Poetry Portal

Below you will find poems shared by nurses and midwives around the world. These poems offer support and an insight into the lived experiences of health workers as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The cities are silent, quiet, lonely, you don’t hear the birds, you don’t see the pigeons, it seems that there is no life, but right now in all health centers you are empowering and fighting more than ever for life.

In silence, the fear of spreading floats, the responsibility to not spread grows, we do not see it but it is there, it is called COVID 19, looking face to face to professionals, the rest of professions and the general population.

My companions, the nurse heroes together with the team, every day they will work with invisible shields called, technical capacity, help others, emotional box, all heroes put their values of humanity before for humanity By invisible combating them a superior transvestite that fills them with a power called “working for others”.

Their tension overflows when they get the healing of their patients, joy bursts! and in others less euphoric, they roll for  their tears  the tears of that joy, these heroes are called professionals of a health organization that, to produce health for the whole society and support in the salvation of lives.

Las ciudades están en silencio, tranquilas, solitarias, no se oyen ni los pájaros, ni se ven las palomas, parece que no hay vida, pero en estos momentos en todos los centros sanitarios se es potenciando y luchando más que nunca por la vida.

En el silencio, flota el miedo a contagiarse, crece la responsabilidad de no contagiar, no lo vemos pero está allí, se llama COVID 19, mirando cara a cara a los profesionales, al resto de profesiones y a la población en general.

Mis compañeras, las enfermeras héroes junto con el equipo, cada día van a trabajar con unos escudos invisibles llamados, capacidad técnica técnica, ayuda a los demás, caja emocional, todos los héroes anteponen sus valores de humanidad para para para humanidad Al invisible combatir les una travesti superior que les llena de un poder llamado “trabajar por el prójimo”.

Su tensión tensión se desborda cuando consiguen la curación de sus pacientes, ¡estalla la alegría!, y en otros menos eufóricos, ruedan por suss las lágrimas de esa alegría, estos héroes se llaman profesionales de una organización sanitaria que, producir salud para toda la sociedad y apoyo en la salvación de vidas.

March 27, 2020


All humans are related

Stay away from me

March 28, 2020

Sun lights up the room

our world is ever changing

while we stay in place

March 29

redwing blackbird song

crawdad waves a warning claw

my mind full of sky

March 30

connected online

people, places, music, love

the art of distance

March 31

a new creation

rides like pollen on the air

fertile, dangerous

April 1, 2020

the day of the fool

innocent, grinning, wide open

go ahead trick me

April 2

the disappointment

of missing your vacation

is a small grief too

April 3

slowing down, breathing

a change from the work schedule

it took a crisis

April 4

one way up the aisle

tired eyes over each mask

this is our outing

April 5

up early again

worried thoughts run on a loop

paused by the sunrise

April 6

blue heron, startled

flees the shelter of the cove

replaced by silent white sails

April 7

new curtains are hung.

glare gone, the TV brightens

our window to life

April 8

modern mastodons

drop, then lift their massive heads

their low song wakes me

april 9

life is unfolding

in a perfect way today

says the zen website

april 10

end of vacation

we have seen the sights of home

over and over

April 11

good to see her face

smiling at me from the screen

erasing distance

April 12

as the rain comes down

I think of my granddaughter

and her purple skates

April 13

the sun sends its love

open the envelope now

your heart is inside

April 14

heat. cold. rain. sun. wind.

the day brings what it will bring.

this is the lesson.

April 15

tax day is delayed

as the other certainty

skulks near the doorstep

April 16


April 17

it’s so cold and gray

as though winter has returned

seek your inner light

April 18

raucous crows gossip

smaller birds sing two-note songs

both are sweet to me

April 19

my mind is a blank

where is my inspiration

gone with the virus

April 20

diamonds in the grass

each reflects the clean blue sky

since the rain stopped by

April 21

our feet move forward

will we find the shining path

now the smog has gone?

April 22, 2020

today is Earth Day

fifty years of pretending

we know what is best

April 23

go for a walk now.

can you feel the earth turning?

a new day is here.

April 24

you are here, living.

the green grass awakens you,

the sky is your breath.

Bonus birthday haiku

this birthday is crap

I know I should feel grateful

but where’s my damn cake?

