The Compassion of a Nurse

Joe TyeYou might have heard someone say words to the effect that a person who refused to get vaccinated and then got sick with Covid should receive a lower level of care in the hospital. I will tell you why that will never happen.

The compassion of a nurse is an earthly embodiment of grace. It is not something that must be earned, and it is not something that can be lost.

The nurse cares equally for the lung cancer patient who brought on the disease by smoking, the head injury patient who was not wearing a motorcycle helmet, and the drunk driver who plowed a car into a tree. The nurse gives the same care to a patient in chains and a prison jumpsuit as a big shot in the VIP room at the end of the hallway. The nurse cares for a Covid patient who called it a Chinese hoax, refused to wear a mask, and took horse pills rather than get a vaccination with that same compassion.

In the foreword to the special pandemic edition of my book The Florence Prescription I wrote: “The light from Florence’s lamp has shone brightly upon nurses who helped dying patients say goodbye to family members on electronic tablets; on environmental services workers who cleaned hospital rooms after covid patients were discharged; on long-term care workers who comforted lonely elders who could not see visitors; and the millions of other healthcare workers who have met this challenge with commitment, courage, and resilience.” (

Caregivers have given everything they have and then given more to care for the victims of this pandemic. It is heartbreaking to hear of stories of nurses being verbally or physically assaulted in emergency rooms, threatened with violence when they volunteer to administer Covid vaccines, and treated with disrespect in public places just because they are wearing scrubs and a name tag.

But there is one thing those who disrespect, bully, and threaten nurses can always depend upon. When they show up at the hospital desperately ill from Covid, their nurses will still treat them with respect and compassion.

That’s what nurses do. That’s who they are.