Patricia Nugent on “The Nurses Whispered”


Please enjoy this guest post by Patricia Nugent, a contributor to the book, “I Wasn’t This Strong When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming A Nurse“. Patricia is one of several contributors to this wonderful collection of stories who will be our guests on RN.FM Radio’s episode airing on June 3rd, 2013. Our thanks to her for this lovely post.

I feel really honored being interviewed on RN.FM Radio, the Internet radio station dedicated to the nursing profession, because I’m not a nurse. I’m not made of the right stuff to be a nurse. In fact, I’m more of the hypochondriac and germaphobe type. I spent my career as an educator and school administrator (where I would on occasion be found in the nurse’s office asking for a symptom to be checked out….).

The reason I am being featured on this station is that I wrote a chapter in a book about the nursing profession called, “I Wasn’t Strong like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse”, published by In Fact Books (2013). I believe I’m the only non-medical personnel to have an essay included in this book, which is a great honor as well. Only the editor can speak to why my story was chosen, but I imagine it’s because it pays tribute to the profession after watching nurses in action – up close and personal, day and night, in several different medical facilities – as I shepherded my two elderly parents from this life to the next over an 18-month period.

My chapter entitled, “The Nurses Whispered,pays tribute to the nurses who were so critical in guiding my parents and me through their end-of-life journey. It’s drawn from my journals, which later became a collection of vignettes about the caregiving and loss experience entitled, “They Live On: Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad”.

The premise behind the story of “The Nurses Whispered” is that because of a pecking order in medical facilities, nurses have to be careful how they express an opinion, how they disagree, how they follow their own conscience and sense of duty, and how they support patients and families. So, they often have to whisper so as not to offend, so as not to get in trouble. Their whisperings were recorded in my journal and later became part of this essay, which closes with “their whisperings seemed like the messages of angels…Such whisperings gave us the grace to keep going…”

For more information about “I Wasn’t This Strong When I Started Out”, visit For more information about my work, visit or email

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