Feb. 24, 2022
Interdisciplinary journal showcases nursing students’ creative reflections on experiences in health care
Created in 2014 by University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) students, The Longview Journal is an annual peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal focused on the humanities in health care. With this collection of creative works describing the unique experiences of students and faculty, the hope is to angle a creative lens toward contemporary health care.
The latest issue of The Longview Journal (2021) features a number of creative reflections and contributions of some of UCalgary's nursing students on their experiences in health care.
"It is wonderful to see so many contributions from nursing students in this issue of Longview — with a wide range of topics in words and pictures," says associate professor Graham McCaffery, a member of the Humanities Health Committee in CSM, who researches the interface between nursing and humanities.
Nurses have an important contribution to make to health humanities, reflecting our closeness to the experiences of people we care for through literary and artistic expression.
With permission from The Longview Journal, we’ve reprinted the UCalgary Nursing students' works below.
Zebras & Chameleon (poetry), by Jenise Finlay, MN student
I am simultaneously both patient and nurse
graduate student and graduate
researcher and research subject.
Prepare for a lifetime of surgeries, they say. Simultaneously, I
can’t help you.
Oxymorons of care and deflection through dismissal.
I have entered the kingdom of the sick.
A group of zebras is called a dazzle, a group of chameleons a
A zebra, they say, as if I have no choice. A zebra, we say.
Is it not the fault of medical school that I am deemed a zebra?
Am I not a chameleon, too?
The curse of an invisible illness is that you are a chameleon.
I attend specialists as a patient, but with the knowledge of a
As a patient, I know how we are seen.
As a nurse, I know how we are seen.
I live with secrets,
secrets that influence my practice.
Why am I a zebra? I am a human.
I am not a zebra. Not a member of the equine family, not a
lizard, not a chameleon.
Why am I a zebra?
I am a human, just like you.
Anatomical Sketches (drawings), by Nadia Bibi, BN student
Outbreak (poetry), by Ambereen Weerahandi, MN student
You never see my face,
I am eyes and a voice.
Only when my back is turned to you,
Can you catch a glimpse,
When I take off my blue and yellow armor.
Outbreak is violation.
This safe space, that was supposed to protect you, heal you,
is riddled with viral threat of death.
You are alone.
Even when you are free, you are never safe.
Paroxysm, pandemonium, pandemic.
Empathy (poetry), by Melissa J. Adrian, MN student
Whispering a genuine invitation,
From the sacred place of the heart.
Will you trust in me, precious one?
So I can do my valiant part.
Drawing near to you in this moment,
In a metaphorical embrace.
Holding your pain and suffering,
Giving you comfort and grace.
How have you been doing?
Through the years of agony.
May I help carry your burden?
And bring you new vitality?
Trauma of the years gone past,
Has held you down in spite.
Let me lift your weary soul up,
By all my strength and might.
Escape from the eerie silence,
Lost in the valley all alone.
I am by your side now and always,
Not afraid to hear your moan.
Binding the dark feelings that haunt,
Throughout the day and night.
Releasing you from their chains,
So you no longer need to fight.
Our intimate companionship,
To last together for all time.
Breathing life into your being,
And deeply satisfying mine.
The Power of Gentleness in Vulnerability (poetry), by Matthew Tang, BN student, Krista Wollny, UCalgary Nursing instructor
When crying out, “This hurts,” the patient is being vulnerable.
Her eyes show and see a future of uncertainty, pain, loneliness, and loss of control.
“Another test?” she sighs, “I thought I already had that in the morning?”
I remember the responsibility resting on my shoulders when I wear my scrubs.
Patients come to the hospital to heal their wounds, but in seeking care, they open the possibility of suffering further hurts — both physical and emotional.
To be vulnerable means: susceptibility to wounds.
Chronic illness leaves them opened and vulnerable, but the only effective treatment for vulnerability is authentic care. And vulnerability is: a precondition for healing.
But how do we, as healthcare workers, respond to
How do we heal the broken and open?
Carving out moments for deep listening allows us to host
Gentleness opens rooms to know and care for others. Set aside
different opinions, personalities, or value systems.
But are patients the only ones vulnerable in this relationship?
To be hospitable to new thoughts and voices is a vulnerability
in itself. So we understand what Saint Francis de Sales said,
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
With a Heavy Heart (painting), by Randip Dhaliwal, MN student
‘I was inspired by the resilience and strength of front-line health-care workers when I came across a photograph showcasing an ICU physician calling a family member to inform them that their loved one had died from COVID-19. The image resonated deeply with many health-care providers as it offered a small glimpse into the unfortunate reality of the battle we face every day to protect Albertans and keep them safe.
"I have recreated it with oil paint and hope it provides a glance into the uncertainty and sadness that the image conveyed. To all my fellow health-care providers on the front line, thank you for your bravery, courage, and unwavering selflessness. This one is for each and every one of you."