Defining Moments in nursing - book project


Hello all you optimistic nurses! I've been so pleased by the positve attitudes that I've found on this BB. Nursing is a hard place to be these days for so many nurses.

I posted this thread in a different location on this BB yesterday, thought I'd try it here as well. I've loved the great responses to the Top Ten list I posted yesterday. Please keep them coming!!

As nurses, called to the profession, it is difficult to explain just how rewarding nursing is, despite the many hardships we endure. Even more of a challenge would be to quantify the "calling", if you will, that motivates those of us - born to be nurses! A colleague and I have chosen to rise to this challenge. We are compiling a book of Defining Moments, the personal accounts of how nurses are called to practice. Our goal is to bring to light the commmittment, dedication and passion that makes a nurse a nurse. With this, we hope to recruit more nurses to practice and stir the passion that exists in those nurses who are practicing but have lost their spark. Of course, the end result is a stronger and more vibrant nursing profession.

Was there a defining moment in your life that led you to nursing? A pivotal person or event? Please help us put the passion that is nursing on paper and change the face of the nursing shortage.

Email me directly or let me know what you think in the thread! I appreciate all comments!



51 Posts

Whatever my defining moment was that made me choose nursing, it was soooo long ago, I couldn't begin to remember it now. All I can say is, it only took one on-the-job injury, and my days of nursing were over. When I see how nurses are being treated in many hospitals, I am none the worse for it.


10 Posts


So sorry to hear that you were injured. It is difficult to see the mistreatment that occurs in some hospitals. I love nursing and am sorry we lost you, it is my passion and my calling! I hope to make a difference, whether it is one patient at a time or through the book project. I truly believe that God called me to nursing, I will remain committed and see it through to brighter days!

Thanks for your reply,



208 Posts

what made me want to be a nurse????

I remember when I was a little girl and my parents divorced and my mom had to raise 3 little girls a 7,6,5 year old she had us a year apart and she was unemployable. She had no skills. Her first job was abox maker at a fruit packing company in florida. My grandpa (her father) made her learn to drive and then she drove 30 miles to college to take classes and become a nurse and she still worked midnites making those dang boxes. Well she graduated. became a nurse. I would sit in on her bed and watch her get ready for the nightshift at the local hospital. She was sooooooo beautiful and it was the 70's and she would put on her nursing whites and she had the coolest slacks bellbottom white slacks and that nursing cap and she would wear a frosted pink lipstick and she would kiss us three and go to work..... from that moment I wanted to be my mom.............the uniform those cool bellbottoms.... I wanted to wear that My mom was such a beautiful woman that she could wear mud and be sexy !!!!

but funny thing was when I graduated nursing school, she got out a pair of those slacks that she had saved for 20 years..... we had a great laugh. My mom passed away..... when I miss her I put on frosted pink listick and smile.



10 Posts

That is an absolutely beautiful story! I am quite sure that your mom is proud of you!



223 Posts

I have thought long and hard whether to post this cos I had a difficult transition into nursing.

I spent the whole of my childhood, well not quite, as a carer for my mother. Not understanding that she was terminal. My father led us to believe that she would be an elderly lady in a wheelchair.

Crippled of course but that we could accept.

When I was aged 15 she had a massive PE and died at home. She had been completely bedbound by then for 3months and I took over as nurse mother and housewife.

I felt so helpless, with no knowledge as to if I was doing the right thing with my mum that I decided that I needed to become a nurse.

So after leaving school went straight to college to get the qualifications needed.

I found out that most of my mothers female relatives had been nurses and were not surprised at my choice in career. Years later they told me that they had not assisted in the care I had provided for my mum because I'd done a good job

I must say that my career choice was the best as I totally love my job. All aspects, even the cross relatives. Who are just frightened at the end of the day


10 Posts


Thank you for choosing to share your story. You obviously have the ability to understand the plight of your patient's families. What a gift that is!

Keep up the good work!



215 Posts

Specializes in OB, M/S, ICU, Neurosciences. Has 30 years experience.

