14 favorite moments in nursing

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Nursing certainly has its ups and downs, but the happy moments make the profession worthwhile. Here is a collection of quotes from nurses as they reflect on the best moments of their career.

1. “The ‘ups’ of nursing are when a discharged patient and his family knock on the ICU door with heartfelt thanks to you and your team for taking good care of their family member. Those simple gestures of gratitude lift you up and make you say to yourself, ‘I’m glad to be a nurse because I made a difference!’”
—Nonoisky Adle

2. “I love nursing. Today I managed a patient’s pain and she was hungry (she has gastric cancer)! She said it was the first time she’s had an appetite in a long time.”
—Carrie Garcia

3. “I am a student nurse. One day at clinical, I was going crazy trying to get information for my care plan when I heard someone yell, ‘I have to go to the bathroom!” This was not my patient, and I looked around hoping there was someone who was going to go into the room. Again I heard the patient yell, ‘Bathroom please!’

“I looked at my fellow classmates and said, ‘I have a feeling this will take a while.’ I walked into the room, and behind the curtain (in a room by herself) was a 65-year-old Down’s patient. My heart immediately melted as I have a sister with Down’s syndrome. She was soaked! She said, ‘Bathroom please,’ with a frustrated face.

“She was shivering because she had been sitting in urine for so long and needed a bath. It took me and two classmates to bathe her—she was terrified and a bit uncooperative. By the end of the longest bath (well, besides my very first) that I have ever given, she went from barely speaking to joking and laughing.

“I ended up leaving clinical that day 40 minutes late, but the smile on her face was priceless. I know I will probably have many more experiences to speak of, but at the end of my career, I know I will remember the first day I knew I truly made a patient’s day a better one.”
—Patty Haisman

4. “Not too long ago as a student nurse, I had to be my patient’s advocate. My patient was in a lot of pain and showed all physical signs, too (grimacing, grunting, fidgeting, etc.). The patient’s ‘real’ nurse was very busy when the doctor was making rounds, so it was up to me to be my patient’s voice. After the doc did his exam, I stated to him that this patient had been in a lot of pain, even after the prescribed meds (8 on a scale of 10). Doc cut me off…I felt so ‘little.’ Later the doc pulled me aside and praised my actions for being the patient’s advocate. He explained that he cut me short because he trusted my judgment, because I presented my story with solid medical facts and observations. WOO HOO!”
—Dawn Angiulli

5. “I came out of school and went straight to the MICU. Once, we admitted a man who had been hit in the head with a TV set. He was older, had a dent in his skull and was comatose. Every day that I worked, I talked to him, opened the blinds and encouraged him. A couple of months later, he woke up and I got to feed him an orange popsicle. WOW!!”
—Elaine Hutto

6. “With my first patient death, I wasn’t ready for all the emotions. I didn’t think I did anything different—just the same as I could have done with any other resident. But after many months have passed, the sons of my resident still come and look for me to say hi when they come and visit their mother. And every time they are so grateful for the care. That touches my heart deeply and I know I will always keep this family in heart!!!”
—Sandra Milena Toro Lujan

7. “With my first job after passing boards, the eagerness to help others was overwhelming! There have been so many moments when I have been truly happy to be a nurse! I am happy every day to help others, even when the exhaustion sets in! To make another feel better is the most wonderful feeling in my soul! It lights me up!”
—JoBeth Brown

8. “I went to St. Thomas as a traveling nurse and learned more about nursing than [from] books, clinical and other conditions such as running out of medicines (OOS). It wasn’t all the fancy meds and equipment that kept the patients alive. Being able to spend more time at bedside with the patient and family was what helped put a smile on my face.”
—Laura Jean Hall

9. “One of my favorite moments was discharging a baby I had cared for from the NICU (where I worked) after seven long and stressful months. It was great to finally see her parents put her in a car seat and drive away!”
—Kim Grenkiewicz Carty

10. “I was truly happy that I became a nurse when my mother-in-law asked me to come look at a scraped knee that a little boy in her daycare had. He wouldn’t let my MIL or his own mom look at it, but because I was a nurse, he let me look at it. I felt like I had magical powers even though it was something as simple as a scraped knee!”
—Kati Gertken

11. “It’s the thought that you’re one of the privileged professionals to witness a little angel pass through the tunnel of life and be the first to attest their first breath on this planet Earth. You’ll welcome those little angels to this wonderful world from an awe-inspiring profession: nursing. I love being a nurse!”
—Mark Joseph Hernandez

12. “I was very happy the first time in a delivery room. It was a young couple who had lost previous infants through difficult pregnancies and they wanted this baby so badly. Once the head started to crown, I had to catch the father so he wouldn’t hit the floor. Then when the baby was out, we all cried. I will never forget that feeling and the look on the parents’ faces seeing their beautiful baby girl. Priceless.”
—Donna Margin

