Nurses Share Their Favorite Patient Stories, and We’re Tearing Up

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Patients come and go, but some of the people that you treat will likely stay in your mind forever. Nurses may get to know thousands of people over the course of their careers. These can be some of the most rewarding and surprising relationships of their lives. There’s nothing like a bond between a nurse and the person that depends on them. From heartwarming encounters to hilarious quips and ridiculous exchanges, nurses from all over the world shared their best patient experiences:

Admitting an elderly man, wife with him. “Are you allergic to anything?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied. Asked him what, expecting it to be some medication or food. “Ugly women,” he said. I was buckled and he got slapped by his wife 😂

– Robert D.

An elderly patient that was actively dying and struggling, despite being given liquid morphine. I laid down in the bed with her and held her hand and kissed her on the forehead. She then relaxed and stopped breathing. I still get chills thinking about it.

– Patti W.

One of my favorite ever psych patients was this kinda know-it-all manic guy, very concrete but also very funny. One day out of nowhere, he just falls backward and cracks his head on the floor. Turned out he was doing a trust fall with Jesus 😂😂 he was a good patient though. He actually helped out a lot in the milieu.

– Megan R.

Had a patient that was actively dying, and family wasn’t there yet. I went in to check on her and knew she was taking her last breaths, so I held her hand and touched her face and she was gone. When I called her husband to tell him she passed I let him know that I was with her. He started to cry and said thank you for being with her as she went to heaven.

– Charlene C.

The adorable, 90 some yr old dementia pt who called me “Doll Face” and said “somethin’ keeps a pullin’ on my man parts.” I made many trips into his room to try and explain why he shouldn’t pull on his catheter!😂🤣

– Tina L.

Doing home care with a preemie. She finally had the vent removed, working with the Passy Muir Valve, and I tried to get her to come with me for bath time. She cried “Naaa,” so I stopped and mom, with tears in her eyes from hearing her now nearly 2-year-old make noise for the very first time, said, “No! Do it again!”

– Wendy N.

I was pregnant and looking after a lady who was so, so sick. She was on dialysis, had to have a leg amputated and a PEG feed, as she had lost such a lot of weight. No one was expecting her to pull through; she was waiting for a kidney transplant no one thought she would get. After returning from maternity leave, I was on the ward, and someone called my name. I didn’t recognize the lady walking towards me at first – then realized it was my former patient!!!She’d had her transplant, a prosthetic leg, and was a healthy weight! Such an amazing, brave lady and it was a beautiful moment to see her life completely transformed.

– Anna H.

That one patient who never pressed the call bell…

– Reena S.

Multiple GSW, into the heart, arrested twice on the table, got 50+units of blood and plasma, young mother of 18-month-old. Two days later sitting up in the ICU bed chatting on the phone! Really, a miracle!

– Marnie A. R.

Mom who had an emergency c-section, baby coded, and she passed an amniotic clot. Went into DIC, came to ICU and was mass transfused on 3 pressors. Taken back to OR for cauterization and 2.5 liters evacuated from her abdomen. She and her baby made a full recovery.

– Sara E.

critical care unit; he wanted to fight because his wife had Alzheimer’s and he didn’t want her to be on her own. He survived and came back to the ward. It was a fantastic feeling discharging him.

– Helen C. M.

I was doing an immunization clinic and had just given a 5-year-old boy his shots for school. He wasn’t happy but he wasn’t crying. As he left the room, he said, “I am going to have my dad shut this place down.”

– Janet T.

After getting a very confused patient with MS settled and comfy after his meal, I asked him if there was anything else he needed or wanted before I left. He said no. I turned to leave when suddenly he grabbed my arm a little too hard and said, “Thank you for everything you did for me. What’s your name?” I told him my name. He loosened his grip on my arm, smiled and said, “I hope I never forget you, but I know I will as soon as you leave.”

– Abby P.

Nursing is anything but predictable. A big thanks to everyone that shared their patient experiences. These responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Share your story in the comments section below!

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Sometimes comedy can save the day, or help relieve a patients stress.
    I was caring for a post-op 30ish male, who was unable to urinate . I explained that I would then need to straight-cath him to empty his bladder. He replied, “Is it going to hurt?” while making a face suggesting fear. My reply: “I’m not going to be making a new hole” He and his wife laughed and that seemed to ease his tension.

  2. after 49 years….so many stories. while working on an Ortho/Trauma unit one evening, I was checking on a 20-something young man who had injured his arm and had a lengthy slash on it, he was post-op and as I was evaluating him, he seemed down. upon further questioning, he stated he was afraid that his girlfriend would drop him because of how his arm would look. I sat down and just talked with him, and as the conversation was ending…I told him that if she rejected him because of this, then she just was not the right one for him. Fast forward a couple years, I ran into him at a local bar near the hospital and he thanked me for our previous conversation and showed me his arm and I told him how good it looked. fast forward many, many years later (maybe 20), I ran into him again at an event I was participating in for our Hospital. He again was thankful for the time I had taken to sit and talk with him that day of his injury. Sometimes we never know how our care impacts our patients… another time I was caring for an 80ish woman several days in a row and who was so sweet. One day, when I came in to care for her, she told me she left me a note. She wrote, in very shaky handwriting…Denise my guardian angel. I still have that note.

  3. I was a pediatric nurse for over 40 years. Once I had a 14 year old patient with severe Cystic Fibrosis. I went into to change his IV fluids and found a goldfish swimming in the fluids. I just about fainted!!!!!! Seems his friends had obtained extra IV equipment and hung the fluids to look like it went into his arm. Will never forget that minute.

  4. Was working in triage in the emergency room. A patient came in and said, ” I took some nitroglycerin cuz I wanted to see if my head would explode.” But all he got was a headache and low blood pressure. Clearly needed a check up from the neck up.
    Second person ( grandmother) came in with a child about 8. Says , ” his fever is 350 degrees. ”
    When I asked how she got that number. She replies. ” I felt of the stove, it was on 360. His head felt the same, so its 350 degrees and thought he needed to see a doctor ” Gotta love it !!!

  5. I had a 94 year old woman with dementia. One day I has having a hot flash and she asked what was wrong. I told her I was having a hot flash to which she replied “I hope I don’t get them when I get old”. Took all I had not to break out laughing

  6. I was having a difficult time keeping up with an over scheduled day in a private Gyn Oncology practice. Patients were complaining about the wait. Some for more than an hour. I knew most of the patients. Some for years. One particular patient tended to be a bit demanding and I avoided eye contact as I could see that she was trying to get my attention. She finally stopped me dead in my tracks in the middle of the crowded waiting room with a full audience. She demanded that turn around with my back facing the the patients. She could see that I was exhausted and with a hug said “I wanted everyone to see your angel wings” I cried ugly tears…

  7. I had a patient at VA nursing home he had dementia and never interacted w/other patients or nurses. I would give him a bed bath. Wash his hair, trim his beard and just sit with him. He died 30 min before my shift, the other nurses waited for me to get there before they tied and bagged him. I said my goodbyes to him and at that very moment the lights in his room flickered, not anywhere else in the unit, just his room while I was there. I felt very blessed and happy.

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