April 26

take this great silence

settle into it each day

see what will happen

April 27

squirrels comb through grass

a woodpecker comes to call

our small patch of wild

April 28

the moon smiled last night.

stars were winking and flirting

a night sky in love.

April 29

there is a blue sky

hidden behind the dark cloud

if I clear my mind

april 30

five yellow finches

posing as dandelions

surprised me today

May 1

the word is furlough

sounding so much like fallow

will it be the same?

May 2

Bees are on the move

Their drone is industrial

A new home is work

May 3

Give me red, purple,

The joyful shout of orange

I paint with flowers

May 4, 2020

Monsoon conditions

Blustery wind, pounding rain

they reflect my mood

May 5


May 6, 2020

what is it to heal?

listen and look for the wound

it may be hidden.

Our dear Florence Nightingale,

To influence the course of  history and health-social trends, you need to be really strong. Being strong means being a NURSE! And time behind us has shown that only with a strong desire and brave spirit can achieve the values that we consider to be a real human need, how the world would look more humane, more grateful, filled with love and happiness for as many people as possible. And the most often bearers of the progressive ideas that bring humanity are we – the nurses, who with our love for the profession and the daily acts of humanity we do, are deeply engraved in what is called the past, the present and our eternal future!

This year, on May 12, we were supposed to celebrate your 200th birthday with dignity. This 2020, which is dedicated to us nurses and midwives, is undoubtedly OUR year. A year that was supposed to start very differently … Unfortunately, we are in an unprecedented period of time marked by anxiety, a period that many call the “War with the Invisible Enemy.” Just as you excelled in your work as the leader of the nursing and fought during the Crimean War, where you tirelessly cared for wounded soldiers, so today we are – your offspring – we are the heroes who many seek. It’s not easy really, to be the “Lady with the Lamp” and fight for another day, and for another, and another  …

At this moment, I would like to convey to you the selfless sacrifice of your collegium of nurses who are on the front lines of danger, when everyone else retreats to the safety of their homes. This was supposed to be a wonderful start to this year, this was not a battle we signed up for, but no matter what we took up arms and we fight. We have chosen selflessness to care for all those who have been, all those who are still and those who can be infected with this virus, even though the very act of caring can endanger us, ourselves or our families.

As the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has spread in recent months, it is increasingly felt that time is at a standstill. Our profession has long been accused of being noble, since the time when you were an example of compassion and commitment. That is why we now have the enormous privilege of carrying the burden of preserving human dignity every day amid uncertainty, and to be part of the moments of vulnerability to “flattening the curve” requires a special kind of selflessness and strength. We have learned from you the ability to be a humane and compassionate person, as well as the common will to create a more beautiful world. With the power we have we influence, we change and save lives every day, we strive for the health for all and we provide the necessary care that patients need, because WE are the Voice that leads, because we play a key role in providing health care.

Yes, our dear Florence … And one day when all this will ends, only then will we be able to look at all the emotional and physical scars of this battle. Do you know that there are no mistakes or coincidences? Maybe all what is happening to us now is just an opportunity to learn something new or this year “accidentally” was chosen for our?!” I learned that you don’t have to compare yourself to the best others. You have to walk for a long time until you get tired. Heroes are people who do what needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. Only in that way you will discover what you are and what you have! Heroes are all nurses and midwives from around the world who work for hours of the day and night no matter where they are, whether it is an ambulance, a hospital, a clinic, an emergency, nursing homes, etc …

For me, heroes are all those who have spent long sleepless nights away from their loved ones. For me, the hero is a colleague who had to leave her three minor childrens to take care of themself, while her husband, who tested positive for coronavirus, struggled in a hospital setting, while she was forced to be in self-isolation instead of being at work and together to fight.. For me, heroes are those colleagues who spent the nights in hospital rooms and corridors, for me heroes are those who secretly cried hiding from their families and childrens, all that with the fear that they would put them at some risk. For me, heroes are all those who in every cell in their body have so much faith and strength to help the whole world. You know, in this whole battle I’ve learned that the greatest source of happiness is to help and be benefit for others, the best medicine-optimism, and the most successful defense-smile.

