Final Gifts A Book By Maggie Callahan And Patrician Kelly

1116 words - 5 pages

After reading the different stories in the book “Final Gifts”, I believe I have a better understanding of the nurse’s role in caring for the needs of the dying patient and how their families need to be guided through this experience. The different stories in this book provide insight into the experiences of the dying as well as how their loved ones cope with their loss. The authors Maggie Callahan and Patrician Kelly, experienced hospice nurses who have extensive exposure to dying patients and their families, through their shared stories, paint a picture of what the dying want. To many, death is a difficult concept.
As a nursing student, I have had some exposure to death during patient ...view middle of the document...

The book “Final Gifts”, is really a great way to gain more awareness of the needs communicated by the dying person and the experiences and stories shared of caring for these patients help paint a better picture of what the dying what us to know. In my clinical rotation, I have had the privilege of learning and working with a hospice nurse whose compassion was admirable. I noticed that she made sure to listen to the patient and be present. It takes a special kind of person to be able to practice that daily and tremendous power and grace in opening oneself to the emotional pain that accompanies death. I believe that even if a nurse is not caring for a dying patient per say, it is still important to be compassionate and not to only cater to their physical needs.
I particularly enjoyed the fact that Maggie Callahan and Patrician Kelly spoke to the many ways that people can be present to the dying (and their loved ones), and in doing so help the dying find peace in their final days and hours. When a patient asked one of the authors why she was a hospice nurse and if her work wasn’t depressing, she responded “my job is to keep my patients as comfortable as possible-not just physically- so they can do things and use this special time the best way they can… dying can be an opportunity for the whole family to share positive experiences, rather than only sadness, pain and loss” (Callanan, 1992, p. 142). I found this response really inspiring and have a high regard for hospice nurses.
It is certainly important for the patient to also relish the final chapter of their lives as well. The book speaks to the Nearing Death Awareness that the dying develop, and how family and friends can spot the manifestations of that awareness to better communicate to the needs of the dying. The dying patient is experiencing “something”, and this something is usually portrayed in nonverbal communications such as smiling, or nodding. There was a particular example, a story about an HIV/AIDS patient, who due to the advance stages of the disease trajectory was bedridden, couldn’t...

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