In the delivery of care to your patients, what was or is your most rewarding experience?

While taking care of and assessing a three year old in pediatrics, I had a most rewarding experience. She was holding a sheet of smiley face stickers. She looked at me, peeled a sticker off and said, "You've been good!" I wore that sticker on my badge until it wore off. That was a truly rewarding experience to be appreciated by an innocent three year old! ~ MaryChris, RN

A couple of years ago, I was pulled to the fourth floor. This couple, (in their early thirties), had just had a baby boy. Both parents were only children, so there were no younger siblings, neices, or nephews. The mom had never baby-sat. They were from out of state and had no family nearby. The mom became very frustrated trying to breast feed. Upon entering the room, the baby was laying on the mother's lap flinging his arms and legs, while the mother was trying to drop her breast into his mouth. Both parents were frustrated and on the verge of crying, and both asked, "Why won't he nurse?" After wrapping the baby back up in a blanket, I proceeded to explain how babies needed to be kept warm and snuggled; how the room temperature is about twenty five degrees cooler than being inside the uterus. Then I showed the different positions that the baby could be held for nursing. In each position, the baby automatically began to nurse. The parents were in awe. Within an hour, I had a contented baby and two very grateful parents. Throughout the rest of the day and the next day, I answered questions for them. A few weeks later I received a note from them expressing their heartfelt thanks. It was nice to be able to do something, that as an IMC nurse, I normally don't get to. ~ Sue, RN

For a while I worked midnights on a surgical floor. Occasionally my patients had a hard time sleeping because they would be afraid of impending surgery. I would spend time with them, praying, and perhaps rubbing their back or their feet, and we would watch the sunrise together. I really felt they were comforted by the human touch we shared. This was my first affirmation that healing involved, body and spirit. ~ Mary, RN

While working in South America in a small clinic, I remember a bus pulling up and a frantic driver saying, "Senorita, a lady is having stomach pains on my bus". I ran out, examined the patient and realized that she did not have an acute abdomen, but a crowning baby. I had never worked L&D and that baby nearly delivered itself after I removed the cord twice around the neck. When we got her into the clinic, I passed out. They named the baby "Juanita" after me! ~ Jenna, RN

Early in my career I cared for a farmer who had lost his arm in a farming accident. One and a half to two weeks later his attitude was still "poor me". His recovery was at a standstill, frustrating his wife, toward whom he took out all his anger. After hearing his verbal tirade one evening, I very unprofessionally "told him off" sparing no words. I expected to be fired, but it turned out the be the catalyst needed for his recovery. ~ Sue, RN

I remember working one Christmas Eve, I was feeling sorry for myself. It was 2:00 AM. I went into the room of a patient. She was very ill (tubes, etc). I woke her up and said, "Merry Christmas". She gave me the most grateful smile and squeezed my hand. I knew I was in the right place that Christmas Eve. ~ Kathy, RN

In May of 1997, I took care of a gentleman for a couple of days, and on the last day we got to talking about his family and his wife. He told me his wife and him have been married for thirty one years and that he treats her like a princess. I said I was looking for someone like that. He said, "I have a son." It's now nine months later, that son is my boyfriend, and we are in love. ~ Natalie, RN

I spent the year my mom was dying teaching senior nursing students clinical practice. The year before my 1st grandson was born severely brain damaged, unable to suckle, turn, play or smile. I learned how important it is caring for those who can do little to nothing for themselves. While on the unit I taught, we cared for a mentally challenged woman who was spastic with little stimulation. When I approached with my nervous student, I simply reached for the patient, stroked her head and sang *You are my sunshine* as I did daily with my grandson who suffered from seizures immeasurably. The patient immediately calmed and sought for my voice and soft touch allowing my student to be calm and administer her meds via her peg tube. I didn't realize the effect I had on my student...I knew what it had done for my patient. In the yearbook that year, this student wrote that day in words as her most memorable experience. What we do for our patients, others also see and learn. Mentoring is important for our profession also. ~ Brenda, RN

