It’s easy to get lost in the day to day strifes that come with Nursing. Ratios, pay, burnout. But you’re still here, making a difference. We asked our community for some quick inspiring stories that help them remember why they do, what they do.
Here are some nurses’ most memorable experiences from over the years:
Early in my career, I worked home care and worked with the same patient weekly for 25-28 years. You could say I felt like a part of their family. I went back to hospital nursing and took care of him on his last day as COVID-19 became too hard to fight.
I kept in contact by phone all that day with his family (they were thrilled I was there). I was also able to talk to him about specific family members by name and how they were all going to watch over his 25–30-year-old sons. He went to Heaven about 10 min before my shift ended. Quite a wonderful feeling.
For me, it was the first CA patient I had. The rest of the floor nurses hated him because of his “bad attitude.” The guy was only in his 50s, and his only living relative was a brother in another state, also battling cancer. He was very lonely and angry over knowing he’d never see his brother again. This was before smartphones. His doctor wouldn’t give him liquid morphine even though he was actively dying from his cancer. He would not leave the hospital again.
I repeatedly called the doctor for two days to get an order for more pain meds. I worked an extra three days just to be his nurse so I could be there for him. I would sit in his room every chance I got and let him talk about anything he wanted. He wasn’t mean to the staff, but he was angry and most of the staff took it personally. He didn’t want to die. I still remember him almost 13 years later.
One moment that sticks in my mind is when I was going over a patient’s meds as a home health nurse and got to an antipsychotic and asked the patient if he knew why he took this medication. The patient stated, “That one is for my eyes.”
I was confused because he’s been alert and oriented and pretty sharp so far. I paused and then said, “For your eyes?” He goes, “Yeah, if I don’t take it my eyes see lizards everywhere!” 😂
A lady I was caring for was dying and her only son was interstate and was not going to make it in time to be with her. I asked her “Would you like to phone your son and talk with him on the phone for a while?”
She was very weak, so I stood beside her and gently held the phone to her ear for half an hour while they told each other how much they loved each other. Some things are so important you just make them your top priority. 🥰
A young man, 28 years old, came into the surgery center for a biopsy and I recognized his last name. Though I wasn’t the nurse preparing him for surgery, I asked the anesthesiologist if I could walk with him to the operating room.
You see, I had gone to high school with his mother who died of breast cancer when he was nine years old. As we began our journey to the OR, I told him that I had known his mother and that I loved her. He stopped, shocked, and looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “You knew my mother?”
I felt at that moment, she was there for him, and I was that conduit of connection. I will never forget that powerful moment.
I got into a random Lyft. The driver said, “How’s nursing going?”
“You were the nurse taking care of me when I woke up in the ICU. I’ll never forget your face.”
To be fair, she could see my name and picture in the app. And I was also her nurse for the rest of the week until we downgraded her to PCU. But it took EVERYTHING I had not to break down crying.
A gentleman comes in requesting a wheelchair for his friend who’s hurt with a very calm and collected voice, so I ask if he can talk and is conscious and he said yes. So, I casually grabbed the wheelchair and headed over and I saw the patient in the back of the car guarding himself and I asked him if he’s capable of moving his legs and that I can help shift him into the wheelchair.
He agreed but said that his stomach hurts. As I do that, he moves his arms slightly and his intestines fall out… into my hands! Him and his friend were the calmest and collected duo I had ever seen considering he had just been fileted in a bar fight. Holding warm intestines in my hands is something I’ll never forget… Good thing it was instinct to put gloves on first.
Stay tuned for more memorable stories from nurses.