“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully”. This is the beginning of The Florence Nightingale Pledge, one that many nurses undertake as they begin their path in healthcare. Among other nurses I took this pledge and began my career, but chose to do so a little differently through a year of service.
Being a nurse within the AVs has gifted me the opportunity to do the work of Jesus: healing. You are taught in school a variety of technical skills, how to communicate efficiently, the best ways to practice professionalism, and the mottos used in the healthcare system; but one thing that can never be taught is how to heal with your heart. I have always been passionate about the powers behind intentional healing and love, but did not recognize the way it transformed our clients.
This past week I was opening the clinic for our afternoon shift while a client approached, aching to talk to me. He spoke softly and with fear in his voice, but decided to wait a few minutes. Walking into the lobby a second time, he pulled me aside asking if we could talk now that he was ready. This client is one that I have built rapport with over the past eight months and who I have been blessed to learn about and learn from. Him and I have had many encounters, whether it be over the phone or in person and he has always been one of the clients that brightens my day while reminding me of why I love being a nurse.
On that day this client shared with me that he had been struggling greatly to maintain his sobriety and he was about to give up, in fact he had just come from the store after buying a bottle of alcohol. Sobriety is one of the various things we help with at our clinic and this particular client has been sober for eight months. He had been actively meeting with counselors, living in a sober house, and attending groups. My heart ached knowing that he was struggling and in pain. Within this conversation he told me that he felt called to walk by the clinic that afternoon. As we continued to talk he looked me in the eyes and said: “There is a reason I was supposed to be here and it’s because of you. I trust you and I am safe with you. Thank you for healing, Mija”. With these words he looked down at his bag and handed me the bottle of alcohol to dispose of. He had been victorious over the enemy.
Healing goes beyond treating the body for an illness, educating individuals, or providing direct care. Healing is about extending your heart to another and empowering them. Giving time and compassion while treating him with respect and dignity allowed for my client to feel healed that day. While I may not always see the outcomes or results of my work, I am forever filled with gratitude for the gift of healing. My clients may not know this, but they too heal me, for healing goes beyond the body. May love and grace be given to you in all your acts of healing.
San Diego, CA 2020-2021