Friday, April 14, 2017 6:07 PM

A love letter to heroic angels among us

Nursing isn’t a job for everyone. It’s certainly not for me. And, I’m convinced that emergency room nurses (and doctors) are heroic angels serving very special missions in life.
This week, our department received an anonymous and truly heartfelt letter written about the angels among us at Community Regional Medical Center’s emergency room. It depicts this employee’s deepest thoughts about the daily grind and emotional struggle emergency room personnel face when losing the fight to save a patient. It’s a beautifully written ‘love letter’ to his or her obviously fatigued peers offering comfort, understanding and compassion after a week of overwhelming tragedy felt in the emergency room. (Read it below. Caution: Grab some tissue.)
Hi.  I know you know me. I know you will never forget me. I know you are so sad for me. I know you have shed tears and had restless nights because of me. I know I may remind you of the frailty of life and see me when you look at your own children. I know you love me and that even though our time was short – you still do.
This is what I want you to know about me and my death:
I may or may not have known I was dying. I may or may not have suffered pain when I died. I may or may not have seen your face. My parents may have or may not have cared if I died. But now, those things are not important to me.
What is important is that you know how much I admire you for having the courage and the strength to help me. Many would not have been able to do that. You took me in your arms, gave me medicine, tried desperately to make my heart beat again. 
Well, in my case it didn’t work. But that is not your failure and I see only triumph in the way that you tried.  That is the most important thing to me. You saw me and you tried so very hard. You should be proud of what you did for someone you did not know even existed before I arrived at your hospital.
I won’t tell you not to cry. Every tear you shed has me in its reflection. I don’t want you to forget me. We have a bond that will never be broken. 
I will ask you to persevere. I want you to keep trying and keep doing the wonderful work that you do.  I want you to get help if you need it. I don’t want to be buried deep in your mind. I want you to remember me with the love you already showed me and keep me alive in that way.

Thank you My Angel. I love you too.

If you’ve ever spent time in an emergency room – whether as the patient or with a patient – I bet you learned a new appreciation for the unsung heroes. Their skills, abilities, and incredible strength and compassion amaze me every time our staff writers publish stories highlighting the difficult, but astounding work they do.

There’s nothing pretty or glamorous about the work performed in an emergency room – especially in a Level 1 trauma center like Community Regional. Throughout a single shift, countless tasks need to be completed that would turn the stomach of any but the most hardened individuals. The life and death nature of the work they perform creates a stress most of us will never fully comprehend.

It’s called “compassion fatigue” and it’s very real among caregivers – especially emergency room personnel, first responders, chaplains and cancer-care providers. It’s the process of providing empathetic support and personally experiencing the pain of their patients and their patients’ loved ones. I’m a sensitive person, so not only would I not be able to stomach what nurses and doctors do, I would emotionally attach to each patient and their loved ones. I’d cry with them and I’d worry about them. And, as my husband would tell you, I’d want to bring all the homeless and parentless or abused children home with me. I’d experience this compassion fatigue daily because I’m just not wired to do what they do. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m proud to work for Community and I’m proud of the display of love, care and compassion of this anonymous employee. 

As an employee, if you’d like to show your appreciation for our emergency room personnel or comment on this beautiful love letter, please go to the Workplace Discussions Board and comment under the Kudos post titled “To my Earth-Bound Angels in the Emergency Department.”  Also, depending on your site, you can send a Star Gram or CARE message to an individual you’d like to recognize. Go to the Forum home page and click on Recognize an employee/peer under the HR Links.

If you’re a Community staff member needing emotional support or counseling, please consider the following services available to you:

  1. Insight, Community’s Employee Assistance Program. Contact Insight at 559-226-7437 or 1-800-422-5322. Insight is a free, confidential counseling and referral service available to help you and your household members.
  2. Chaplain Services. Call 56490 or 56461 at CRMC or call 44463 at Clovis Community to set up an appointment to talk. 
Shannon Merritt, Sr. Internal Communications Specialist
Community Medical Center