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Teachable Moment and Life Lesson

One afternoon last week, I visited a friend of mine who ended up in the hospital for a few days.

Jen and I were having a nice gab together, when a nurse came into the room and announced that it was time to put an IV needle in Jen’s hand. The nurse kindly explained that there was a nurse-in-training (NIT) who was having trouble administering IVs and asked Jen if the NIT could practice on her.

Now, I am a teacher BUT I hate needles so although I could clearly understand the benefit of practising on a willing volunteer, my dislike of needles would have won over my natural inclination to provide a teaching moment.  I would have immediately said, “No thank you” but Jen is a teacher AND a nurse so her response was, “She can try once but if she doesn’t get the needle in first time, that’s it – I want you to take over.”

In walked the NIT, whose body language did not communicate any level of confidence but Jen held out her arm and encouraged the NIT through the procedure. Suddenly, another nurse walked into the room and told the NIT that she was needed somewhere else. Right in the middle of the procedure, needle half way into Jen’s arm, the NIT let go of the IV, the first nurse took over and the NIT left the room.

Jen was perplexed at a number of levels.

  1. The needle was improperly placed in her arm and left there dangling.
  2. The second nurse should not have interrupted the procedure.There was no emergency and she could have waited a minute until the NIT was finished.
  3. The NIT did not apologize or say thank you for the opportunity to practice on Jen.

But most disturbingly, the priority was not patient care.

As a master teacher, an experienced nurse and an empathetic woman, Jen saw an opportunity to rectify the situation. She spoke to both the nurse and the NIT from the perspective of the patient and it was pure delight to witness the compassionate and wise words spoken. Despite the excuses and explanations given by the nurses, Jen didn’t back down from the conversation.

“Patient care was not the priority and the NIT didn’t persevere. These are important life lessons to be learned as a nurse and as a person.”

I sat quietly in the corner of the room and took it all in. I was reminded of what it meant to be “others-centred”, to persevere, to be compassionate and to learn from every experience God gives me.  Terry Wardle writes about the “All Things Plan of God” –  that God is present in every moment of life, ready to bring change to those who surrender to His purposes.

I don’t want to miss out on the teachable moments – none of them.

You are seeking God, dear sister, and he is everywhere. Everything proclaims him to you, everything reveals him to you, everything brings him to you. He is by your side, over you, around you, within you…you seek perfection and it lies in everything that happens to you – your suffering, your actions, your impulses are the mysteries under which God himself reveals himself to you.  Jean Pierre de Caussade







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