These are the moments when we feel we want to give up. But we keep fighting! Maybe now we’re just wondering “why and when this will be over?!” Maybe these are the days when people are trying to test our intelligence, skills, knowledge and the duty to be where we need to be. There are times when we re-examine our abilities, our awareness and consciences and intellect, but we can still rise above it all. We’ll rise up because our strength as a nurse is not determined by just one level or one task or obligation – it is an unstoppable journey towards learning, honor and the chance to make even the slightest difference in the lives of our patients at this time. And while everyone around us is at their homes, only we and our colleagues continue on the path of this battle. This is OUR year! This is OUR International Nurses Week! This is OUR moment! Today is our day, and tomorrow too! We are proud of our call for help. Dear Florence, I know that you see all this from somewhere and I hope you are proud of … US !!..


With endless respect

Elizabeta Nasteska

(FOR US – Association of Nurses, midwives and dental nurses)

This Covid thing it came along And shocked us to the core.

The world was hit so very hard The emotions were so raw.

We heard so much of death and grief, The economy lost pace.

Our friends we could not see at all On screen we saw their face.

The sun shone on and nature thrived But the world was full of grief.

Amazing people did their best, Captain Tom restored belief.

Out of this flowered our Ward 2 A way to do our bit.

The hospital would need our help When it really took the hit.

The teams were asked if they could help And the response was just so fab.

The management sent out a task And volunteers did grab.

It seemed that things were slow to start, Then patients came ad hoc.

The change of how we do our work Has come as quite a shock!

For me the years are 18 plus, Since working on a ward.

So getting my head around it all Has got me pretty floored!

Drug rounds should be a piece of cake, We talk meds all day long.

But checking drugs and locking doors Could we get it wrong?

Commodes and wee and smelly poo, Type 1, or 3 or 6?

It really is a learning curve, But muscle memory sticks.

Lates and Earlies, Nights as well, With PPE to wear.

It really is an alien world I’m in a dream I swear.

The Medics and the IPU Are pressured plus plus plus,

But never do they make us feel Our worries are a fuss.

Despite all this I’m so aware Of my colleagues on the road

To try and do the job so well Is an increasing weary load.

The therapists are there as well And with us all the way.

The Welfare Team and CCC Keep the craziness at bay.

Those carers out there doing nights And those who plan their shifts,

Are keeping what we do so well To give a needed lift.

Our managers have tried so hard To keep us in the loop

The hours they’ve worked, the things they’ve done Have helped the teams regroup.

Our FST are there to talk And really are so kind.

It’s great to know they’re here to help Body, soul and mind.

Many other teams in house Are spending so much time

At keeping business on the go Their efforts are so fine.

If you feel I have forgotten you Rest assured I’ve not.

Every single one of you Is adding to the pot.

So hang in there you lovely team This horrid time will go.

The joy and fun will come again. For that we surely know.

For those who’ve lost and felt the grief We will not forget your pain

But be assured those ones you love Their memories will remain.

Hazel Parsons 26 April 2020

In the Times of Pandemic

When fear is present everywhere

Where fear is seen in eyes of everyone

There is someone who forgot the word fear

That someone is called Corona Warrior

Nurse is the frontline Corona Warrior

Lead by example to all health workers

Smile to the patient, killed the virus

Affection to the patient, build the humanity

Care to the patient, won the hearts

Mental health Nurses assured of decreasing anxiety,

Prepared community to help each other,

Helped to rehabilitate community easily,

Avoided Post pandemic syndrome.

2020 Year of Nurse and Midwife

Government and Policymakers to Invest in Nursing Leadership.

Nurses Colloborate each other all over the world.

Nursing now is the motivator for all.

Kuruva Mallikarjuna, Staff Nurse, ESIC Model Hospital, Noida, India

With excitement and awe twenty-twenty came in with a roar

The year of the nurse and midwife was hitting our Australian shore

As nurses we planned world-wide celebrations for Florence and so much more

With hearts and minds united we are set to soar.


In January WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International concern

As nurses we know that Florence was right, infection control will help with this fight

We can’t be complacent, we must strengthen our might

With hearts and minds united we are set to soar.


In February its official, it’s now called COVID-19

All governments are responding to help reduce the spread of this disease

Sneeze into your elbow, wash hands to a song, keeping your distance let’s hope it’s not for too long

With hearts and minds united we are set to soar.


