It was 11:00 o’clock and I came in for the night shift at the hospital where I work as a labor and delivery nurse. As we always do, I went through a nurse-to-nurse report with Angela, who was going off duty. Angela began telling me about a patient in labor and how she was “white trash” and “irresponsible.” She even used the word “nasty.” She told me that the woman’s previous child had been taken away by Child Protective Services. She told me she was leaving and wasn’t going to say goodbye to the patient. She turned and walked out.

I took a deep breath, regrouped, and tried to shake off all the negative words I had just heard so that I could greet the patient without any negative assumptions.

I entered the room, introduced myself, and smiled. The woman in the room introduced herself as Lisa. She looked scared. I told her I was going to take good care of her and that’s just what I did.