Chad Tanag, RN, BSN

Chad Tanag, RN, BSN is currently working as an emergency room nurse in Chattanooga, TN. He is also pursuing his graduate degree at Southern Adventist University to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. When he’s not at work or in class, he is teaching nursing students as a clinical instructor or out on an adventure with his golden retriever, Tucker.

The First Time I Prayed With a Patient

in Winter 2015   |
Published on 01/14/2015   |
3 min

She was a frequent flyer at the hospital with an extensive health history. I took my time discharging her because I truly had no energy left to care. My life, at that moment, could be abridged with a melancholy “meh”. I hadn’t been this dysfunctional in a long time. I just broke up with my girlfriend of six and a half years. I either got too much sleep or not enough. My appetite was terrible. Nothing tasted good. I lost 20 pounds in the span of two weeks. I dry heaved. I thought too much. I dry heaved whenever I thought too much. Things weren’t so great. Life kind of stunk.

My patient smiled through broken teeth as I explained her discharge instructions to her straight from the script, “It’s important to take these medications the way your doctor has prescribed them. Make sure you follow up because it’s only going to get worse if you leave it like this.” She explained that she had trouble getting to her appointments because she lacked the finances and her physical condition left her stuck at home most of the time. I didn’t care. I see so many of these patients every day. “You did this to yourself,” said the jaded nurse inside me.

She signed her paperwork and I began to wheel her out of the hospital. Out of nowhere, a thought crossed my mind like a drunk guy hitting on a girl at a party. It wouldn’t go away: Pray with her.


Pray with her.

“I don’t pray with my patients. Ever. I don’t even pray for myself.”

You need to pray with her.

I could only push the thought to the back of my head as far as I could push her outside. “Great, I’m thinking too much again,” preceded the dry heaving. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just caught a whiff of something,” I lied. I would have left her outside to wait for her ride but I needed to catch my breath.

Pray with her. Pray with her. Pray with her.


“Ma’am, would you mind.. I mean, is it okay if I pray with you?” I can’t believe I’m doing this. “Son, prayer is all I ever need,” was her reply. She took my hands in hers. I could feel her hands tremble. I prayed a quick prayer before my emotions could get the best of me. “I’ll be okay,” she smiled through her broken teeth, “I’m glad I have God and beautiful people like you on my side to take care of me.” I didn’t feel beautiful. This woman with no money, no health, no friends or family to care for her was happier than I was.

I drove home in silence, wondering why I felt such a strong urge to pray for this woman. How could this woman find happiness in her situation? Why did she have such faith that things were going to be okay when she was in such poor condition? What did I need to do to start feeling contented again? Then, a voice…

You are loved.

“Stop it.”

You are loved.

“I’m driving. You’re going to get me in an accident.”

You are loved.

“You win. Here, have some tears.” How cliché. A nurse driving home in tears.

I was upset, I punched the steering wheel.

“Where have you been all this time?”

I am with you. Always.

Then, peace. It was the first time in a long time that I could actually feel Him with me. I wasn’t alone. It took a big lady with nothing but broken teeth to show me that life really wasn’t so bad.

Thank you, Lord, for your Sabbath day. I can’t rest because I have to work, but I pray that I can find a way to show your love… even to the least of these.

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