Nursing Hands

Nurses are often called to have the heart of a hero. Sometimes this can be a difficult calling to live up to.

by Sandra G. Babb, RN

I often hear people speak very highly of my profession, saying that nurses are “angels” and “heroes”. I would never say that these compliments are undeserving but if I look at myself honestly, I’m not sure I can describe myself that way. I like to think that I care for all my patients with an equal amount of compassion, refraining from harsh judgment, but I must admit that at times I find it a challenge to do so.

Years ago when I was a fairly new nurse I took a call about a patient that was coming to us from the Emergency Department during a night shift. I sighed when I heard the patient’s name. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Book of Mormon – Alternate Chronology

A reading chart for The Book of Mormon following a different order through the various subplots.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

I have always been fascinated by the many stories and subplots within the narrative of The Book of Mormon, where there are often multiple scenes of action happening simultaneously. Learning this chronology when I was young turned out to be a major milestone towards understanding and appreciating the book. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Efforts and Highest Priority

A personal memoir about trying to put first things first in my career choices.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

In February 1999 the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a letter which was to be read in all congregations around the world. At the time I was living in a small town in England about 100 miles north of London, and was approaching the halfway point of my mission. I remember when the bishop of my ward read this letter, and I have thought about it many times since then. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weakness and Strength

A personal story about discovering my own weakness and turning to the Lord for strength.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

The Lord has given me a “thorn in the flesh” which has been with me more or less for as long as I can remember. It has caused me anxiety and sorrow on many occasions, and has brought me to my knees on many others.

I remember when I learned the name of my weakness. It was in mid-December of my third year in medical school, on a day when I was given a list of patients to call on the phone to recruit for a research study. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Everything Give Thanks

Gratitude is our powerful ally in the struggles of life.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

This week in clinic I saw one of my favorite patients. She has a rare genetic form of motor neuron disease and has been on a ventilator for about twenty years. But her arms and legs were still strong, so she didn’t let the fact that she couldn’t breathe on her own stop her from doing what she wanted to do. With a portable ventilator in her backpack she kept up a busy schedule of volunteering at a hospice, helping political campaigns, and walking her dogs. A few years ago her arms and legs started to get weak, but she started using a rolling walker and more or less kept up with all of her usual activities. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fasting is Food for the Soul

The spiritual and physical health benefits of fasting.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

Once in the middle of my work day I sat down to eat lunch, which was some leftovers from dinner the night before. When I pulled it out of the microwave oven and opened the lid, one of my colleagues said, “That smells . . . difficult!” I wasn’t sure what he meant at first, until he explained that he was fasting. My friend is a Muslim, and was observing the month of Ramadan by not eating or drinking during daylight hours.

Fasting is an important part of my faith too, so I could empathize with my friend that day. Latter-day Saints fast for 24 hours at a time on the first Sunday of every month. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healing on the Sabbath

A few thoughts about working in the hospital on Sunday.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

The first weekend of July at the beginning of my third year of medical school marked a significant change in my life and in my lifestyle. Sabbath observance is an important part of my faith, and during my education up to that point I had gone out of my way to avoid studying on Sundays even when I had examinations on the following day. But there was no getting out of weekend work once I started my clinical clerkships in the hospital, so with a sigh I agreed to come in on Sundays that month. Later I learned that my fellow student who signed up for Saturdays that month was a Seventh Day Adventist who would rather have worked Sundays. A little assertiveness would have helped us both there, apparently.

In the years that have passed since then I have worked in the hospital on many Sundays, and I can hardly remember what it was like to have every Sunday free. This has been a topic of soul-searching and pondering for me, and I have discussed it with many of my colleagues and friends. I hope to share a few thoughts here that might be helpful to my fellow people of faith who are health care workers. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Doctor’s Orders . . .

God gives everyone the freedom to choose for themselves. He respects that freedom, and so should we.

by Sandra G. Babb, RN

I have always worked in teaching hospitals. Every summer I watch medical students become eager, new physicians. I notice there are always a few doctors that assume that once they write an order, it becomes law. The patient will receive a laxative every morning, because there is an order. The patient will eat a low salt, low fat diet because there is an order. I have even seen doctors write in capital, bold letters “PATIENT MAY NOT LEAVE THE ROOM TO SMOKE”. As physicians become more experienced they recognize that orders are not set in stone. Patients refuse medicine. Patients eat what they like. Cancer, heart and lung disease do not stop patients from smoking and neither will a doctor’s order. We can educate and encourage but the decision is their own. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Signed Up For This

In professional work and in life, a little perspective goes a long way.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

During my medical internship I was required to spend a month working in the emergency department. On one of my overnight shifts in the ED I evaluated a patient who had a known diagnosis of cancer and was being treated by one of the oncologists at our institution. The patient had come to the hospital that night with some minor symptoms which had resolved, and I suggested to the attending physician I was working with that we could probably just send her home. He agreed with this plan, but wanted me to call the patient’s oncologist before letting the patient go.

“But it’s 2:00 in the morning,” I protested. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mormon Doctoring

A few thoughts about how my religion influences my work as a doctor.

by Alan B. Sanderson, MD

Recently I had an interesting experience in the middle of a busy clinic day. I had fallen behind on my appointment schedule and was worried that my upcoming patients would be upset with having to wait, but I was pleased when the next visit went quickly. As I concluded the assessment I stood up to leave the room, but the patient ignored my non-verbal cues and kept talking. He began to tell a story, and despite my impatience I had the feeling that I should sit back down again and listen. Continue reading

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment