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Most Memorable Nurse Stories…

It’s kind of funny how being a nurse works. They’re the ones that have to poke you and stab you and make you uncomfortable, but they’re also the ones that can turn around and make you the most comfortable. It takes a special person to be a nurse, but it takes an extraordinary person to be a great nurse. I’ve encountered probably every type of nurse there is to run into over the years. Some experiences are laughable and make me hope they were just having a rough night, but others I keep close to my heart and really change me. Heck, if it wasn’t for Vicki I probably wouldn’t have even considered nursing school. But of course, like any other special thing, you encounter about 5 bad nurses for every really good one.

So, here’s my tips for scouting out a good nurse vs a sketchy one. Like I said nurses are special people, so they have to have some special qualities. Of course we have the “do’s”…

  1. Ingenuity- being able to be resourceful and a problem solver is so important and takes care of the little mishaps, usually in a much more patient-friendly way. Each nurse comes with their own bag of secret go-to ticks. It’s kinda interesting figuring them out from nurse to nurse. My favorite nifty trick came from one of the best night nurses I’ve had. Candi, she fit her name perfectly. Every night she came in with the best attitude, she has the ability to make everyone enjoy themselves, even when she has to wake you up for middle of the night meds. One night, my IV was irritating my arm so I asked her for a heat pack. Oddly, hospitals don’t all keep heat packs on hand so Candi promised a homemade heat pack. I laughed when she popped back in with a steaming diaper. Smart lady, since we were in the pediatrics hallway she got a diaper wet and zapped it in the microwave. It held its heat forever and even laid easily around my arm. The perfect heat pack!  I think my day nurse was confused the next morning when I had a wet diaper in my bed 🙂
  2. Knowledgeable- obviously everyone wants a nurse that knows what they’re talking about, but some are just more knowledgeable overall than others. Lewis was my nurse my first day in the infusion clinic. I was nervous, and unsure of what to expect. Luckily, Lewis made it all seem super easy. First of all, he was a good stick! Which is really important to the person getting stuck. But past that, he took the time to genuinely listen and really answer every question I asked him. Now, every time he sees me in there he’ll stop by my room to chat with me or help unhook me and finish my treatment so that he knows I’m getting good help. I actually really appreciated talking through my options with him when I was learning about the portacath, tunneled picc and Hickman line.
  3. Dependable- Who wouldn’t want a dependable nurse? It’s pretty important since they’re in charge of giving you medications and keeping you on schedule and such. Actually, nurses have a lot of power. But my night nurse, Natasha, wins when I think about dependability. She was my nurse for several nights in Chicago this March. One night, she came in after I’d had a terrible time with my day nurse. I had missed several of my medications and was going downhill. She heard about it before she even made it into my room that night(it was that bad). She saved that day when she walked in with fresh chocolate and a hug for me, plus she got me back on schedule with everything and let me talk it out.
  4. Ability to go with the flow- I think every nurse is good at this. But funny Katie, she wins for me. I’ve thrown a couple things at her , and I’m pretty sure she just smiles and nods. (Not actual things just bumps in the road😂) First of all, I had been cooped up in that hospital for nine days without going outside. I needed some fresh air. Katie let me sneak out for a little while, as long as I didn’t leave the hospital grounds…score! But one night, I had just gotten some medicine and was a little loopy. Benadryl messes with my mind sometimes, so I was convinced that there was a Darius Rucker concert going on in the room next door. I was determined to get over there, I wasn’t about to miss out! My mom had tried talking me down, since obviously there was no concert happening on the 11th floor of Presence Hospital. In walks Katie, I half remember asking her if I could go catch the end of the concert, she just shook her head, laughed, and told me to stay in bed. I’m sure loopy patients are the fun ones!
  5. Good at making connections- If you make a good connection with someone, then you know you’ll work well with them. I’m not sure what it was with Whitney, but I loved her from the second she came in my room and every day after that. She’s a day nurse, so every morning I would check my room board to see if she got to be my nurse. Luckily, she loved me too and called dibs several times so I got to have her a lot! She would hang out in my room when she had an extra second, she’d take her blood pressure and mom’s when we took mine, and all around made me feel completely comfortable. But, the last time she went the extra mile. I hadn’t gotten to have her as my nurse that visit, so one night when her shift ended she came up to my room to see me. Not only did she visit with me, she stayed totally on her own for an extra hour and watched Netflix with me. I was shocked. And that is why she’s one of the most special people I’ve gotten to work with.
  6. Inspirational- Vicki. Let me tell you, one of the most touching people I’ve ever met, seriously. A new nurse to me, Vicki was taking my blood one day when I made a comment about how much blood freaked me out. She literally stopped what she was doing and started shaking the vial of blood two inches from my face. Sounds ridiculous, huh? She followed it up by climbing onto my bed criss-cross and pouring her heart out into the most inspirational story I’ve heard. By the end of it my mom and I had goosebumps and all three of us were crying. Vicki hugs are also the best when you’re in the hospital. Vicki is amazing, and thanks to her I’m going to nursing school with the hopes to make a similar impact on someone someday.
  7.  Being Casey- I don’t have one trait that makes Casey special. She’s done so much in so many ways for me that she’s got her own category. I trust Casey completely with anything and everything. She’s never complained about having floor parties, and she is always on my side. Casey just gets me. That is why she is “MY” nurse, and always will be!

So, those are some pretty amazing people to live up to. But these nurses fall into the “Don’ts”…

  1. Don’t tell your patient that a nurse could hit an artery and make the patient bleed internally without realizing it until it’s too late…
  2. As a night nurse, don’t knock your patient’s buddy pole over on top of them when they’re sleeping…
  3. Don’t be three hours late for your rounds….and when you do finally show up…don’t lie…
  4. Don’t half ass it, just because you’re afraid of hurting your patient…being afraid of placing an IV just ends up being more painful
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