About 8 months after I started my first nursing job, I was walking down a corridor of my hospital heading to my unit to attend a class. I was in civies, not my scrubs
and my hair was down (I have long hair that I tie back when I work). As I was walking a woman was walking toward me from the other direction. When we got close, she said, "Sally?" I said yes. She said do you remember me? She proceeded to tell me her name and that if it weren't for my concern and care for her during the most vulnerable and scary time of her life, that she didn't think she could have made it. I immediately remembered her (she was one of my very first patients after my preceptor cut me loose). She had a mitral valve repair at age 42 and when her husband found out she was sick, he couldn't deal with it and left her and her two small children (during her hospitalization!) She was an athlete and told me she was back on her bike and planning to ride in a race very soon!
Anyway, we hugged and continued in opposite directions down the corridor. I was so impressed that she recognized me completely out of context. I will never forget her. As a new nurse, it really shook me that we so profoundly affect the lives of others.
I also received an awesome gift from another nurse who was from another hospital in my area. I took care of her on her first post-op cardiac surgery night. It was VERY sweet!