A Lesson And Story - Human Nature At Its Best

The topic of patients changing my life doesn't stir up particular stories for me. However, lessons patients have taught me and heartwarming moments shared with patients does revive memorable moments of my nursing career. Nurses Announcements Archive Article

A Lesson And Story - Human Nature At Its Best


I have learned over time how important it is to actually LISTEN to patients and their closely tied visitors. It is these people that frequently deal with the patient and their struggles of navigating an unpredictable illness trajectory. These groups of people are priceless when needing to obtain information or the unique care requirements of the patient.

The more consulting and communication done between the nursing staff and those involved with the patient, the more thoughtful and effective care can be. Not to mention the immense rapport and trust that will underlie the nurse-client relationship.

People are very appreciative and increasingly more tolerant when truly listened to. Overall, when families and patients are personally consulted for their expertise they are much more understanding and patient with the health care system. Although this lesson seems simple, it is often forgotten in the rush and time-limited workplace.


One of the most memorable and surreal moments I have shared with a patient during my nursing career was unanticipated and unexplainably natural. This memory was the first to come to mind when I read the topic for this article submission.

The experience occurred a few years ago at the beginning of a night shift in the early evening. I had just received the report and went do my first rounds. After a busy start... I was finally with the last patient I had to check on. This patient we will call "Kay" had been trying her hardest to stay independently living at home when she had a fall that landed her in the ER. Given her situation, Kay was fearful of staying in the hospital and anxious of the near future.

Little did I know, that the next few seconds I would share with Kay would be heart aching and yet powerful moments with a stranger.

As I glimpsed at the tears welled in Kay's eyes my instinct took over and I reached for her hand. Kay suddenly began talking about how lonely she was and how important it was to her that she stays in her home; the home that she shared with her late husband, the home where all her stuff was, the home that was, her home.

I don't remember the details of the next few seconds but she began talking about how she missed her husband and how difficult things were without him. I was a new nurse frantically searched for the right thing to say when unexpectedly my personal experience and emotions took over.

The recent emotional tragedy I went through related to the loss of someone dear to me encouraged me to say what I thought was the right thing...

"I don't think we ever get over those we have loved and lost, we just try to do the best we can"...

and in the next second her saddened but curious eyes looked me straight on... and she said: "you've lost someone too"...

and in an instant, tears blurred my vision and I was overwhelmed with this raw emotion.

My heart ached, as did hers, and for very different but similar reasons, two strangers shared a moment of TRUE UNDERSTANDING... a feeling that felt far beyond the academic topic of empathy, but still within the distinctive nurse-patient bond.

It was human nature at its unsuspecting best and memory I will never forget.

It is lessons and moments like these that keep me nursing and keep reminding me why I became a nurse.


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The most profound knowledge I've ever heard came from a little old alzhiemer's lady. After giving her meds to her, crushed and in applesauce (yuk!), she gets pretty mad at me dt the taste and says... "I'm MAD at YOU! But I love you!" Bless her heart lol