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

Yeah Jeff...the impact that we leave on our patients and loved ones is amazing, and I don't think we ever fully grasp it, for to do that would be to praise ourselves how great we are. Thanx for sharing your story.

with tears running down my cheeks after reading your post...i can only thank God for having the courage to go back to school in the middle of my life to be a will make an amazing nurse soon...good luck to you

Thank you for posting this and for the wonderful work you do. It is such an honor to be able to make a difference in someone's life.

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