In March the numbers are growing perhaps there is more to learn

Frontline nursing in the hospital or treating patients at home, we are all in this together or so the song goes

We need to be protected so please make sure we have PPE too and eradicate our woes so we can look after you

With hearts and minds united we are set to soar.


In April in Australia there’s talk of a flattening curve

It’s Easter but please, please stay at home and hold your nerve

None of us want to see a rising curve

With hearts and minds united we are set to soar.


In May all Nurses and Midwives have International celebrations and I hope for a flattening curve

But most of all that our nurses and midwives are acknowledged for their verve

It’s not just about the pandemic it’s what we do every day and no more than we deserve today on our special day.

With hearts and minds united we are set to soar.


Yvonne Mckinlay FACN 11th April 2020

Brings in the world a new life

Cheers herself seeing the smiles

Dressed in white, she’s angle in life

She’s your nurse midwife.

Closes the eyes of people

Consoles the one in misery

Dressed in white, she’s godsend in life

She’s your nurse midwife.

She’s patient with patients who are impatient

Strong enough to handle everything

Soft enough to understand everyone

Silent enough to listen all

Serve enough to save lives

Dressed in white, she’s boon in life

She’s your nurse midwife.

Be it the work

inside four walls, Or out on a vast land

From children to elders

From layman to warriors

From destitute to affluent

For family, neighbors, society and nation

She devotes her life for betterment of humanity

Selflessly she works to promote the health & prevent the diseases

Assists in treatment and rehabilitation

Intelligent by brain, & kind by heart

Confident in her actions, & adhered to morals

Honestly she sows a seed of hope in patients

punctual as the sun and disciplined as sun-flower

Alert in emergency and disasters

Tirelessly works over duty hours

Without expectation has a huge acceptance

Dressed in white, she’s divine in life

She’s your nurse midwife .

Instructor, educator, researcher, practitioner, leader, advocate, collaborator, motivator

What not can she be

Dressed in white , she’s fortune in life

To make heaven on earth

She’s your nurse midwife.

Dressed in white she brings colors in others lives

She’s your nurse midwife.

Today we learnt the word ‘quarantine’

Apparently there’s a virus in Asia; something-19

It’ll probably come and go

Like springs last snow

But just in case, I’ll practice my hand hygiene

I see the virus is starting to get closer

Italy and France taking the brunt of the exposure

But then it hit

We knew this was it

Now more than ever we need a nurses composure

Now we are here, streets abandoned, silence fills the air

We have done all we can, yet still face despair

With no PPE

Nor exit strategy

As nurses we must shine, to help the world with our compassion and care

Oh Dear Nurse,

How much I thank you,

For all your kindness, that never know by people of mindless,

For all your cheers, get me rid from fear

For all your care, No one ever dare

For all your bear, you never ever share,

Your deed is treasured that has always been unmeasured

A nurse’s life comprises of plenty of sacrifices,

Your care adore that makes my health restore,

Your touch makes my wound heal, that is your deal

Oh Dear Nightingale, I salute you forever, because you are saviour.

When I understand that this other person has the same needs that I could have if I lived his situation when I see his face and see in him his fears, the same ones that I could feel when I was sick or when my son was. I needed someone, someone who would not only talk to me about rules and schedules, about diagnoses, prognoses, and treatments, about how bad I was. Someone who would tell me, “I will be here for you,” who would understand my doubts, respect my space, my times, and my loneliness, everything would be better. If that someone can be me, then I don’t have to wait for the demand of the other, I know and am entirely sure of what I must do to help you. My responsibility as a nurse goes beyond what he expects from me as a nurse.

My attitude towards the other must be one of dedication, openness where trust, help, and well-being for him is what he needs to move forward. By taking care of the other, he and I grow, develop, and are not alone, neither he nor I.

His destiny counts.

I have to accompany him even in that short space of time in which, as human beings, we are most vulnerable and in which I can find my meaning.

A poem on the occasion of International Nurses’ Day 2020 By Dr Unmona Borgohain Saikia.RNRM

Ph.D M.Sc.N (CVTS), PGDHHM, M.Sc ( Psy & Councelling)

Assam India


My feelings today,

The Universe is stopped, is it True!!

But, time is taking its own motion, Day and Night without any pause..

But I feel everything stopped, I can’t hear any noise,

Even I can’t hear my own voice.

