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Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson

Poem in “Learning to Heal: Reflections on Nursing School in Poetry and Prose”

I am so thrilled to have a poem in one of Cortney Davis’ excellent nursing-themed anthologies!  “Learning to Heal”, co-edited by Jeanne Bryner,  just arrived from Kent State University Press and it is beautiful — in both design and content! My poem is entitled: “First Patient” and is indeed about the first patient assigned to me in my first clinical rotation in nursing school. He was in Pacific Care nursing home on Cherry Street in Aberdeen. He was diabetic and had just had his leg amputated. One line from the poem goes: “I have never been so afraid,” and this was true. I was older going to nursing school. This was my second career. But life experience didn’t make me any less terrified of hurting this poor man, of making his pain and his condition worse. It takes incredible courage to care for the body of another person and I am so thankful I got to serve in this way. It also takes unbelievable bravery to attempt to touch the soul, which is what I believe poetry does. Each time I write, a part of me “has never been so afraid.”

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