14 favorite moments in nursing

Image: dobdesign | Veer

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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