Unexpected instances where your nursing skills came in handy

  1. Unexpected instances where your nursing skills came in handy - Image ID: 13101
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    Tell us about a time when you least expected that your nursing skills would be called into action.

    I bet this new husband thinks his nurse wife really rocks!!!!!
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 19, '13
  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    It just takes a few minutes to register and share your story! Visit: Register at allnurses.com - Nursing for Nurses

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    Can't FB at work .....
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    This past November, I was traveling out west to visit family. My mom and I had been on planes all day, and had just arrived at the Spokane airport in Washington around midnight. We were walking down to baggage claim, and we passed by an AED mounted on the wall. Now, I don't know about other nurses, but ever since nursing school and CPR training, I have always, almost subconsiously, noted where the AED is in public places.

    We continued to trudge on down to baggage claim, commenting to each other how tired we were and how we couldn't wait to get to my aunt's house to get some sleep. We rounded the corner, and as we were passing the security guard station, I happened to glance over and see and elderly gentleman standing at the corner.

    I work on a med-surg/oncology floor, where our primary patient population is geriatric. I like to think my senses are "honed" when it comes to looking at an older person and knowing something is wrong. He was holding onto the wall and looking very confused; I looked down and noticed he had wet himself. My first thought was, where is is family? Is he here alone?

    I began to approach him, and at that point, he began to stumble forward, and in the blink of an eye, he began to pitch forward. I lunged out to grab him, but not in time; he hit the floor and his head made a sickening "crack" against the concrete. I went down to my knees by him and turned him over. His lips and his ears were beginning to turn blue, his pulse was thready and weak, but his pupils were equal, he was conscious and talking to me.

    At this point, three other people ran over to help (I think they had medical training of some sort, I never asked them, or found out their names). As they knelt to assist the elderly man, I jumped up and ran to get the AED. I felt in my gut that this was about to turn very bad.

    As I ran, I felt my adrenaline take over. I grabbed the AED and raced back. My gut was right. In the few seconds I was gone, the man had stopped breathing and lost his pulse. The woman and one of the men had begun CPR. I still had my purse over my shoulder and my coat on, and my mom, unbeknownst to me, grabbed my purse and pulled my coat off my back. I knelt by the victim, and touched the man performing compressions on the shoulder and asked if he wanted me to take over. Anyone who has done CPR knows that even just a minute or two of this work is exhausting.

    I took over, feeling the man's bony chest under my hands. I began compressions, with the mantra of "staying alive, staying alive" playing in my head as I had been taught in class. The man and I continued to switch off as the woman performed rescue breathing. It seemed to last forever, but it was only about 5 minutes before paramedics arrived to take over.

    I got up as they told us to clear out, my arms and chest burning and breathing hard. I stepped away from the team, as two women approached me and said quietly "bless you for working on him". My mom and I stood there for a minute, but there was nothing else we could do, so we continued on to collect our bags. The whole time I felt like crying, thinking, he was someone's grandpa, someone's dad, just here to visit for the holidays.

    I don't know what the outcome of the situation was, whether he made it or not, but I pray every day that he did. It's something I'll remember until the day I die. I also thank God every day for making me a nurse.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Feb 6, '13 : Reason: Reformatting post
    NursingGCW, lesliel, scrubsandasmile, and 23 others like this.
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    During the early days of LPN school, we were practicing head to toe assessements. I went home that night after school and my husband was my guinea pig. While listening to his heart, I heard the weirdest noise, like I was rubbing my stethescope against concrete!! I called my Doctor friend, and he said get him to ER now! Turned out he had a blood clot, he had emergency surgery to put in a filter and spent 5 days in ICU. Alot of angels working that night!
    NursingGCW, Pangea Reunited, Kandy83, and 18 others like this.
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    This picture wasn't far from truth for me. I graduated nursing school in 1979, and began ER work, which I did for a couple of years. I had always worked part time as a musician, and so after getting married in 1981, I went into Home Health.

    In 1984, after meeting the son of my patient, who sang barbershop, I went to visit his group. In less than a year, I became the director of this little chorus in Oak Park Illinois. We put on a show in the fall of 1985, and after we opened the show in football uniforms, we left the stage, and had some quartets singing, so I changed into my tuxedo, and snuck into the back of the auditorium, planning to watch until intermission.

    After a couple of minutes, one of the chorus members came to me, and told me there was a sick lady in the audience, near the back. I ran over to her, she was slumped in her aisle seat, and not breathing. Fortunately, I'm a big guy, picked her up, laid her in the aisle. I tried to breathe for her several times, and it was obvious her airway was obstructed.

