he would immediately remove himself from “her ICU” or she would call security. She was an angel in the midst of chaos and despair. I promised myself I would be just like her: I would protect my patients and families, and I would honor their wishes as she had done for me.

Everything! I love that each day brings a new promise of adventure, camaraderie, compassion, and miracles. I love that each patient is a challenge in a unique way. But I am happiest teaching nurses about the ICU and all its wonders.

A few years ago I cared for a...

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