Bioethics Blogs

“One Shoe Can Change Your Life”*

by Jeanie Sauerland, BS, BSN, RN

I hate shopping for shoes – always have. Footwear was not the reason I chose nursing – but it sure made it nice, to be able to wear comfortable walking shoes without looking like you wore orthopedic shoes made for someone 90 years old. The world of white caps and starched uniforms disappeared long before I became a nurse. Even so, the shoes are still designed more for function than fashion: These are meant to be work shoes. I put them on at the beginning of the day to provide support as I move from patient to patient. At the end of the day, I take can take them off and leave them and the worries of the day behind. Most days.

There have always been those cases that no matter how many times the scrubs went through the wash or the shoes were polished, the memories lingered. Those were the times when nothing matched – the reality of the patient condition, the wishes of the family, or the “goals of care.” No matter how supportive the shoes were, being in them was not comfortable. There were answers I didn’t have. There were role conflicts. The family, the patient, and the healthcare providers needed much more than my robust pair of shoes to get them through these days.

At the end of those days, I would notice scuff marks on these shoes. They matched the scarring I felt on my professional persona – experiences that would mark me for a long time.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.