  I can hear from far song of Death ,

I can also hear some invisible whispering me ….don’t come out of your cell,

And to forget the luxury of life.

Just count your breath in and out..in and out..

Oh No I can’t stay like this ,

I need to wakeup people around me,

 Need to teach them how to  live ..

There is a bad dream ..

There is a war  ..a group of soldiers in white dress fighting with invisible enemy,

Oh No ; how strong it can be ,

I am helpless , don’t touch me I am in war suit ,but hardly I can breathe,

Still I will try till my final twitch,

Because I am a Nurse , Nursing the world and healing the Humanity  .

Help me, help me, hold me tight and I must Fight.



Nos vestiremos con alma de hormigón y acero
y ojos insolentes,
como esas ventanas que,
con perpetua terquedad,
sólo pueden mirar de frente al mar.

“De repente”

De repente hemos descubierto
que podemos abrazar y
tapado el aliento, los labios, el pelo..
y sólo
mirando a los ojos.

Hemos aprendido un lenguaje nuevo
que no contiene palabras
ni sabe de ortografía ni acentos ni comete faltas
Un lenguaje que se escribe
cuando te cruzas por los pasillos
y crees firmemente que todo irá bien.

Porque también supimos que nadie hace mala letra cuando las manos no cuentan, pero suman mucho, y nunca aprendieron a restar…

Hemos descubierto que somos invencibles
cuando somos partes pequeñas de algo muy grande.
Tal vez eslabones inciertos, a veces acero, otrora arena de colores que no hay océano que no quiera abordar para decirle bajito que envidia retirarse cuando baja la marea y naufraga el ánimo.

Aprendimos estos días a anudar los cordones de unas zapatillas que no corren, pero nos sostienen, nos sujetan a un suelo con fronteras, a un duelo al amanecer entre nuestros pasos y un sendero hecho con astillas de silencio y cinta aislante.

En este invierno nos hemos apropiado de las miradas ajenas
llenas de parpadeos y miedos
de llantos por dentro
porque por fuera, dicen, somos héroes.

Yo no he visto capas en mi vestuario
pero sí muchas cicatrices de las que uno se tarda en curar
De las que no salen con doble de lágrimas
como cuando necesitas abrazos y sólo tienes recuerdos
Y palabras viejas
y un café compartido en la salita de nuestra cárcel sin barrotes
ni dos segundos de descanso
ni más de tres cucharadas de ayer.

Hemos aprendido que tenemos el mar muy cerca de la piel, aunque no podamos pisarlo
Y también que las calles son obligados desiertos
Y nuestra casa un castillo con gigantes de medio metro que nos abrazan las rodillas que nos negamos a doblar.

Hemos descubierto
borbotones de nostalgia cuando leemos de reojo un calendario sin lunes ni festivos
que perdió semanas, pólvora y primavera
y alquiló un pedazo de futuro
entre tus pulmones y mis pestañas.

Plou dins de mi

(catalonian language)


en la fusta d’una porta vella

en el pany I cadenat d’un joc que hem oblidat com jugar.

És tramuntana que xiuxiueja entre llençols de gelor I oblit.

I el rovell immisericorde

cau vora els meus dits

fent senill I bolquers

i manta de sorra i sal fina

en cada finestra que òbric quan tremola la teua pell

quan mors

quan ja no batega el calendari

quan vols que diga adeu

quan hi ha silenci i malsons

a poc a poc, fent parèntesi infinit,

el meu cor mor


és mort.

Kudos to World Health Organization and International council of Nurses to address such a relevant issue in current context.

What force is keeping Nursing from achieving what is its desired goal?

Is it Lack of Leadership/Lack of clear Vision/ Lack of Initiative?

The Most reputable profession is now a days fighting or searching for dignity and needs upliftment.

Nurses stand Shoulder to Shoulder with doctors saving lives but are much underpaid and underrepresented.

We need to change the way people look at us now or it will be never.

The onus of betterment in nursing standards lies with the nursing council itself.

The Nursing Now Campaigns focus give core areas related to leadership, research, recruitment, best practice and greater investment is a good step forward.

All Nursing staff should take it by heart to note hard and bring laurels to this noble profession.

Nursing care begins the moment patient enters the hospital and goes on till the date of discharge.

