What was your defining moment as a nurse?

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

As nurses, we’re put in potentially life changing situations nearly every day. Most often someone in your care’s life is changed, but other times your own life is significantly altered through the course of your day. The greatest challenge and reward of being a nurse is that these two things often overlap.

While big moments can come every day, what are the biggest moments, those you’ll never forget that leave your life forever different – both personally and professionally? Over on allnurses.com, a nurse has written an extremely moving article titled simply, “My defining moment as a nurse…

It’s rare that we can pinpoint the exact moment when big changes in our lives occur, but the nurse practitioner telling her story can: It was 4:47 p.m. on a Wednesday. And it didn’t occur in a hospital.

Instead, the moment came when the nurse was out on maternity leave and received a call from her pediatrician informing her that her new baby daughter may have a potentially fatal disease.

“[D]espite over a decade of critical care experience, I was for the first time paralyzed with fear,” the author writes.

Though the events happened outside her workplace, the lingering effects would go on to inform her professional career when she returned to her job.

“No longer do I complain when it’s busy, complain when I am burdened, or have to stay late, or write an extra note, or bail out someone else’s patient who needs ICU care,” she writes. “As a nurse practitioner, I save lives. I used to take it for granted. Now, it defines and fulfills me.”

What is your most defining moment as a nurse? How did it change you? Share your stories of inspiration in the comment section below.

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3 Responses to What was your defining moment as a nurse?

  1. I’ve had many defining moments as a nurse.
    One of the most memorable was when I washed a patient’s feet and she changed from a hateful woman to a pleasant and peaceful sweet little old lady. It showed me that simple caring acts can change people and ultimately the world. I don’t think I will ever forget her for teaching me this lesson.

  2. Humanbean

    I had a moment with one of my patients, wherein this resident got up in the middle of the night, and as I held his hand and led him back to his bed, I asked him if he was tired, to which he replied “yes.” After he climbed head first into his bed, and hugged his pillow, I tucked him in and told him “good night, I’ll see you in the morning.” He sighed contentedly, and with a peaceful smile, said “good night”. In that moment, he was at peace; he wasn’t ten years old missing his mom, confused at where he was, he was content and able to rest. That was my most defining moment, where I knew I’d chosen the right career.

  3. mich9510

    This actually happened as a student. There was a frail elderly woman on the telemetry unit at the hospital I had clinicals at. She had been there for a few days and I was doing her a.m. care for a fellow student. All I knew about her was that she was septic and no one knew why. She appeared to be in a lot of pain but was unable to specify where due to a decreased LOC. She had been cultured and scanned from top to bottom. I proceeded to bath her leaving her feet for last. As I look off her socks off (which appeared to be her own socks, not the usual hospital issue), the smell hit me. I found her source of infection. Her toenails had grown so long that they curled down and underneath her toes and we’re growing into her skin. To this day I have never seen anything like that. I alerted my instructor and we got a podiatrist to come in and see her. That showed me and everyone on the floor just how important it is to have a good assessment skills and look at everything on the patient.

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