I think the defining moment(s) for me came at two different times. I had initially planned to go to medical school after college, but due to some moving around that my parents had to do, ended up taking general classes for a year trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

When I was a child, we had an elderly neighbor who was a substitute grandmother for me. She was my best friend and I could talk with her about anything--she always encouraged me to do what I loved. When she became ill, I was about 12 years old, and when she returned from the hospital following surgery for a broken hip, I took care of her at her house--cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, keeping her comfortable, and helping her with her rehab exercises. She had a heart attack about a year later, and again, I stayed with her for a few weeks and made sure she was OK. I helped her with her meds, and encouraged her to begin getting back into life again--she had all but given up after the heart attack. One of the last things she ever said to me was that she hoped I would become a doctor and take as excellent care of my patients as I did of her. I knew then that I wanted to do nothing more than help people, and thought that medicine would be the best way to accomplish that goal.

Flash to my first year of puttering around in college.......I took a job as a nursing assistant at a local nursing home on the night shift. It was a complete pit, but I was oblivious and very inexperienced. All I knew was that there were LOTS of people there suffering and dying, and I didn't want to see people's lives ending in that manner. I knew that there were better ways to care for the institutionalized elderly, and I did everything I could to try to ease their pain and allow them to die with dignity. I guess it was at that point that I realized that the only career that would allow me to do that was as a nurse. Medicine didn't allow for spending "quality time" with patients in the direct, hands-on way I was enjoying so much, and after talking with several people I knew who were nurses, made my career decision.

I've never regretted being a nurse. It is a privilege to be involved in the caring for of other people--we have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on other human beings (patients and families), whether it be by helping them into the world, assisting them in recovering from illness or injury, or to help them ease out of this life. I would never have found that same personal and professional satisfaction in medicine.

Good luck with your book Heather--what a terrific project! And thank you for making us remember why we do this every day. :D


159 Posts

When I was a younger man my there favorite words used to be "I dont care!" Well once i figured out that this was b.s. I knew what job i wanted to do. God works in mysterious ways!


10 Posts

In the spirit of sharing, I'd like to also share with ya'll my defining moment, when I knew that nursing was the right career for me. It's never let me down.

My defining moment occured while in nursing school. Like so many nurses, I started out with pre-med ideas in my head. Of course, my intent was to help people - that's what eventually led me to nursing. For me, the quality time with patients and their families is the most rewarding part of our profession.

The setting was the pediatric floor of a tertiary care center, during a clinical rotation in my senior year of nursing school. My first day on the floor I was assigned a patient, we'll call her Mary, a 21 year old female with leimyosarcoma. I was involved in her care for the next three weeks. Though the tumor had disfigured her jaw and grown over her eye, Mary was a beautiful, vibrant young woman. She was the embodiment of courage and hope, optimism and love. No matter the pain or the fear, she'd put on her hat, placed the patch over her eye, give me a nod and off we'd go. Only once did she actually lean over to me and ever so softly say, "I'm scared, will you stay with me?" We found out during my rotation that her prognosis was terminal and the focus of our care would become palliative. She and I grew unusually close, as I was also 21 and we had so many similar hopes and dreams. Dreams that we knew she would never realize. I continued to visit Mary, even after the end of my clinical rotation. We talked of daily events, places I'd been and things I'd done. I shared with her a bit of normalcy, never did we discuss her condition or cry about the future that loomed all too near. Until one day, her mom called to tell me that she would be flown home via helicopter- she was going home to die. I went to her room as they prepared to transfer her home. I waited with her for the call, they're ready. I hugged her parents who thanked me for the many hours of companionship. Then our eyes met. For the first time, in all those weeks, Mary had tears in her eyes. I leaned over her frail body and gently hugged her, I couldn't speak. Then from the one who'd always been strong and never waivered, I heard "I love you and I'll never forget you." The transport team was there, they wheeled her out of her room and down the hall, her parents following close behind. As I walked down the long hall to the elevators, tears streaming down my face, I knew I'd seen the face of an angel. The gifts Mary gave to me were intangible and silent. I learned very early in my career that despite the hardships of providing patient care, the rewards are immeasurable.

The Defining Moment in my career was the moment that I realized the impact that I would have in others' lives.

This topic is now closed to further replies.