Memorable Firsts

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.


Our careers are often impacted by single events, especially first experiences. I think sometimes we dwell on negatives, like med errors or negative outcomes with patients, and those can be very impactful, but we also have positive first experiences that can be equally as important for shaping our future. Do you have any particularly memorable first experiences?

One that I can think of was about six months into my job in the ICU. I was so nervous about missing important things. Would I know when there was an emergency, and would I know what to do? Our unit is split mainly into two sides with monitor banks on each side. I was walking past the monitor bank on one side and I happened to look up and thought "that looks like Vtach", but it wasn't alarming. I picked up my pace and went over to the other side of the unit and just about the time I got there the alarm picked up and my coworkers were heading to the room. I grabbed the code cart and we started CPR. Got the patient back and he ended up being okay. I realize it's a pretty obvious rhythm, but it was such a confidence boost to know that I could see it, and I would be able to react. 

Looking forward to hearing what first experiences stand out for others, thanks for sharing!

Specializes in CMSRN, hospice.

One of my most memorable firsts is very similar to yours! I was six years into nursing before my first code blue, and I'd been dreading the day it would finally happen. I had just been transferred to a new unit due to low census on my home unit, and was still getting used to the new environment and staff.

One day while I was charting, I stopped to watch the monitor, as one patient's heart rate went a little lower...and a little lower...until I was like, I'm just gonna go eyeball the patient. I got to the room first and my heart just sank; even as I tried to rouse the patient, I knew she wasn't going to respond. The primary nurse arrived just a few seconds later, even though it felt like forever; she'd been on the other end of the unit with another patient and came as soon as she saw the monitor. The patient wasn't breathing and by that point had no pulse whatsoever that we could feel.

I can't even remember which one of us started CPR and which called the code and got the cart - but everything started happening so fast and people started flooding the room to help. The patient ended up surviving!

Afterward the primary nurse and I both looked at each other and were like, "...That was my first code!" It was within the first few months of the pandemic, and I just remember us hugging, social distancing be damned; laughing; and feeding oddly giddy that we'd gone through that together and were able to save the patient.

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years).

When I read the title "Memorable Firsts", I thought it had to do with you posting your first thread, JBMmom!

A memorable first for me occurred on my very first trolling when I was an EMT-B working for the volunteer emergency corps back in 1979 and brought the body up.

Oh, a good precordial thump in a witnessed unstable V Tach situation could break it every time. The first time I did it the old guy looked up and said "Lady, what the devil did you hit me for?"  

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

My "first" happened LONG before I became a nurse. I saw a friend give birth. I was only 19 but determined then I wanted to be an OB nurse some day. It took a LONG time, but I realized that dream and worked in OB for 15 years. I loved it......til I didn't anymore. Then I moved on.

Another "first" was my first successful IV start, which did not happen til I was a nurse. We had little to no opportunity in school, so I had to learn on the job. I was so proud; I still remember the patient's name and her face!

Great thread.

An ED patient diagnosed with a “fractured member” ...ruptured tunica albuginea (usually occurring during intercourse) resulting in massive swelling of the glans and considered a surgical emergency.  Twenty-something year old guy was totally unconcerned with his condition and signed out AMA!

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