Nursing team is the closest contact of patients in the hospital and get attached to patients life mentally as well.

Using progressive steps at every step and adding the most in patient care will make the difference.

Detailed education and intensive training will also take the profession one step ahead.

Last but not least, supportive guidance from doctor community to make way through years of inertia in nursing practices is required as well.


A Hope beyond Hope,

held the Lamp of Knowledge with

caring watchfulness.

With greedy dreams and mighty deeds, men asserted

He rejoiced and conquered his only world.

Came a stranger named CORONA, and deserted

the life so precious without any word.

Death trolled with no cast and creed

schools and shops closed, traffic freezed.

But the nature breathed its fresh air

As the lockdown forced people for selfcare.

“Stay home and stay safe”

Pleaded the frontline warriors.

By wearing a mask and washing our hands

Let’s stop being a virus carrier.

Fearless men are clueless now

Need a cure but don’t know how?

No vaccine nor medicine, all living in pain

Only I and you can break this virus chain.

Tribute to Heroes, we take off our hats!

For all your priceless time to act.

Pledge together to do the right

Pray united to win this big fight!!

Distance between us

A contagion of fear

Masked, we gaze

I into deepest pools of

India, tear drenched

Locked down

Encircled darkly

Our pain spills

The fragile veil falls

as warmth grows

between us

Our shared beginning

One enduring moment

One humanity.

I wait for the light

I wait for the warmth

I wait for the life

Too much strife

Too much pain

Too much death

Go away, be gone

You killer of our people

You killer of our life

Be gone.

Your presence in this place,

Our caring place,

Brings about intense collective warmth.

An energy that thrives on.

Compassion, love and acceptance,

Bringing us together,

Our sisterhood,

Our brotherhood,

Our fellowship with humanity.

On this eve of International Nurses Day in 2020, the WHO Year of the Nurse and Midwife, for many of us this time is the greatest challenge in our Nursing careers. It is the reason we went into Nursing: to care for those in need, it is what we are trained to do: adapt to any situation which needs our skills and resilience and it ignites the passion we all have as Nurses. If you ask anyone “what does a Nurse do?”, they will tell you “they care for people”. I have written this poem as a small tribute to every Nurse: my colleagues, my friends and the amazing Nurses who have shaped me as a person. I would also like to acknowledge all those who support us, family, friends, doctors, environmental staff, porters, food service staff, paramedical staff, admin staff and everyone who has touched our lives – Thank You.

What does it mean to care?

When we say that we care,

It means we will always be there,

No matter where – is there,

Where needed, anytime, we are everywhere.

Every day, every life we try to save,

Each very precious, from the cradle to the grave.

To provide exceptional care, is what we crave,

But when things don’t work out, we learn how to be brave.

This pandemic virus is multiplying,

The world is still, we are no longer flying.

Do you really need all those things you are buying?

As we sit and comfort those who are dying.

Right now we are putting our lives on the line,

Nurses are dying – one a friend of mine.

With time I know, all will be fine,

Right now though, caring and death are intertwined.

We leave at home our family and friends,

And often stay later than when our shift ends,

When emergencies happen and chaos descends,

We are the ones on whom you depend.

We go to work when you are at home,

Spending time with your loved ones, or on your phone.

So respect what you have and love what you own,

For all too soon are lives will be gone.

We often don’t see if there is sun, snow or rain,

All we are focussed on is taking away your pain;

Don’t let our precious time be in vain,

Take care of each other and be kind again.

Sometimes our patients are connected to machines,

We work so the ventilator settings can be weaned;

Underneath, each individual will always be seen,

Our goal is to restore your health that once has been.

We are there, day and night, every breath that you take,

When you are asleep and whenever you wake.

When you get out of bed, the first steps that you make,

We will always be there, we will never forsake.

When we say that “we care”, I hope you can see,

We dedicate our time so you can all be free

To make the most of your lives, that is the key.

We will NEVER stop caring, I hope you agree.

Nursing began with Florence Nightingale

Letting the environment influence the healing of the wounded soldiers

Nursing continued by nun sisters and others attending the calling

Trained by doctors to help them in the caring

Nursing progressed to following Nursing theories, principles and the Nursing process

Moving from hospital trainings to universities

Learning nursing procedures, models and concepts of caring

Three or four years in the making

Grooming, polishing the talk and the walk????

