Nursing News

CNS First Time Poet Pens “When the Masks all Come Off” In Response To Pandemic

You might say the pen is not only mightier than the sword but it is mightier than a pandemic too.

Words have power.  The power to comfort and heal.  Much like the role – or the power  — of a nurse.

The words of Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Jennifer Dorman’s poem titled “When The Masks Come Off” have that power too.

The poem, reproduced below, serves as an outlet to express the many feelings triggered by the pandemic while looking ahead to a brighter future.

Why A Poem?

Like others, the pandemic turned Dorman’s typical day in the Medical ICU at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, NJ onboarding and educating critical care staff upside down.  It was an unsettling and stressful time.  In response, Dorman did something she had never done before.

She wrote a poem.

“I wrote the poem in late March at the height of the pandemic,” said Dorman.  “I was feeling lost, scared and didn’t know how to express my emotions. I usually turn to baking for stress relief, but I couldn’t find any flour in the stores for weeks, so this was the next best thing!  The poem was also shared at my hospital, and read aloud by our Chief Nursing Officer at Safety Huddle.”

Dorman says what she loves most about being a CNS is the multiple roles she experiences on a daily basis such as collaborator, educator, leader and mentor. It is this variety, flexibility and the connection with staff that keeps her excited and engaged at work.

Two Fun Facts About Jennifer Dorman

  • Food: Dorman loves to cook, bake and photograph food. She started a food blog recently.
  • Standing Ovation: She and fellow colleagues received a standing ovation after their 2017 NACNS Annual Conference presentation on understanding and recognizing the CNS role.


“When the Masks all Come Off”
By Jennifer Dorman

Your eyes are my guide
To the smile I cannot see
Your voice keeps me calm
Behind all the PPE

The lines on our faces
Stay long after it’s gone
Two loops and a shield
Forever we will don

Tie me up, tie me tight
No skin left exposed
Battle ground scars
On our cheeks and our nose

Is that you? Is this me?
We fight for our lives
Who knew so many heroes
Wore N95’s

I long for the day
When we have our last doff
I’ll see you all soon
When the masks all come off