Discussion Questions for Christie Watson: Bless the Nurses
1. Christie Watson became a nurse after being awestruck by the small yet profound ways nurses alleviated suffering.What is a small yet profound way a nurse—or another kind of caregiver—has alleviated your suffering?
2. Reflecting on the beautiful and exhausting work of her profession, Christie admits, “The job does take a chunk of your own soul if you want to do it properly.” What kind of permission do you hear in Christie’s words—permission to be tired, permission to refuel, permission to give more of yourself?
3. At the moment, Christie says, you can pick your existential problem because there are so many threats around the world. What existential problem most keeps you up at night? What “group project” most gets you up in the morning? What does it feel like to live so aware of our interdependence?
4. Christie tells the story of a nurse named Rachael who said of the people she cared for, “If we’re busy judging them, we don’t have time to love them.” What can you learn from Rachael about a love that loves indiscriminately, a love that erases distinctions between you and me?
5. Christie has a bit of an issue with the word empathy. She thinks it’s impossible to know what it feels like to live in someone else’s skin. But compassion—which means to suffer with—feels more realistic. Whose suffering are you currently suffering with? How has being a witness effected you?
6. With the rise of COVID, Christie volunteered to nurse again, although she’s not entirely sure why. “Maybe this is a calling after all,” she reflects. What do you think she means by that? Has a calling ever called you to do something that made no sense otherwise?
7. Being on the front lines of the pandemic was traumatic for Christie and her two teens. “But the nature of nursing,” she says, “is that no one is ever, ever alone”—even when it means putting your own kids at risk in order to love strangers. How do you love strangers in your everyday life? What do you risk?
8. One way of dealing with the intensity of our life and work is a skill called reflective practice. Christie describes it as “a sort of conscious thinking or writing or talking about an experience” that allows you to analyze it and allow it to settle. How might you take on the work of a scribe during this wild time?
9. Nurses need a pay raise. But more than that, they need active listeners, people who can sit them down, at an appropriate time, and ask them how they are, and when they say they’re fine, ask them again. So, make a list. Who are you committed to asking and asking again how they’re doing?
10. Kate ends the podcast with an ode to bad investments. “Loving people can be the most meaningful thing in the world, but it can also be hard and scary and boring and disgusting or sad or anxiety inducing with zero overtime.” So, given this, what terrible math will you practice today?
Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate & Christie’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?