This is the Hindu goddess, Durga. Look at all those arms. This goddess gives a whole new dimension to the term “multitask.” According to Wikipedia, Durga is the embodiment of feminine and creative energy. I think she’d make a great nurse. She rides everywhere on her lion, so her legs would never get tired, and she’s apparently very good at fighting demons. I’d like to see someone from hospital administration try bullying her into accepting an unsafe patient care unit. She’s my kind of deity.

I could have used some of Durga’s energy today. I’m so tired after working my weekend shifts. I was surfing the web this morning at my favorite Panera Bread coffee shop when a very handsome, well-dressed, young man walked up to my table and struck up a conversation with me about my Mac computer. He was charming. If I were thirty years younger, I would have thought he was hitting on me, but since he was young enough to be my son, I wondered what he really wanted. I knew this kid wasn’t going to ask me for my phone number. After spending a few minutes talking about why everyone in the world should own a Mac, he said he wanted to give me a small gift. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a DVD about his faith, and he asked me if I believe in God.

Almost everyone that I know who works in the health care field believes in a Higher Power, but they don’t talk about their religious views at work. My nursing instructors taught me that it is taboo to talk about religion, especially with my patients. Then one day I saw a surgeon kneeling by a patient’s bedside because his patient had asked him to pray with her. She told him that she was about to die. The doctor was praying and holding her hand when she slipped away from earth and entered into heaven.

I was given a copy of “The Nurses’ Pray” at my capping ceremony many years ago that asked God to provide nurses with the strength to work as subservient handmaidens. Ok, it didn’t exactly say it in those words, but it implied that nurses must meekly follow the doctor’s orders without question, and perform backbreaking labor because God said so. The prayer is outdated, so I’ve taken the liberty of updating the prayer.

The New Nurses’ Prayer

“Dear God, please get me through this shift in one piece, and keep my patients safe. Please don’t let this be the day that I make a mistake that costs one of my patients their life. Protect me from physical blows delivered by violent, unruly patients and their marauding family members who demand services that the hospital cannot or will not provide. Allow me to give good patient care because it is the right thing to do. Help me keep my sense of humor while I stand in the midst of chaos, and please keep my mind focused and sharp so I can get through another grueling shift. Please forgive me for all of the swear words I utter under my breath at work, and I humbly ask that you provide a legion of new nurses for the profession so I can retire soon.”

Amen.

I’m convinced that the only thing that keeps me in nursing is divine intervention.