High & Low

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    What has been your highest moment in your career?

    What has been your lowest?

    So far.


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  2. 13 Comments...

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    Highest: Seeing a former trauma pt who had a severe head injury completely healed months later. He had to relearn to talk but was doing fantastic. He didn't remember me from the Trauma ICU but his wife did and made me burst into happy tears.

    Lowest: Screwing up by hanging an abx before getting blood cultures drawn. Still feel like a complete idiot for screwing that one up.
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    So many.

    One really good high: Seeing a heart transplant patient preop for weeks at death's door while he waited for his organ, and the day after his surgery he jumped out of bed all pink and warm and mentating and said he felt terrific.

    One really sad low: A dear, lovely woman who had postpartum myopathy who died post transplant of toxoplasmosis from her donor, because we didn't test for that then, and no one had ever gotten it from a transplant before.
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    So many happy memories. Might be the time I had a pt that was so close to death's door get a transplant. Literally saved his life.

    Or the time I had a teenager with a huge attitude problem who had no interest in listening to nursing staff or participating in care. Parents were alcoholics and not helpful. One day I had enough and laid the law down, told him he was going to do what I say, no matter what (ie take meds, participate in physical therapy, etc). After that he was very apologetic and was very involved in his care and had a positive outcome. Sometimes it is just the little things like that that make a difference.

    Watching a pt I took care of for 2 years die while trying to get stable enough to get on the transplant list. I watched the priest say a prayer with the family before they took him off the vent. After I left the family I lost it and was just sobbing. The pt was 18. I still think about him and the impact he has had on my career
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    High: discharging a young man in his 30s 4 months after a radical cystectomy with multiple complications. Watching him walk out the door was amazing.

    Low: saying goodbye to a patient who I had nursed on and off for 2 years. He was dying and he thanked me for giving him the extra time with his young son. He died two days after I saw him on the ward around the corner from mine and his wife came and found me to thank me.
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    High: this week getting a huge hug from my pt's wife who said, " I'm so glad you're his nurse tonight. You are his angel!!!"

    Low: unfortunately there's so so many... Several weeks ago a woman in her 30's several weeks postpartum with twins and older children as well came in to the hospital septic. She was in the ICU maxed in pressors, intubated and so sick for 10 hrs. Coded several times and passed away. Her mom, boyfriend, and other family were DEVASTATED. We brought the older kids in to say goodbye. She was walking and talking literally 12 hrs ago. I am crying thinking about her son saying goodbye. I cant even put into words the helplessness i felt watching this woman go down the drain knowing there was nothing else we could do. I think about this family all the time.
  8. 0
    I appreciate the sharing of your experiences... thank you (:
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    High: having a doctor listen to me about a pt's condition: chest pain that was passed over for Indigestion as ECG was normal, quickly turned into a STEMI

    Bad: peds kid dying
  10. 2
    There have been far too many of each to recount here, but I'll take a shot at it.

    The high was when a patient I'd been taking care of for months, dying of heart failure suddenly became eligible for an 11th hour heart transplant. He was my only patient in the CCU that night, and I was at the bedside when they told him. One minute he was begging for popcorn (he was NPO and we'd just made a batch in the break room) and the next he had a chance. It's been 24 years, and I still get a post card from him every year on the anniversary of his transplant!

    The low was transplant related as well. We had this obnoxious kid on our unit waiting for a kidney transplant. He had a rare blood type, and it didn't look as though he'd ever get a transplant. His favorite sister visited, and she stayed all evening playing checkers and telling stories. She was pregnant, and the pregnancy was high risk. She was the only one of his family not tested for compatibility. The kid was almost human with his sister in the room. At the end of my night shift, we were informed that by some miracle, a kidney had become available for my patient . . . . It wasn't until the next day that I found out whose. My patient's favorite sister was killed on her way home from visiting my patient the night before. I was in the room when he was told where the kidney came from. It was devastating to watch this super-confident, cocky kid deflate right before my eyes. That still haunts me.
    turnforthenurseRN and Ginger80 like this.
  11. 0
    Oh my, Ruby. What a story.

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