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Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

Philips, Robin J. RN, BSN, PHN

doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000434555.86554.2d
Robin J

Robin J

Submissions are welcome from oncologists, oncology nurses, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to:, and include affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.

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A Nurse's Tear

I gaze down and realize you are surrounded by snow white sheets that are embracing you like the gentle wings of an angel

I turned and you were not there

Family and friends paralyzed by grief, wondering as the minutes pass, when it will be your time to leave

Each breath is cherished...

Each moment a memory

An avalanche of emotion fills the empty space in this sterile room

In the blink of an eye you are gone

I am honored to have listened to your dreams…



In those final precious days of your life empathy and hope exposed human fragility

We laughed, we cried, and we embraced

My soul experienced the essence of compassion and suffering

I am a nurse

Peace finally comes as a ray of sunshine breaks through the morning light

My tears gently cascade down to the tranquil wings of an angel that is now…you

ROBIN J. PHILIPS, RN, BSN, PHN, who works at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, writes that this poem was inspired by a young nurse who experienced the death of a newly diagnosed lung cancer patient:

“The poem was given to the family as a ‘gift from the heart,’ since the death was so sudden and so sad. The inexperienced nurse was affected by this tragedy, both professionally and personally. Oncology nursing is not an easy professional path, yet in many ways it brings one to the essence of what being a nurse is all about. I am also currently attending Vanguard University to obtain my MSN with the hopes of teaching the next generation of nurses.”

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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