Jump to content

Who Influenced You???


Hi everyone,

Who influenced you, positively or negatively, on how to give good patient care?

When I was 10 years old I was in the Emergency Room with acute apendicitis. I was in more pain than I had ever been in in my young life. I ended up in X-Ray with a very impatient tech who barked at me to stand up straight. I tried, but instead ended up doubled over and throwing up on the floor. The tech then proceeded to curse me out.

Ten years later I was in another Emergency Room in another city, this time for a miscarriage. I will never forget my nurse: a 60-something large woman with a voice like honey. She stroked my hair, held my hand, washed out my bloodstained clothes and gently admonished me for being pregnant when I wasn't married. Politically correct she wasn't, but she really made me feel as if she cared about me.

Both of these people strongly influenced how I nurse; they taught me how sick people should and should not be treated.

So, how about it, nurses? Who influenced you? Which nurses or other health care professionals were unforgetable to you?

My parents had me later on in their life and my father was often sick and hospitalized because of a heart condition. It eventually came to to point that he had to be placed in a Long term care facility. I was 19 at the time. My father was becoming very forgetfull and sometimes a little combative. He would often call me by my sister's name when I came to visit, but he always remembered the nurse's names... he never said, "HEY Nurse." Those nurses always got him to smile right up until the very end. It was then I decided to become a nurse...it would be a few years before I actually started nursing school and quite awhile before I graduate. But everytime I see an elderly person lying in a hospital bed, I see my Dad and I just want to try to make a little difference in that persons life.

I worked in a very busy Urgent Care/ER combo when I first graduated from MA school. I was trained by an RN who had worked straight ER for about 15 years and had seen and done about everything. After my first week of work, I was in awe of her. The way she was kind to her patients, the way she joked around with them and made them at ease, the way she performed her clinical skills as if she could literally do them in her sleep. And, the way she took me by the shoulder after I'd been shadowing her for a month, looked me in the eye and said with more sincerity than I think I've ever heard from someone , "You have too much pontential and great clinical skills to be an MA forever. Get your butt back in school and become a honest nurse!" I was inspired by that. And, the great nurse who stood by my side and stroaked my hair and called me 'sweetheart' when I had my son. And, the awesome EMT's who cared for my husband and I after a terrible car accident....even going as far as rescuing my husbands prized fishing pole from the back of our battered car and giving it TLC so it would be good as new.

Luckily, I haven't had any 'bad' nurses take care of me. Most I know are truely kind souls and love what they do!

For me it was several things. First I had an ill husband, and the nurses, some of them were so wonderful and some so horrible that I thought the wonderful ones needed more like them. Then I became a CNA and two LPNs there, Carol and Leigh, taught me all about being terrific nurse, to be kind and loving, to listen to your patient and to properly assess all spheres of their being. So I became an LPN, my husband had died and I had two little ones. 11 Years later I am an ADN grad because my WONDERFUL second husband wouldn't have it any other way, he felt my there was no reason I shouldn't complete my education and did everything he could to support me in this endeavor, including cook, watch kids, do laundry, you name it. SO, here I am, looking for a bachelors program.......:eek:

For the last ten years, I have been working as a medical secretary/transcriptionist. I have had the great fortune to work with many fine nurses. My previous supervisor is a psychiatric nurse and coordinator of a continuing day treatment center. On the outside he was gruff, but he had the biggest heart and he really cared for all his patients. If I can be one-tenth the nurse he is, I'll be a good nurse. Leaving that job and moving down to FLA so I can go back to school was not an easy decision. My goal is to one day go back to NY and show him the impression he made upon me.


Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

Not a nurse but a physician Dr. Robert L. W....and his wife Betty.

Dr. W is who I worked as a MA for 7 years before I returned to nursing school. He would give me journals to read and to recommend good articles to him. When my little girl was just 10 months old she got pneumonia, Dr. W treated her, free....bought medicine we couldn't afford and came to the house to see her. He found out how much a tricycle she wanted for her 2nd Christmas would cost......he added just that amount to my Christmas Bonus.

I never heard Dr. W. or Mrs. Betty divulge private confidential information. He treated EVERY patient as if they were the most important one he had. When he made a referral, HE made the referral doctor to doctor.

