A Glimmer of Hope for Patients and Families
Martha Bravo helps children have a better quality of life. A pediatric nurse in home health care, Bravo spends 12 hours of her work day caring for a child with a chronic illness in their home. She helps manage that child’s medication and take care of them throughout the day using medical equipment like ventilators, nebulizers, and suction machines. Because she works in the same space where her patients and their families live, she spends a lot of time around these families. She gets to know them well and connects with them.
Bravo’s patients are often chronically ill children and are usually bedridden. Most of the families she works with receive home health care through Medicare and also receive other government assistance in order to have proper medical care. The parents of these patients struggle to find hope in their situations or to keep their positivity as they find out the types of lives their children will likely lead. Meanwhile, the children are often frustrated, depressed or simply bored. She talks to them about God and prays with the children and their family to help take away the emotional and physical pain. Bravo shares her faith with them.
Being at home with a patient means being in their space. Now, with precautions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bravo spends her days wearing a mask and trying as much as possible to maintain social distance from patients’ families. This can be tricky since there is not always a lot of room. She has also felt the impact masks and social distance have made on her ability to form relationships with the families. While she might normally shake hands or pat the back of a distressed parent, she is not able to do so as much anymore. She continues to do her best to comfort families but has had to make adjustments in order to protect their physical health.
In addition to caring for her patients, Bravo educates their families on natural remedies and proper nutrition. Her primary purpose in this role is to care for patients’ physical needs, but she doesn't stop there. Bravo strives to use the opportunity to serve their emotional and spiritual needs too. She views this job as a way to minister through her actions and her attitude, showing the families she works with the hope and love she has because of her relationship with Jesus Christ. She loves her job because it connects her to people that she would not have otherwise met, which gives her more opportunities to share God’s love with others.
Bravo has enjoyed helping people and taking care of them from a very young age. She enjoyed learning about anatomy and physiology in school because she wanted to further understand the body’s systems. She also felt closer to God as she understood more about what He had created and all the little details that went into His work. She is grateful that working as a nurse provides her with the ability to help people manage the frustration and sadness of having a family member that is sick their entire life. She also rejoices that she is able to treat their emotional needs by sharing about the hope she has in God.
“God is my support,” shares Bravo. “I pray to Him before getting out of bed every morning and ask him to help me go the extra mile and beyond. I pray that others will see Him through me.” eHer prayers have been answered; parents sometimes mention that they see something different in her. She takes this opportunity to share the hope she has with them. “When we have hope and we know that there is someone that can take care of us and give us strength, that is the best support we could ever ask for.” She knows the only way she could share hope is by pointing her patients to Jesus.
“We need to always keep moving toward preparation for Jesus’ second coming and make sure we can talk to as many people as possible,” shares Bravo. “We need to give ourselves to God constantly. It’s easy to separate ourselves from Him, but we need to lead a good Christian life in order to set a good example for the people around us.”
While her job can be emotionally draining and requires long hours, she loves it for all it allows her to do. Bravo is grateful to have a job that gives her the ability to share God’s love with others and take care of their physical needs, while addressing their emotional and spiritual needs as well.
By Brisa Ramirez. Ramirez is a freelance writer based in Texas.