And The Greatest of These is Love

Ashley - Bangor, Maine
Entered on November 3, 2008

I believe that every person should be cared for as if they are the most important person on earth. I believe that love should be the only emotion nurses bring into the healthcare setting. My faith in Jesus Christ inspired me to be a nurse because I want to be the arms of a loving God extended to the sick, hurting, and grieving. As a nurse, I will encounter people whom I may not like. One may be treating me disrespectfully, another may have abused a child, still another may have killed someone else. In those situations I must remember to show only love for that person. For no matter what I believe about him, it is more important that he receive the same love and grace I have received from God. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is John 15:13- “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” To me, this does not refer to physically dying for another person, but laying down one’s own needs and wants in order to serve another. In a hospital room, the patient is the most important person; my personal opinions and desires are secondary to caring for my patient. As a nurse and a Christian it is not my job to just meet the minimum needs of a patient, but I must show the love that Jesus showed when He gave His life for me.

Not all health care professionals share my faith, but a nurse should care for a patient as she would her own most important person. If we view each patient as though they are invaluable, how would our care change? Regardless of who a patient is or what they have done, they are invaluable. There never has been or never will be another person exactly like them. We will give the best care to someone we think is worthy of our best care. If we allow emotions other than love to cloud our judgment, we sacrifice the integrity of patient care. These emotions: anger, resentment, prejudice, fear and pride when directed at a patient, will change the way nurses provide care.

There is a frequently quoted section of scripture regarding love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 7- “Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable and keeps no record of wrongs. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures though every circumstance.” I believe that if I can show true love to the patients I care for then I will have fulfilled my duty as a nurse. I make the patient’s best interest my priority and while I am with that patient I lay down my needs in place of meeting his. It means that I make the conscious choice to forget what he may have done in the past and focus on how I can improve his future. If I love the patient, all other aspects of care will follow. Evidence-based care, holistic healthcare and advocacy will come naturally if I first love that patient with my whole heart and treat him as if he is the most important person on earth.