'Caring at Its Essence': HIV Nurses Recall Pivotal Moments With Patients

November 8, 2017


Theresa Minukas RN, B.S.N.

Theresa Minukas RN, B.S.N.

Minukas is a registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

There's this HIV/hep[atitis] C-coinfected patient who also has a raging crystal meth addiction. He would cycle in through the emergency room pretty much every other day [talking about] his skin crawling, which is a symptom of methamphetamine use. [He] was not taking his HIV meds, was about to be kicked out of his housing, and his whole life was about to fall apart.

When he came in to talk about these things, I sat with him and I listened to him talk about the sensation of his skin, and for the first time in probably three or four years somebody actually listened to him, and didn't make him feel crazy about it -- validated the fact that, yes, this is real, but also, what are we going to do about it?

After a lot of work, and a lot of sitting there listening to him talk about his skin, he is now taking his HIV meds; we've cured his hepatitis C; he's in mental health counseling. He's engaged in his sobriety, and I don't really know where he would be without that.

Related Stories

A Nurse-Led Adherence Intervention for HIV Works and Saves Money
Nurses Are Primary HIV Care Providers, But Go Unrecognized and Unsupported
Ottawa Study Finds Nurse-Led PEP Clinic Works

This article was provided by It is a part of the publication The 30th Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Conference.

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.