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Ponderings: On Understanding

Updated on September 28, 2016
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With a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) from University of Pennsylvania in 1985, Maria uses a love for music in working with others.

Project Good Words
Project Good Words | Source

My Inspiration

In 2014, Jo_Goldsmith11 took it upon herself to initiate the Light2Love Project Good Words.

Jo pledged to use good words and publish articles used to empower, encourage, support and defend those who need to be shown love.

Jo offered us a good word for each week to focus our thoughts, behaviors and actions on...In the 12th week, Jo wrote her perspective on the word understand.

However, as 2014 came to an end, Jo filed away her Good Word articles - as she begins the process of publishing it in e-book'. Shyron E. Shenko continues to write a beautiful poem to accompany each Good Word to inspire and lead us.

The ripple effect of the Good Words Project throughout the HubVille community has been heartwarming.

Please join me with some of my musical thoughts and reflections on the word understand...

To Listen

As a nurse, I have learned the skill of being a good listener. Even the best of listeners cannot understand what a person is experiencing at any given time.

Hallucinations or delusions are examples of what I do not understand through experience.

I have never heard angry voices screaming inside my head to hurt myself. I have never been convinced that I am the Queen of England being held against my will by evil doers.

By attentively listening, I can detect and observe feelings such as fear, anxiety, suspicion, anger.

Now feelings are something that we universally understand.

Cause each time I feel it slipping away, just makes me wanna cry,

What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?

— Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello: Peace, Love and Understanding

The Golden Rule

I recently assumed the role of 'concerned family' when my husband was involved in an auto accident. I drove him to a hospital ER near his place of work.

'G' was 'walking and talking' and there was one other client in the waiting room. I was feeling like I could take 'my patient' home in no time flat and get him settled comfortably.

There was a 45-minute delay as a nurse had come out for 'G' at 2:45PM. As he had stepped out for a breath of air, I was brusquely informed that someone would be back. This happened at 3:30PM after the shift change.

After four hours, we left. I never got the customer satisfaction survey I asked for ... As we went on our way, three staff stood around the front desk chatting and laughing away.

Elvis Costello's song has been a mantra for me since the start of nursing school in 1979: "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding...?"

I decided after my trip to the ER to remind my beautiful nursing students to always be understanding and use the Golden Rule with their clients and families... that's no joke!

Ebony And Ivory Live Together In Perfect Harmony

Side By Side On My Piano Keyboard, Oh Lord, Why Don't We?

— Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder: Ebony and Ivory

To Accept

What symbolism in "Ebony and Ivory" as performed by two of the greatest musicians - Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Respect. Acceptance. Understanding...

In 30-years of nursing I have cared for people with every color skin on the spectrum. I have treated individuals with countless ethnic, religious, social and sexual backgrounds.

I would never pretend to understand the nuances of each culture. I won't hesitate to get assist from translators to prevent language barriers - imagining how frightening that situation must be for a client.

And I don't underestimate the importance of observation, kindness and the power of touch.

If I ever were to complete a customer satisfaction survey, about "G's" recent experience in the ER, I would write an addendum for a sweet Hispanic woman, all alone, very pregnant, waiting for results to a test (presumably an ultrasound).

I watched someone in scrubs approach her and bark that it would be 'a few minutes' for the test results (wow, that seemed fast in this ER, which I now realized stood for Extremely Rude).

This woman looked lost, frightened and close to tears. She was massaging her big belly -- who knew if she were in pain or comforting her baby or both? Who cared? She was in a hospital. I wondered what was in her mind, as I struggled with my own feelings about the situation.

Our eyes connected. I guess that was all I needed. I sat with her a few minutes, held her hand and brought a table over that she could elevate her feet to rest more comfortably.

'A few minutes' was actually more like thirty minutes. But this lady looked calmer, smiled and whispered Gracias to me as she went back to get her results.

We All Know That People Are The Same Where Ever We Go
There Is Good And Bad In Ev'ryone,
We Learn To Live, We Learn To Give
Each Other What We Need To Survive Together Alive."

Respect. Acceptance. Understanding...


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