Young nurse woman wearing blue scrubs crossing arms

Written by Noah benShea

In every language across time and space, in every voice of pain and hurt, there has always been one plea, one shout, one agonized whisper that has a common yearning: “Please God, we need a nurse.”

I’m not sure how people come to know they want to be a nurse, but surely the raison d’être, the reason for being, is a deep and abiding urge to help others, to lift the fallen, and in that effort be lifted.

Let us not be confused. Being a nurse is not a shortcut to fame and fortune. A nurse does not seek the spotlight. A nurse is a hero in the shadows. A nurse is someone who lives at the corner of healing, helping and how are you doing?

A nurse is someone who will get up before dawn, stay up past midnight, sit with you in the absent light, and talk to you until it’s light.
A nurse is someone who knows that caring is healing, and no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

A nurse is someone who is strong enough to lift you into bed, gentle enough to cradle a child, honest enough to answer your questions, human enough to know your fears, courageous enough to face their own fears, and experienced enough to know broken bones – and broken people – heal stronger for being broken.

A nurse is someone who is flexible enough to know that what doesn’t bend breaks, wise enough to know that tears falling on our cheeks can cause us to bloom, and God is never so with us as when we feel alone.

A nurse is someone who has a calling, can hear us calling, knows our name, calls our name and feels our pain. A nurse is someone who reminds us that those who we’ve lost are not lost, that those who have gone away are not gone, that memory is a secret garden, but life is not a walk in the park, so don’t forget to take one.

A nurse is someone who will sit beside us and side with us. A nurse is someone who will be there in the hard rain of hard pain and hard times. A nurse is someone who reminds us to put our faith and not our fears in charge, that sometimes just feeling okay is okay, that letting go is not giving up and prayer is a path where there is none.

A nurse is someone who will be at your side when the sky is threatening, come when the roads are closed, be your peace when peace is not at hand, be a righteous fist in the face of what’s unjust, and remind you that we all count and count on each other.

A nurse is someone who knows love is a ladder that allows us to climb out of ourselves, someone who knows everyone crying isn’t crying out loud, someone who reminds us healing is not impossible, pain is not inevitable and a great person is anyone who is trying to be a better person.

A nurse is someone who knows the wind in our face may be God blowing us kisses, and the best way to get warm is to put your arm around someone who is cold.

A nurse is someone who reminds us not to cry over what is lost but to find joy in what has been, that fear is the pain before the wound, that we all fall because we’re all frail, because we’re all human.

A nurse is someone who reminds us heroism isn’t the absence of fear but how we wrestle with our fears, that every first step in healing is a leap of faith, that the angels you meet in life often don’t know they are angels, and our work in this life isn’t what we do but who we are.

A nurse is someone who by their life’s journey is testimony that of all the things we can make in life, a nurse is someone who makes a difference. If you have ever thought that you want to make a difference, why not be a nurse? Be that hero in the shadows. And shine on!

A helping hand is how we take God’s hand.


Noah benShea is one of North America’s most respected and beloved poet-philosophers. An international bestselling author of 23 books translated into 18 languages, his inspirational thoughts have appeared on more than 30 million Starbucks coffee cups, and his weekly columns on life were published for five years by The New York Times Regional Syndicate. In addition to his many other accomplishments, he serves as Philosopher in Residence for Foundations Recovery Network. Find out more HERE.