Nursing in Switzerland and in Moria Refugee Camp

The lifejacket graveyard, Molyvos, Lesbos, June 2018

I am often asked how I handle the transition from nursing in Lesbos’ Moria refugee camp to returning to practice in Switzerland. Don’t I feel contempt for my Swiss patients’ petty pains? Don’t I disdain their suffering, having seen so much “truer” suffering stemming from “worthier causes”? …


The power of touch and human contact in nursing and medicine

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Night shift on a quiet Swiss ward. All is silent; all is well. I am alone, my colleague on his break. I have done my rounds and checked on everyone. We have an unusually high number of palliative patients at the moment, but they are all comfortable and sleeping.

Except…


Or the Lies we Tell our Children

Photo by Johnny Kaufman on Unsplash

Orion the Hunter
With His sword and Bow
Travels the sky collecting stars
As they fall

He strings them together
Like pearls on a necklace
Like buoys on a lifeline
And puts them in dark places
To show us the way

In tunnels and grottos, in caves
And dark mountain passes
Orion…


Or why I write

PIcture of my journal, taken by the author

Writing for me these days tends to be about reflection and catharsis. In university, doing my nursing training, we were encouraged to keep a reflective journal, making notes on what we saw and how we felt, reflecting on situations, or logging evolutions in our practice. …


An experience of two wards as a nurse

Elmina Castle, Ghana

Over the years, I have worked on a number of different wards and in different settings. Some are loud and busy, some quiet and slow. Some have good resources and are well-staffed. Others are crying out for almost everything — including running water and electricity.

Within one hospital, the nature…


The varying and contrasting needs of patients on wards

Most people work at a desk. I don’t. I work at a bed. Or, rather, I work at beds. On any given work day, I have between 2 and 15 beds as my workspace. Some of my time (actually, a depressingly large and increasing portion of my time) is spent…


How getting to know patients as people can improve care

Sunrise behind the mountains overlooking the hospital

Two of my patients today on the ward are a husband and wife pair sharing a room. Let’s call them Mr and Mrs H. When I walked in first thing yesterday morning, I couldn’t even immediately tell which was which from the doorway. They were both in their 90s, wrinkled…


Death as the central flame

photo taken by me at the local butterfly dome

As a nurse I have a fair mount of experience with death — one might say a familiarity even — after over a decade in hospitals. Sometimes I hold people’s hands as they take their last breaths (and I mean this quite literally, trite as it sounds); sometimes I am…


On Angel Babies, Rainbow Babies and Taboos

Two and a half years ago I had a miscarriage. What appeared to be a completely healthy pregnancy ended, for no apparent reason, at 9 weeks. I had a delayed miscarriage though, which meant that as far as I knew, the pregnancy was progressing normally. I didn’t know until a…

Erika C-B

Nurse errant, mama, food blogger. I write as a means of processing, both work and personal experiences.

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