Learning to listen, empathise to predict and diagnose-

The Nursing diagnosis.

On which to base the plan and decide the implementations

Of the nurse’s own plan

Incorporating the medical treatments and recommendations

Carrying out the care with intelligent decision making

Hardly the common concept of a hand maiden!

To spend four years in the making….

Seems foolish if to be an errand boy or girl!

Remember we have our own agenda, the Nursing Care Plan.

Let’s carry it out the way we learnt

Not merely doing adhoc tasks

Lets remember our unique role

That no one else can fill

A cure is the end result-

What about the process if it doesnt involve caring?

The essence of nursing.

For the patient, every moment could be a struggle or agony

If not for gentleness, kindness, caring and empathy!


Happy Nurses’ Day


12th May 2020

I stand behind my cannulation trolley with knowledge and skill, with hope to not be sorry

I don’t want to miss

And cause you pain,

These veins you see are rolling and collapsing to my disdain

Resilience and belief, you can try a second time, just Back yourself

But, miss again and strike your out

I feel every cut,

I see every bruise

I know your hope,

I know your stress

I hear the strain in your voice, the nervous humour that strives to conquer your fear,

I work my chatty style so you know

I am here

I see your vulnerability,

I  feel your tiny beads of sweat

I hear your pain

I may be on the other side of the trolley, but many years ago i was in that chair like you.

I never stop caring

I never stop giving and never stop


My neighbour died today

Under my care

Under my wing

Saw his picture in the paper

Page 39, they said it was peaceful

I didn’t know

I couldn’t know

I wasn’t there

Did they need me

Did they need something

Were they ok

Did they know I cared

Did they know I wanted to show them I cared

But I couldn’t

Where was I

Putting numbers into boxes

Ticking this and crossing that

Measuring every hour, minute and second

To make sure we don’t care too much

2 by 10 and out in 4

And you must reach eighty five percent

Or suffer a sharp tongue

Caring is not measured or reported or ticked

Caring cannot be put into boxes

Yet this is why I came

This is who I am

My neighbour died today

And I did not know

I could not know, I wasn’t there

Where was I

2 by 10 and out in 4

You must reach eighty five percent

I guess I am doing a good job

The words in Italics are Shona, language from Zimbabwe where the land was ravaged by AIDS and HIV.

“What’s that noise?” “Can’t they be quiet?”

The wailing goes on.

“Don’t they know it’s a hospital?”

Of course they do.

The mournful cries go on.

I feel like shouting, “Can’t they shut up? We’re trying to concentrate.”

I’m told someone’s died.

“Oh”, and after a guilty pause, I ask, “What another one?”

“You know how it is.”

The wailing goes on, louder as more mourners join in.

Must they cry so loud?

My back aches, my mind drifts.

The press is quiet, the radio is quiet.

The schools, the church, the health department, the Government and other Governments are all quiet.

Only a whisper comes from them.

The only noise is from the mourners, so I think, “Let them cry”.

The crying goes on.

I lean in; it’s almost time.

Gomera, gomera”, I say (push, push).

Then it’s born.

I clean its eyes, the cord is cut, and the baby cries.

Its cries and the wild wails and cries of the mourners mix in a macabre symphony.

Makorokoto”, I say (congratulations)

But her eyes are tired, dull, detached.

Mwana mukomana” (it’s a boy).

She looks away.

Another child, another mouth to feed.

Who will help her with her work?

How will she pay for school fees and medical bills?

The child’s cries merge and compete with those of the mourners.

But theirs are so many, so sad, so enraged, so defeated, so mournful and loud.

The child is but one, with a cry of shock, of release.

Loud but fleeting.

The mourners cry on.

“Are they mourning for the birth of this child?”

The child lies still, softly breathing, held, wrapped by the nurse.

Still oblivious to the world that it is in.

But what hope has a child.

Who is born in a morgue?

