Your Most Memorable Nursing Moments

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

It should come as no surprise to you that nursing is an extremely unique occupation. On any given shift, you witness human kindness, pain, strength, suffering and even the occasional miracle. The shifts are long and the naps aren’t long enough, but there’s something inexplicably incredible about your work that keeps you coming back day after day.

We asked the nurses on our Facebook page to share memorable moments from the past year that will stay with them. Their stories had us grinning from ear to ear…and sometimes tearing up.

“Being part of the preemie’s journey is a gift every shift! No matter how hard…. But to pick one…probably two night shifts with one so adorable active preemie girl fighting for her life…then a few days later trying to do everything to help her (and her parents) as she lost her fight…”

—Martina B.

“An rt whom I had cared for from her admission many, many years ago as a ‘walkie-talkie’ with early signs of Alzheimer’s and was now basically non-communicative and sat in her gerichair staring blankly. I approached her one day as I made rounds as supervisor, having not seen her for over three months. I caressed her cheek as I leaned down to speak to her, and she raised her face, touched my cheek and said, ‘You came back, you always come back. I love you.’ The floor nurses gasped as I stood crying like a baby. Those moments make EVERYTHING worth it!”

Lisa R.

“A patient allowed myself and my clinical student friends to watch as a cyst on the genitals was cleaned and packed. Very thankful as we were a co-ed group and it was such a private area. Kudos to that patient!”

—Cris L.

“STEMI patient’s family asking me to be with them as they let him go as I’d been with them since admit even though he wasn’t mine that night. Such an impact on my heart.”

—Kelly C.

“Telling a mother who had been severely burned trying to reach her children in a house fire that her children were all alive and doing very well. She had lingered in limbo (for lack of better words) for a week and she almost instantly made a complete turnaround and came back up to life.”

—Jennifer C.

Now it’s your turn: What was your most meaningful on-the-job moment this year? Drop your story in a comment below!

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I am 88 years old and still maintain my RN license which I received in 1955. My nursing background (which in the 1950’s included a 3 month OR rotation) was taken in career preparation to become a hospital administrator, an 8 year academic journey. I retired as a major medical center CEO at age 67. After I retired my wife (also a nurse) of 47 years passed away when I was age 72. I was very despondent following her passing. At that time I shared with a physician associate that had been a medical director for Medical Ministry International that I would join his medical/surgical team on future missions. He asked that I participate as an OR RN. I shared that I would happily serve as a truck driver, or otherwise, but not as an RN, due to the passing of 40 years since I had last practiced nursing. Long short story short, I spent the next 6 months taking comprehensive nursing CEU’s and a tutorial in OR technique, followed by participating in multiple missions as an OR scrub nurse. What better way to help others! After a shaky start at the OR table, I comfortably found my way and place at the table, and being an OR team member was “wonderful”.

    More important than the above was the extraordinary spiritual uplifting that I experenced as the mission progressed. Not withstanding the benefit to the many patients served, was the realization the I had benefited so greatly through the spiritual uplifing which has been with me over all these years since the mission experience. God has gifted us with physical gifts, such as my nursing skills, as well as spiritual gifts, both of which helped my so greatly after my wife’s passing. This has been one of the most significant spiritual experiences of my life! I have been blessed.

  2. I have tears in my eyes from reading Greg’s letter! I, too, have had a similar(s) feeling during my hospice nurse experience. I graduated from nursing school in the early 60’s and done many types of nursing in my more than 50 years in the field but my most special memories are from my time with hospice in Miami. The different ways you know that your patient is nearing the end of their life here on earth and will be going on are memorable, indeed!! From visits from angels to a visit from a beloved grandparent (the patient was in her late 70’s), have answered a question that many of us have had. God loves us so much, that He does not want us making the transition on our own! He wants us to know our loved one’s are waiting for us and we need not be afraid! My favorite tale comes from a crusty youngster ( 68) said when I walked in, “My Aunt was here last night and told me it wasn’t going to be long, so let’s get this show on the road!” (His Aunt had been dead for 20 years!)

  3. Many months ago I had an experience with a patient I was caring for, that I can only describe as a Divine/God moment. This patient had been diagnosed with one of the more rare and difficult to treat forms of cancer medical science knows about, and had a severe reaction to her initial chemo treatment that wiped out about 90% of her short-term memory.

    I cared for her, along with another Hospice Nurse, for almost 2 1/2 weeks in 12-hour shifts. One of the issues we encountered and had to help her with was she would get very tired of being in bed and would ask to sit up on the side of the bed, regularly. One of the challenges we had in letting her sit up on the side of the bed was she would often try to stand up from there, without warning, forgetting she didn’t have the strength in her legs to support herself.

    Well, one afternoon she was more adamant about sitting up on the side of her bed than she normally was. Now her bed was positioned perpendicular to one wall and about 4 feet away from and parallel to another wall. Against this other wall, and facing the side of her bed was a bedside commode. So, with the help of her partner, I assisted this patient to where she was sitting on the side of her bed, and after positioning the bedside commode to where it was in line with her, I put the lid of the bedside commode down and sat on it to where my knees were in line with and touching hers, so I could keep her safe in the event she suddenly tried to stand up.

    While I was sitting there, I had my forearms resting on my thighs with my hands on my knees. After a few minutes, my patient took hold of both of my hands, which was unusual for her. Many times, when she was lying or reclining in bed, I had held her hand when she appeared to need some comforting, but she had never really clasped my hand during those times.

    After a couple of minutes had passed, She started asking me – “Is it time to go? Can we go now?” In response, I asked her in what direction she wished to go. She motioned in the direction over my left shoulder. Now remember, behind me was a solid wall. So, I asked her if she was seeing a trail or pathway in that direction she wished to go down. She said yes. I then asked her if she thought at the end of the pathway, she would find what she was looking for. Again, she said yes. Not being sure of what to say, or how to respond, I remained quiet, but kept holding her hands. Another couple of minutes went by and then all of a sudden she began to get really agitated, stating, “Games! Games! The games!” The rules!?”. In trying to calm her, and let her know I was trying to understand what was going on, I stated, “So, you”re seeing people playing games?”. She said, “Yes!” Then it hit me. She was seeing people playing games, having fun, and being happy, and wanted to join in, but didn’t know the rules. So I said to her, “You’re seeing people playing games, having fun, being happy, and you want to join them in the games, but you don’t know how; you don’t know the rules.” Calming down, she said “Yes.” She was now no longer agitated and had calmed down. I told her it was ok for her to let go and go join in those games, whenever she was fully ready.

    What she had seen/was seeing was a glimpse, a piece of the next life; a glimpse of Heaven, apparently how it appeared to her; She essentially had one foot in Heaven and one foot in this world, and I, through the grace of God, had not only been able to witness this aspect of the end of life journey, but had also helped her by showing not only that I understood what she was seeing, but in my understanding, that it was ok; that we, those she would leave behind, would be ok.

    I have never had such a feeling, a feeling I can’t fully put into words, other than that I fully felt Christ and God all around me, and it was wonderful; it was a pivotal event in my life.


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