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Green, Cheryl

doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000555
Department: Poetic Expressions

Cheryl Green, PhD, RN, is an assistant professor at Southern Connecticut State University and an off-shift nurse leader at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The author declares no conflict of interest.



This poem was inspired by nurses who often, in silence, mourn the death of their patients. The unspoken emotional pain can take a toll, as nurses must move forward in the care of others with minimal time to mourn, and caretaking begins again. The fragility of life is what nurses witness daily.

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A 12-hour shift completed.

The struggle to stay awake.

The long drive home.

Tears form a small pool in the eyes

and are quickly wiped away.

Visions of a patient who was alive

just hours before.

The arrival home.

A shower in silence as emotional and

physical exhaustion of the day emerges.

A deep sigh with more tears.

Life is fragile. This reality of moments in time

gives honor to patients lost and

tribute to the nurses that care for them.


© 2019 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship