Nurses experience all kinds of strange, life-changing encounters that stay with them for the rest of their lives. These kinds of moments balance out all the long hours and added stress that come with being a nurse. They often inspire nurses to keep working for years to come, despite all the challenges they have to deal with.
If you could use a pick-me-up mid-shift, these heartwarming stories will help remind you why you chose this field to begin with.
I once had a DNR patient actually come out of his coma during my shift. He walked out of the place a month later.
I walked into a patient’s room, both he and his wife were crying. I asked what happened? The MD had just left and said the man was going to be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. It’s not what they had hoped for.
I said, “Maybe you should get another opinion – You know, find an MD that feels you can improve.” I explained that you can fire your MD if you don’t have faith in him.
The patient was discharged during my days off, & I forgot about them. About 3 months later, here he comes down the hall using a walker with his wife following with a beaming smile. They had moved to a different part of the state, found a new MD that had a different view.
They knew he still had a long way to go in rehab, but he was thrilled beyond belief that his new MD had a better approach. They thanked me for my candor about finding a new MD that thought differently.
It’s been 20 years since then, and this remains a great story in MY mind.
When a patient in the emergency dept. took out tiles from the ceiling and escaped into the crawl space. They later found him and brought him back safely. It makes for a memory though.
The time I saved three lives because I listened to my gut instinct each time. One of the doctors involved later came back & apologized for not listening to me.
I saw a pediatric drowning, who was resuscitated after being pulseless at the bottom of a pool for an unknown amount of time. They started kindergarten one year later.
Standing my ground when there was a missing sponge during a routine c-section with the Chief of OB GYN. The Provider insisted that the initial count must have been off, but I knew better. While going up my chain of command (calling the Nursing Supervisor), I refused to provide the next layer’s suture until the peritoneum was reopened so the ABD cavity could be searched.
After a brief standoff, the peritoneum was reopened and guess whose side the sponge was found on??? Fast forward 15 years from that incident… I’m now in a leadership position and attending a mandatory route cause analysis meeting on foreign bodies left inside during surgical cases.
That Provider tells the story of how I stood my ground during such an incident and spared the patient significant harm. She stated how that one incident changed the way she practiced and how she taught residents about surgical procedures. I never knew that last part until hearing it in that meeting.
Performing the Heimlich maneuver on a resident successfully and getting to hug her every day since, knowing I saved her life.
The way she looks at me now, her eyes… This is why we do what we do.
I’d been a nurse for only two months when I was working in the Neuro ICU. My patient was a 19-year-old guy deemed “brain dead” from a truck accident. His 17-year-old wife had to make the decision to turn off his ventilator. His parents are on one side of the bed screaming at her, her parents are on the other side of the bed crying and holding her hand.
After 3 days of arguing, the wife made the hard decision to turn the ventilator off. Forty years later I still remember her bravery.
I held the hand of a patient when she died who was actually the midwife that delivered me as a baby when I wasn’t breathing. 💔
Spending over 30 minutes with a 10-year-old little girl with high anxiety. When I finally gave her the shot, she didn’t even flinch. I had her equally highly anxious 7-year-old brother the week before.
The touch of alcohol on his skin stopped all the yelling and screaming. He took the shot like a champ!
There was an elderly lady who had no family here. She had signed her own DNR. We were in the OR to repair her broken hip. Before we could begin, she suddenly grabbed her chest with one hand. She reached for me and grabbed my hand. She slipped away. Gone. I held her hand next to my heart.
Thanks to all the nurses who shared their memorable moments online.