When You Experience Synchronicity With a Patient or a Peer

We have all had that kind of connection with a patient, a nurse peer or an acquaintance that creates a bolt of energy through you. That prompts a “me too” or “how did they know?”


As nurses, we connect with people more deeply in their lives, sometimes in a fleeting moment, where subjectivity and vulnerability are more real.   These conditions create more opportunity for these staggering events. Sometimes, we may not realize it, at the moment.

Synchronicity is when events or thoughts or statements come together that have no obvious causal connection, which we experience as a meaningful connection on a subjective level; it’s a meeting point of internal and external realities.


Physicists, psychologists and philosophers have defined synchronicity as a part of the mystery of complexity science.

Our work is filled with mystery. How many times have you done something as a routine action and later discovered that it had a profound impact on the other? You as a nurse have changed someone’s life because of how it significantly connected to their reality.

“Spiritual forces are embedded in all reality, and mystery is present in all aspects of life. Everywhere, unknown influences, relationships, and intersections exist just beneath the surface of the actual and operate synergistically to continue the movement of change.” Porter-O’Grady and Malloch, p 497.

As nurses, we are always sensing the potential intersections of elements of what the patient is experiencing and how we can connect. Through this sense we are sometimes called to give language to the experience for the patient, family and ourselves. This helps us stay aware of the greater mystery to which everything relates.


Yet, as we know, all visible and invisible elements of the mystery are not always evident.

This is our journey as nurses, learning to understand this journey while facilitating the experiences of others.

I had just this experience yesterday when meeting with a fellow nurse.  Our lives are full of such stories where we have connected unexpectedly with others and had our lives changed.  One synergistic moment after another…..  to include That moment.


Porter-O’Grady T, Malloch K. Quantum Leadership. 3rd ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2011.

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