Then there are the “firsts” themselves—we don’t need to tell you about the dramatic range of these experiences. Whether they’re traumatic, inspirational or downright bizarre, they certainly have a way of keeping nurses on their toes. Because we know that a nurse’s “firsts” are so often memorable, we wanted to hear about some of your most, well, impressive inaugural moments.
As always, your fellow nurses’ responses did not disappoint.
Side note: If there’s one conclusion we can take away from all the not-so-light reading we did, it’s that although nurses have a lot to worry about, boredom is not high up on that list.
“The first body I ever had to prepare for the morgue was shortly after graduation and I’d never handled a dead body before. We rolled the patient to place the body bag underneath him and a loud groan of air escaped his lungs, and I dropped everything and ran for the hills! The nurse I was with could hardly talk, she was laughing so hard.”
“First time a patient sneezed up all their puréed pizza all over my nice white scrubs. In nursing school! Haha. First day of clinicals.”
“Had a patient with a radical neck dissection with a trach and feeding tube—he would escape the hospital, go to the local bar and pour beer down his tube!”
“First day of nursing school in the hospital…the very first thing my teacher made me do was bathe a 500-pound man. You haven’t had a bad day until you’ve had to bathe a 500-pound man while he’s trying to argue politics.”
“I remember the first (and last) time I tried to reorient a patient (like the nursing text says you should). It’s also the first time I got hit in the back with a telephone. Never again…when someone tells me it’s 1924, I smile nicely and write down, ‘Pt is not oriented to time.’”
“First time giving PEDs shots, nearly cried afterward.”
“Showering my first heavy-set geriatric. She instructed me to lift ‘the girls’ really high and scrub big-time…AWWWWKWARD!”
“While in nursing school I had to give a vitamin K shot to a newborn. I was so nervous I forgot to make sure the needle was on tight to the syringe. I pulled the syringe out and the needle stayed in the baby. I was horrified, but the baby didn’t even cry. My instructor said he’s a tough little booger.”
“I remember the first time I felt proud of a patient. She was a 15-year-old laboring patient during my preceptorship and she birthed her son with such strength, grace and determination. I couldn’t hold back the tears watching someone that young maturing right before my eyes. She looked like a powerful goddess that morning!”
“My nursing first: a geropsychiatric patient who managed to swing her Foley bag like a lasso and hit me up the side of my head with it.”
“My first day of clinicals in nursing school…I was chosen to straight cath an elderly man. I passed out cold and had to sit in the chair of shame at the nurses’ station for an hour.”
“First time doing CPR. Fourteen-year-old car accident victim. I was a 16-year-old nurse aide.”