My very first patients funeral (a thank you to all nursing instructors)

Nurses General Nursing


the funeral for my very first patient ever was yesterday. he was cared for by a hospice rn but i was hired by the family to provide daily care (at the time i was a first semester nursing student). the family asked me to be a pall bearer. i almost declined because there were plenty of family available, and i didn't know if it was really my place until his wife told me that he had commented "have jeff carry me to my grave, i know he won't drop me." i provided care for him twice a day 7 days a week for 4 and a half months. i know i gave him the best care i could, but didn't really understand the full effect. upon entering the funeral home i was greeted by person after person that i had never seen. they all knew my name and thanked me for the wonderful care i gave their grandpa or uncle (depending on who i was talking to.) they referred to me as jeff- don's nurse. i attempted to tell them that i wasn't a nurse yet but after the third person told me i gave him better care than any nurse they ever saw, i accepted the title as "dons nurse". i was very gracious and did my best to remain professional. i admit i had gotten too emotionally involved with him as we had alot in common, and he was my very first patient. through the weeks i watched him grow closer and closer to death, and it wasn't until the last week that he could no longer speak with me about the horses or the john wayne movies that we would watch together.

the eulogy was beautiful and delivered by his daughter who i had met once at his 80th birthday party. she mentioned my name and commented that you couldn't talk to him without hearing how great jeff was and how he was the only one that didn't hurt him. (he had a leg amputated due to diabetes and his other foot was severely necrotic. he also had a pressure sore that was close to a level 3 when i began caring for him. he required lots of turning and repositioning as he was unable to get out of bed. i was able to get it healed completely.) she spoke about how it was i who made his last days as enjoyable as they could be and they couldn't have asked for better care. i remind you this was in the middle of the eulogy!! yeah i cried, how could i not.

i didn't share this with you to tell you what a great nurse i think i am. i'm not even close to a nurse yet. just wanted you to know that by teaching us how to care for others. you are caring for more people than one nurse ever could. thank you

Specializes in Emergency.

Nice work Jeff! This is who we are and I'm sure you will be a great nurse once you get there!!!

Keep up the hard work.

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Education.

It only makes sense that you carried him one final time. God bless your humble spirit, and good luck in your career.


385 Posts

Specializes in Derm/Wound Care/OP Surgery/LTC.

What a wonderful honor for you! You made a difference in someones life! That is a tribute to you. Remember that feeling when you become a nurse. Never forget it.

You are a very special person. Good luck in your future.


16 Posts

Specializes in office nurse for 10 years, Ltc for 7 yea.

Thanks for a wonderful post! Somedays I need a little reminding of why I became a nurse in the first place. God Bless!


640 Posts

Specializes in Perinatal, Education.

Thank you. What a pleasure to read and an experience you will never forget. You are a natural and have learned early the personal satisfaction that can come from good nursing care. I am proud of you.

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

1 Article; 5,163 Posts

Specializes in Utilization Management.

Jeff, that was so beautiful! Thanks so much for posting.

bill4745, RN

874 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER.

Thank you for reminding me of the reason I do this.

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

I know that you will carry this in your heart, and when you do complete that journey, you will care for everyone a little more thanks to that gentleman. We all have the one thing that keeps us going...and reminds us why we do this. GL to you in your career.

nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,043 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry.

That's what it's all about, right there.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

what a lovely gift you gave to joe and his family.

thanks for making us look good.;)

but more important, thank you for making a man's last days, so profoundly loving.



9 Posts

That was beautiful, thank you for sharing!

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