13. “Mine was when I had a patient who was (I won’t use the word ‘mean,’ so let’s say he was ‘ornery’)…very ornery. One morning he choked and was turning blue, gasping. I couldn’t get my arms around him because he was so big, so I hit him hard on the back and almost knocked him out of his chair many times. The item flew out of his mouth and across the room. I was crying and apologized for hitting him so hard when he motioned for me to come close. I did so very carefully, not sure what he was going to do, when he kissed me on the cheek and said, ‘Thank you.’ Every time he was ornery from then on, I tried to remember how he really was. I love my job.”
—Lisa Westbrook

14. “Anytime a patient looks at me and just says, ‘Thank you so much’—that makes it all worth it.”
—Ali Hernandez

What’s been your happiest moment as a nurse?

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8 Responses to 14 favorite moments in nursing

  1. Pamela

    I am a night shift home health nurse – one patient full time…so my happiest moments are when I ask my terminally ill patient,”how is everything?” just before I leave his room, and he smiles and says everything is good. If he can smile…I know there is nothing in my life that cannot be overcome.

  2. cecil

    I took care of a male patient with ESRD,i was about to put the bp cuff on him but he says,”dont take my blood pressure Im going to die anyway”. And I replied,”not on my watch mister”.He smiled at me and silently stretch his arm for me to take the bp.my heart leaps with joy with such simple gesture from my patient.

  3. T Hendricks

    I had taked care of this lady (frequent flyer), very nice lady. I had take care of her several times and on this addmision I had been off for a couple of days and was getting report on her and was told she was getting too much pain meds and was sleeping all the time, When I went in to access her, I could not believe it was her. She looked like she had gained20 pounds in 2 days.I called the Dr. to tell him what was going on with her, and the Dr told the patient and me that if I hadn’t been so persistant about her weight gain, SOB, and being lartharic, she would have died. She was in CHF and was in the ICU for a while. But everytime I took care of her after that, she would always think me for saving her life.

  4. sissy

    IM a CNA, just thought of seeing them smile and telling me they miss me when im gone is the greatest gift in the world. I love being a CNA.

  5. Mitchie

    When we had our completion duty at LR/DR, there was this young woman in active labor. She’s pushing her baby the wrong way making it more painful and harder for the baby to pass out. Then I encouraged her how to push efficiently till her cervix became fully dilated. After 30 minutes, I am getting her vitals at the RR and she suddenly hold my hand and say, ‘Thank You!’. My heart pound and felt happy because she appreciated my help.

    Right then, I know my worth as a nurse. A nurse working with her patient, to achieve their ‘optimum level of well-being’. 😀

  6. Arlene

    I was a young nurse working in a state mental hospital. I worked so hard with this teen age girl and wanted so bad for her to get well. She had everything to live for. She was bipolar and was up and down and was a frequent patient in the hospital. She cut herself and was at times abusive to others. I talked for hours with her thru the months and years of our relationship as nurse and patient. I was pregnant with my son when she made him a small gift in O.T. I left that job to have my baby. I didn’t think much about Rose as the years passed. Eighteen years later my son was killed in an auto accident.. Needless to say I was devastated. I was standing at my son’s casket when I felt this tap on my shoulder. It didn’t take long for me to recognize who it was. It was my patient of years ago extending her sympathy thanking me for what I did to help her in her time of need. She was married now and had a son of her own and with medication was doing well. Losing my son was the worst thing that ever happened to me but having Rose tell me what I did for her made me proud to be a nurse. My son would have been proud also. Sometimes we don’t know the good we have done..

  7. Sandy Grambow

    My Mother-in-law and I never saw eye to eye but during her end of life I happened to be with her and my sister-in-law at a doctor’s appointment. After her exam she had soiled herself and my sister-in-law could not clean her up so I volunteered. While cleaning her up I felt a little awkward and embarrased for my MIL. She asked me if I ever thought I would be doing this for her. I answered “no.” She chuckled and we both began to laugh and I think at that moment for the first time she “got me.” If I had not been a nurse I don’t think I would have had that opportunity to bond with my MIL. It was too bad it was so late but after that experience we seemed to come to an understanding of one another. God bless her!

  8. Steph

    I had a patient that had been on the floor for a month or so. He was confused at times, and incontinent most of the time, despite being A&O and continent when he came in. He had a partial colectomy and the abdominal incision had dihisced. He wouldn’t eat and was on a calorie count. He was obviously in pain but refused pain meds. I talked to him about pain control and let him know that it was okay to take meds for pain. He took one Lortab and by lunch he was sitting up, using a urinal and eating his lunch. He was also smiling and having a conversation with me. When I told him goodbye for the day, he said thank you t and called me his guardian angel. It’s one of the moments in nursing that brings a smile to face and make me forget the frustrations and the back-breaking work we do. It makes me proud to be a nurse