Who in summer suns under burning skies

hold hands of the dying despite the sores

Who in fog-grey mists of locked-up wards

talk gently to the confused, the paranoid

who unclip, clip, check and check again

the mystical noises of the hospital gadgets

who speak in soft sounding ocean voices

soothing the secrets of unconscious minds

who in the rush of busy early mornings

visit newborns and the homebound sick

who guard the cot sides of a fevered child

catching dragonflies by the garden pond

who tuck in safely an old lady, she thinks

she’s picking buttercups on her sheet

I speak for nurses worldwide who honour

nurse heroines of their day, of any day

Audrey Ardern-Jones

This poem is published in 2019 in ‘Doing the Rounds’ by Audrey Ardern-Jones

Indigo Poetry Publishers

A poem dedicated to the spirit of Florence Nightingale

You once said ‘how very little can be done under the spirit of fear’

Its 2020, Sydney

Nurses protect, care and tend

Thank you for your light

Your guiding ways as winter looms

Pressure injuries and falls

A modern day nursing scourge

Empower each nurse

The wise and luminous soul

Who knows what lays beneath

The patient and the nurse

Together flourish

A soothing hand relieves

A watchful eye reassures

Florence your work continues

Nursing poetry in times of crisis

Today I held his hand
I told him
He was strong
This virus had
Taken over
No more fighting
To be done

Today I held his hand
And in the other
Held a phone
His family said
We love you
It’s time to say

Today I held his hand
As I hung up
On that phone
His breathing pattern
His heart beating
No more

Today I held his hand
Tears behind my
Plastic face mask
This protective suit
I’m wearing
Cannot shield

Today I held his hand
So he wouldn’t be

Fold away all your bright-tinted dresses,

Turn the key on your jewels today,

And the wealth of your tendril-like tresses

Braid back in a serious way;

No more delicate gloves, no more laces,

No more trifling in boudoir or blower,

But come with your souls in your faces

To meet the stern wants of the hour.

Looks around. By the torchlight unsteady

The dead and the dying seem one—

What! Trembling and paling already,

Before your dear mission’s begun?

These wounds are more precious than ghastly—

Time presses her lips to each scar,

While she chants of that glory which vastly

Transcends all the horrors of war.

Pause here by this bedside. How mellow

The light showers down on that brow!

Such a brave, brawny visage, poor fellow!

Some homestead is missing him now.

Some wife shades her eyes in the clearing,

Some mother sits moaning distressed,

While the loved one lies faint but unfearing,

With the enemy’s ball in his breast.

Here’s another—a lad—a mere stripling,

Picked up in the field almost dead,

With the blood through his sunny hair rippling

From the horrible gash in the head.

They say he was first in the action:

Gay-hearted, quick-headed, and witty:

He fought till he dropped with exhaustion.

At the gates of our fair southern city.

Fought and fell ‘neath the guns of that city,

With a spirit transcending his years—

Lift him up in your large-hearted pity,

And wet his pale lips with your tears.

Touch him gently; most sacred the duty

Of dressing the poor shattered hand!

God spare him to rise in his beauty,

And battle once more for his land!

Pass on! It is useless to linger

While others are calling your care;

There is need for your delicate finger,

For your womanly sympathy there.

There are sick ones athirst for caressing,

There are dying ones raving at home,

There are wounds to be bound with a blessing,

And shrouds to make ready for some.

They have gathered about you the harvest

Of death in its ghastliest view;

The nearest as well as the furthest

Is there with the traitor and true.

And crowned with your beautiful patience,

Made sunny with love at the heart,

You must balsam the wounds of the nations,

Nor falter nor shrink from your part.

And the lips of the mother will bless you,

And angels, sweet-visaged and pale,

And the little ones run to caress you,

And the wives and the sisters cry hail!

But e’en if you drop down unheeded,

What matter? God’s ways are the best:

You have poured out your life where ‘twas needed,

And he will take care of the rest.

Crippled for life at seventeen,
His great eyes seems to question why:
with both legs smashed it might have been
Better in that grim trench to die
Than drag maimed years out helplessly.

A child – so wasted and so white,
He told a lie to get his way,
To march, a man with men, and fight
While other boys are still at play.
A gallant lie your heart will say.

So broke with pain, he shrinks in dread
To see the ‘dresser’ drawing near;
and winds the clothes about his head
That none may see his heart-sick fear.
His shaking, strangled sobs you hear.

But when the dreaded moment’s there
He’ll face us all, a soldier yet,
Watch his bared wounds with unmoved air,
(Though tell-tale lashes still are wet),
And smoke his Woodbine cigarette.