Mrs. Betty was always professional. She had been a head nurse while he was in med school. She moved to our small town when he finished his residency. This was a LADY in addition to being an RN. From her, I learned a lot of little known nursing tips. Did you know that you could put milk of magnesia on your shoe laces to keep them from coming untied?

What I'm trying and failing to convey is that these people probably not only influenced ME but they touched EVERY one they came in contact with.

Dr. W. died about 10 years ago, too soon. Mrs. Betty is still going strong.....she volunteers, she works at the church and she is STILL a lady.....


Specializes in ICU/CCU (PCCN); Heme/Onc/BMT. Has 28 years experience.

Two patients from a nursing home where I worked as an orderly many years ago.

The first patient had a train-wreck for a body from advanced rheumatoid arthritis, but her mind was as sharp a a tack. (It was unfortunate for her that she had to live with so many demented patients.) She tought me that a healthcare giver can never be gentle enough. I used to give her oatmeal baths for her fragile skin. I guess I was "rough" the first time I ever gave her this type of sponge bath . . . although I thought I was being gentle. It was obvious, though, that even a light approach with the sponge bath caused unpleasant discomfort. She very patiently showed me how to apply the face cloth with the oatmeal water to her fire-red skin. I was extremely humbled with her instructions and at the same time a awe with her gentleness and patience. She was a wonderful teacher.

The second patient was another elderly women whom I had known as a child. . . now, as a young adult, I was taking care of her in a nursing home. It was dinner time and we were reponsible in making sure everyone was at their designated spots, ready to eat. I went to Mrs. X's room to transport her to the dinner table. She insisted that she did not want to go out to the main dining hall for dinner. She added that she wanted to be left alone in her room where it was quiet because she was going to die that night (she looked fine to me!). Well, needless to say, I managed to convince her to let me wheel her to the dining hall to eat dinner. The next day, to my surprise, I learned that she did indeed die in her sleep during the night. After all of these years, I'm still saddened in knowing that her last evening on this earth was spent doing something she did not want to do. It was a big lesson in respecting and honoring one's wishes and decisions.

There have been many more "teachers" throughout my career as as a healthcare professional. These two incidents, though, stand out in my mind.

Ted Fiebke


Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

When I was 15 years old, I had my wisdom teeth and 2 others extracted. Since all 4 of my wisdom teeth were embedded in my jaw, I had to be put under general anesthesia to have them removed. Now my family has always had a major problem with post op nausea and vomitting. I had my tonsils/adenoids removed when I was 5 and threw up for 2 days afterwards, had to be sent home with Phenergan suppies.

So, my mother explained all of this to the anesthesiologist pre-op--this was back in 1988 before the invention of Zofran. After surgery, I recall coming to on a gurney in the PACU area of the Surgery Center. I was confused and was snapping my fingers cause I wanted somebody anybody to tell me that I was OK. I distinctly remember a nurse telling me that if I didn't stop snapping my fingers then she was gonna tie my fingers together!

All I wanted was the nurse to be nice and tell me "honey you are ok" and hold my hand for a few minutes but that was not the case.

Then when my mother came into the PACU to see me, the nurses were trying to force me to take some ice chips. My mom told the nurse that if I had anything to eat that I would throw up. Well the nurse was adamant that I drink some ice chips, I took two sips and then projectile vomitted all over the place. Boy was that nurse MAD! She was none too gentle when she gave me a compazine or phenergan suppy.

Well after that bad experience, I was adamant on becoming a nurse. I knew since I was 5 yrs old that I wanted to be an RN. I vowed that I would never be as mean and rude and uncaring as that nurse was to me back then and I think that I am a pretty darn nice Nurse!


This might sound crazy, but when I was about 4 or 5, my mother used to watch General Hospital. I would watch it with her and my grandmother, and saw what things they did on TV. Later, I was hooked on any type of medical show. I can't remember a day that I didn't want to be a nurse. Now at 41, I can honestly say that I get paid to do something I love. Care and nurture patients as they heal and for the most part, get better.

