write to honor my patients and the moments we share, and also to keep harm away—not with medicine but with memory. In my writing, nursing becomes a metaphor for how we care or fail to care for one another—our families, our neighbors, our lovers. For me nursing, like writing, is that human place in which nurturing and mystery meet.

A nurse’s story is different from a doctor’s story. Although we both inhabit the strange universe of illness, death, and healing, we bring to that world different skills and points of view. I write from the nurse’s vantage point: we accompany patients as they go from illness to recovery; we walk with patients as they journey through death’s door.

Like other nurses and doctors who write, I feel called upon to translate and pass on in some measure the extraordinary lessons I learn from my patients’ lives. I also realize that when we caregivers tell our patients’ stories, we reveal our own as well.