Angels and Stethoscopes


Steve Nauman

This blog is possibly a little more personal than most that I’ve written because this one deals with Nurses. 

Personal, because for many years they were my main contact and constant point of help during the years of my first wife’s illness. Now, it’s still personal because I have two sisters who have been nurses, one just retired last year after over forty years as a surgical nurse and my other sister is still working in her position as a nurse. I also have a niece who became a nurse at the end of last year. My wife Ruth has a daughter and daughter in law who are both nurses, as well as several nieces and a nephew who are also nurses. 

During the hundreds of days when I was an observer of all the different hospitals that my (now) late wife was in, I eventually started to notice that even though some hospitals may be better at certain things than others, there was one “constant” that kept so many things working well no matter where we were….Nurses.

I really believe that life is a constant mix of burdens and blessings, burdens to keep us humble and blessings to keep us happy. There are probably not too many professions where that is more true than Nursing. 

One time when Laura, (my late wife) was an inpatient, we could hear what sounded like family members of a patient rudely (and loudly) speaking to a nurse in the next room. Soon Laura’s IV pump started chiming and that same nurse came in smiling. I just had to ask “how can you be smiling after being treated so loudly and rudely in that other room?” She just said: “I think some people in there were upset today and were just venting, they didn’t mean anything by it.” I think that was the day I realized…….
“Sometimes Angels Have Stethoscopes!”

Something else that always amazed me about the nurses “working on the floor”, is that they work a 12 hour shift! Keep in mind, most all of them have families with events and scheduling conflicts just like everyone else. Yet, they treat you just as nicely in the 11th hour as in the 1st hour of their shift. “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 (NASB)

I was constantly amazed by the care and compassion that was almost always given by all the nurses when Laura’s care was managed locally through Goshen Hospital. Her care there became mostly outpatient, as they were able to get a better grasp of her condition for a few years.

During that time she developed many friendships with the nurses who cared for her on a regular basis. There were times that she was in the hospital on her birthday and those nurses got her a birthday cake and some little presents! During the outpatient infusion days, her regular nurse let her “catch-up” with the latest pictures and videos on her phone of her little girl. Things like that just brightened her day so much and actually made the day enjoyable! (Of course all of these things were pre-COVID….. will we ever think the same way again?)

Now some might be thinking that some of the nurses in this story shouldn’t have been so personally involved in a patient’s life. But perhaps if you feel that way, then you don’t fully understand something called “Compassionate Care”. I believe that’s exactly what those nurses were demonstrating because….. “Sometimes Angels Have Stethoscopes!” 

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.