Doing mouth to mouth on a child who stopped breathing on the way to the hospital. Had to chase the father around the big admitting lobby to get the child from him. After about ten puffs the child began to breath on his own, to my great relief! (And the father never did say a "Thank you", but I felt very satisfied.) ~ Alberta, RN

In ICU, I helped care for a nineteen year old, six months pregnant (high risk) girl who went into acute renal failure. We dialyzed her, sent her to OR for C-section. When she returned to our ICU she was unstable and went into DIC. Forty eight hours later she was still alive, she remained unresponsive. Three weeks later she was discharged to rehab. Two weeks later discharged to home. One year later she visited our ICU with baby. Both were doing great. We made a difference! ~ Sue, RN

I was caring for an elderly woman, legally blind, in frail health but keen mind. She had chosen nursing as her profession in 1930 and shared many experiences with me. One day in the course of care, she said to me, "My dear, I can not see you, but I would recognize that touch anywhere, it is so familiar to me, it is the touch of a nurse." ~ Karen, RN

The day one of my alert patients was trying to get my attention. I was in deep thought about another ill patient at the time and did not answer her quickly enough. My alert patient then yelled, "Mom!". I quickly looked at her like she was one of my own kids, and started laughing so hard that she starting laughing with me. Today as it stands, my resident still continues to call me mom, and I always respond. ~ Michelle, RN

Not one particular experience comes to mind but I have many patients in the hospital and home care that request me as their nurse. Have been told that I am like one of the family, and that I am a very caring and compassionate person. Have even cried with them on occasion, both happy and sad tears. Nursing overall is a rewarding experience. ~ Jessica, RN

Carleta was a beautiful thirty two year old woman from the Philippines. She was admitted to the GYN-ONC unit because she had ovarian cancer. I was a nurse only a year and was shocked with the reality that young, beautiful women do have life threatening illnesses. Being younger than Carleta, I only thought of the older person haing the life threatening illnesses. Carleta was a patient on the unit several times for her chemotherapy and multiple surgeries and procedures. When you have a patient that returns monthly you get to know them and their family real well. Carleta's husband would come and sit quietly in the background. He would bring her two year old daughter to visit with Carleta. For each admission, Carleta's mother would stay with her. We closed the room down to other patients so that her mother and family would have room to stay and visit. Carleta's mother would position the other bed in the room next to Carleta's so she could watch over her. We did everything we could to make this time easier for Carleta and her family. Extra patient meal trays would go to Carleta's room. I remember when Carleta had a Groshong catheter inserted while in her room. I held Carleta's hand as the doctor inserted it. Carleta yelled out in pain and cried. I held her hand and tried to comfort her as the tears rolled down my face. During the day that Carleta passed away, the family sensed that she was going to pass away and all came to the hospital. They walked into the room when Carleta took her last breath. Carletta's two year old daughter was sitting on the bed pulled close to hers and was screaming, "MOMMY, MOMMY!" This scene has stayed with us since. What I remember about Carleta was her beauty and grace. She had the most beautiful black shiny hair, and lost it all due to chemotherapy. She covered her head with baseball caps. She was also more difficult to care for and to accept her diagnosis, prognosis, and death because she was so young. The reality of life and death has no discrimination when it comes to age. Carleta was so young . . . ~ Cheryl, RN and Lori, RN

My most memorable patient was a 32 year old homosexual male with Aids. I knew him from diagnosis to death. He had a family who could not accept his lifestyle, or his disease. The last evening I took care of him he was is a confused state and was not doing very well medically. His mother said to me,"My son will die tonight, please be with him as my husband will not allow me to stay here to be with him". That night when he did pass on to heaven, I was by his side, holding his hand and stroking his forehead. He was the youngest patient I ever had die and was also the same age as I was. I will remember that night forever and realized the importance of not dying alone. ~ Christine, RN

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