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Journal of Nursing

Nurse’s Legal Plight 

by Sabrina Sniffen [email protected]

I see that your heart is in peril

I have only but a moment to stop

I hope my brief words help

Though I feel it is not enough


I am told I should not say

How very busy I am, to this I may agree

Truth be told, legalities have bogged me with paperwork

Among my many other tasks


I would love to tell you

The condition of your lifelong friend

I am told not to provide information

To names not on the list


I would like to help with your request

But I am afraid it is against protocol

All things with good intentions

Seem to have gone overboard


With failure to think—

People do not line up neatly on black and white lines

There are not enough boxes to fit each individual

Yet, I am asked to try and force that which cannot be


I love to help people

With remorse, I express

Have I lived to see the day

Legality triumphs over humanity?


When dealing with the fragilities of the human heart

Where does one set limits?

Who constructs with walls of definitions?


Boxes set to confine an illness or condition

Leaving the inflicted receiving incomplete treatment

By forgetting to see the whole of human existence

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