Every nursing student will have those certain experiences that they will never forget. I would like to share one of mine with you all...
I was taking care of a sedated patient during one of my clinicals on a neuro floor last semester. The doctors didn't think he would make it through the previous night, due to his failing heart, but he did. When I reported for clinical in the morning, we were told he would not make it to the end of the day. He had been made palliative and was on morphine for comfort, though he never fully looked at peace. His wife, who was disabled and in a wheel chair, came to visit him for the last time. We left her alone with him in his room for a while before going in with the chaplain to talk to her. When we entered the room, she tearfully began telling us stories of their happier days together. His hair was a mess from turning him all day, and she said that he was always particular about his hair and loved having it parted to the side. The nurse I was with said, "Well why don't we go get him a shampoo cap and get his hair looking all nice for him?" She loved the idea, and I left to go get a warm shampoo cap. I returned, put the cap on his head, and began massaging his scalp. Within second, his unpleasant look on his face turned into a smile. His wife immediately began crying, saying that is the look she remembered. I continued to massage his head for twenty minutes or so, just to give him those final moments of peace before his wife left. She held his hand up until the minute she had to go, and thanked us as she left for letting us see the version of her husband that she remembered.
Did we have to go and get a shampoo cap? No. But what my nurse taught me that day is that the smallest things really can and do mean the world to people. It took no extraordinary effort at all to fix his hair, but it obviously meant the world to his wife, and brought him comfort in his final hours. I will never forget that patient, his wife, or my nurse.
Please share any great nursing stories you have so we can all learn from each others' effort.