Cindy Sauerwein, RN shares her “Best Day As a Nurse”

Cindy Sauerwein, RN shares her “Best Day As a Nurse”

Cindy Sauerwein, RN (MSU) wrote this short story concerning a patient encounter in response to Advance’s “Best Day As a Nurse” contest. “It is near and dear to my heart,” she says, “and I think others might enjoy it, too.”

Cindy, thank you for sharing this powerful story. As nurses, we all have those patients who will stay with us forever. What about you? What was your best day as a nurse? Share below.

I knew her diagnosis: Stage IV lung cancer with an esophageal mass threatening her airway. But nothing prepared me for this vibrant, charismatic woman who faced her prognosis of a short few weeks with a bold proclamation, “I’m curious about what’s coming next!”

Her pale, blond daughters tended to her needs, their faces radiant with tears alternating between sadness and joy. I’ve never seen such committed bravery when confronting the worst life can throw at you. 

Her husband, encumbered with a large flat object, entered her room quietly, traces of shock, disbelief and sorrow etched on his face. He set his burden down on her bed and she gleefully proclaimed that her real work could begin.

The object was her desk drawer–with its entire contents intact. 

She drew out bills, envelopes, a check book and a notebook, and started the task of closing accounts, transferring funds, creating a list of computer passwords and file names for her husband, and instructing him on what he should do with her frequent flier miles.   

I lingered in her room–savoring each moment with her. For a woman who was dying, she imparted courage, grace and strength. I wanted to be part of it, wrapped in it, surrounded by her. She drew me into her living in the moment and in exchange, I helped her prepare for death. She blessed me as much as her family said I blessed them.

Rest in peace, beautiful warrior.

-Cynthia Sauerwein, RN


  1. Posted by Christine, at Reply

    As I read this, I think how fortunate we are to be able to experience something so extremely powerful as part of our profession. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Posted by Geri Raber, at Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. This week I have been reading about the power of narrative in medical care and how it makes us stop to see the human response to illness in our patients and their families.
    Your story is a great illustration of this. Your patient is a wonderful example of the practical demonstrations of love.
    That it is not only what you feel but what you do and how you do it that matter.


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