    I sent the chorus member for help and 911, and after about 2 minutes of repositioning her, and finally performing an abdominal thrust, a large piece of food (eww) came out, with a lot of liquid. The liquid got all over the sleeve of my tux, too. The lady woke up fairly quickly, before the paramedics arrived. She wasn't very happy with me, and the paramedics didn't really believe what had occurred, until several people sitting right there spoke up. They took her out the back, and since she was near the back, most of the audience never knew what happened.

    After intermission, my little chorus sang better than usual, while they were laughing at me in my ugly stained tuxedo. One of my members happened to be an ER doc, and we shared many laughs about it afterwards.
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 22, '13 : Reason: Reformatting post
    poppycat, cardiacrocks, SCTravelRN, and 7 others like this.
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    Too bad this is my dad and not my husband.
    Regardless, our funny daddy-daughter dance was a HUGE hit at my wedding!
    poppycat, anotherone, KelRN215, and 3 others like this.
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    I was working nights as a head nurse in a psychiatric hospital. Around 1:00am a working nursing assistant started to c/o severe abdominal pain. The pain was so bad the aide could not stand; in fact she became incontinent. I was joined by two other R.N.s and the three of us started to assess the problem. A 22 yo white obese, nursing assistant, relatively new to the job. The pain was reported to be a 10 out of 10; BP 138/90 (Normal for her)T.98.6; P88; R20. Our patient became exteremely anxious as the pain increased, and she started to experience a great deal of lower abdomial pressure. When asked about her LMP, she stated she was never regular so she couldn't tell us her LMP. We asked if she could be pregnant. She said that would be impossible. She "defineately was not pregnant". As we waited for the ambulance to arrive she was "incontinent" again. We determined he 'water' broke and we were witnessing an impending birth. The three of us prepared for a delivery as the 'patient' insisted she was not pregnant; right up until she delivered a very healthy babay boy. By the time the ambulance showed up we had delivered the baby, placenta and everyone was cleaned and sleepy. That baby boy should be about 39 now.
    KATRN78, Daisy_08, poppycat, and 14 others like this.
  11. 3
    Quote from matri51
    I was working nights as a head nurse in a psychiatric hospital. Around 1:00am a working nursing assistant started to c/o severe abdominal pain. The pain was so bad the aide could not stand; in fact she became incontinent. I was joined by two other R.N.s and the three of us started to assess the problem. A 22 yo white obese, nursing assistant, relatively new to the job. The pain was reported to be a 10 out of 10; BP 138/90 (Normal for her)T.98.6; P88; R20. Our patient became exteremely anxious as the pain increased, and she started to experience a great deal of lower abdomial pressure. When asked about her LMP, she stated she was never regular so she couldn't tell us her LMP. We asked if she could be pregnant. She said that would be impossible. She "defineately was not pregnant". As we waited for the ambulance to arrive she was "incontinent" again. We determined he 'water' broke and we were witnessing an impending birth. The three of us prepared for a delivery as the 'patient' insisted she was not pregnant; right up until she delivered a very healthy babay boy. By the time the ambulance showed up we had delivered the baby, placenta and everyone was cleaned and sleepy. That baby boy should be about 39 now.
    Wow talk about an episode of "I didn't know I was pregnant".
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    Came home after clinicals and my fiancee and I were heading to my car, getting ready to run some errands. My neighbor's weird (adult) son pointed down the street and asked, "Is she supposed to be lying down like that?" Puzzled, I asked what he meant. He said there was a lady in the bushes down the way.

    I bolted towards her and found an elderly female lying on the ground in a daze. It was an unwitnessed fall and we couldn't determine if she had LOC. I had my fiancee hold cspine while I dialed 911. I have my EMT-B license but never worked as one so I was trying to rack my brain remembering what I learned a year ago! I wasn't sure what I could do or not due because of gray area of scope of practice. Do I act as an EMT-B or a nursing student?

    She was alert but confused, no respiratory distress and c/o right hip soreness. Without exposing her, as far as I could tell she was negative for any DCAPBTLS. She couldn't really remember how she got there or what happened. It was chilly out and she was such a small little thing, I could barely feel her pulse. I covered her up with my jacket and kept trying to keep her from getting up, which is all she wanted to do. I suspected she was hypoglycemic. Another neighbor came out and told me the lady lives alone

    Our neighborhood is literally right across the street from a fire station so they came within several minutes. I gave report to one of the firemen and they took over. I didn't want to be one of those annoying onlookers and we had places to go so we head back to my car again. As I was walking away, I could hear the firemen checking her BG which if I heard right, was around 40. I'm not sure if they stayed and treated her or transported her.

    Haven't seen her around anymore so I always wonder if she eventually passed away. My only small "field" experience to date hehe
    tnbutterfly and SCTravelRN like this.


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