I have been a pt. before, and have had nasty nurses. I had always vowed not to be that way. Especially, like the nurse, when I was a nurses aide, came out of a room and interupted me to stop feeding a pt. and "put the head of the bed down'' on a person she had just come out of their room. Now honestly, what was she thinking???? I would never ask something like that to anyone. And today, I still work with nurses that expect things like that.:D

Nursing is my second career. After I finished my BA in Soc. in 1990, I went to work as an outreach worker in a nursing based agency providing services to migrant farm workers. The nurses were wonderful, but most wonderful was Paula, our FNP. When I'd go with some one to translate an MD appointment it seemed to me that the docs often asked silly questions. Paula always explained things to me without laughing. Since we worked in field conditions, Paula taught me to assist with pap smears etc. I remember one time when I was holding the patient's hand and soothing her while Paula did the pap. (This woman was terrified - pregnant and had a raging yeast infection.) Paula's influence helped me decide to go to nursing school.

After graduation, I landed a position as a community nurse in the South Bronx. Sr. Gerry, the nurse sup., became my mentor - and sometimes my tormentor! She was a great teacher and a stickler for detail and perfection in all ways. As crazy as she made me, I'm a good nurse because of her. When I left that place and had to adjust to a less structured atmosphere, I had a pretty easy time of it because of her teaching. I'm grateful to both these great nurses!


Specializes in NICU.

I am in nursing school, three months away from graduating. I have to say that the influences on me are widely varied, but none stronger and more tremendous than my mother. My mother grew up dirt poor, literally in a tiny shack with ten brothers and sisters, one of whom had to be adopted out because the family was already financially crushed and my grandmother couldn't bear the thought of providing a childhood of torture to yet ANOTHER child. My grandfather was sexually, verbally, and violently physically abusive to some of my aunts and uncles, my grandma, and my mother got the worst of it because she was so well-developed and drop-dead gorgeous at such an early age. She met my father in high school, she was his waitress at a roller-skating drive-in diner. They married and moved here, and here she sat, deep in the back country, in a tiny trailer, watching soap operas and meticulously cleaning the 'house' for SEVEN YEARS, all the while dreaming of becoming a nurse but not having the self-confidence or faith in herself that she could do it. After years of building her back up, my father managed to convince my mother to go to LPN school. Her dream came true; she later returned to get her ADN and turned out to be one of the most instrumental nurses at her hospital as far as patient care standards were concerned. She was chosen to help open a brand new SCU in the very early eighties, and it was there she worked until two years ago when her and my father and brother moved to Florida. She is still a nurse, and I see no signs of her totally quitting EVER, though she's minimized her work schedule to simply one day a week. I can remember those 13 long years that she worked nights, and would come home just in time to kiss us goodbye before we went to school, smelling of hospital soap and Taboo perfume, her face finely wrinkled and tired but glowing with love. She would bring us a Coke in those red paper coke cups they used to use all the time (don't see those much anymore), and it was always the sweetest Coke I'd ever had (my dad didn't allow sugary drinks in the house), and the cup always had a hint of her smell on it. I would put my whole face into the mouth of that cup and inhale; I can still smell it now. She told me horror stories about nursing, advised me for years not to become a nurse, that she wanted something better for me. I never considered it until I was 20, when I realized it was the one thing I really wanted to do, and felt fiercely passionate about. She was and is an excellent nurse, never too tired or busy to do those teeny little things that mean so much when you're ill; I do those same things for my patients at clinicals, and I do those same things for people I meet on the streets, and the people I love, and the people I don't know or have never met. I know there are nurses out there just like my mom, and it gives me a tremendous amount of pride and a big thrill to think that in a few short months I will be able to become one of them. I admire all of you, opinions and all.

Jenny P

Specializes in CV-ICU.

I decided to become a nurse when I was 8 and saw my Mom for the last time before she died. Back in the 50's, children weren't allowed on the hospital units (after all, we had GERMS!!!!!), and there were 5 of us, ages 9 to 2; and this starched old nurse wouldn't let us up to see our mother (she was on bedrest for 6 months because of her bad heart- that's what they did back then). A young nurse snuck us up the back stairs (I think it was 3 to 5 flights of stairs!) so we would be able to see Mom before being wisked off to Minnesota just in time for Christmas. We got to our Aunt and Uncles' house on Christmas eve; Mom died unexpectedly 2 weeks later on January 10th. I always wanted to be a nurse and try to repay that kind young nurse who got all of us kids up the back stairs to see our Mom that one last time. I'm sure we weren't very quiet, and I've often wondered if she got in trouble for doing that.


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 43 years experience.

I've been blessed with many fine nurses to encourage and inspire me.

1960's Alice Hoffman RN, my family doctors nurse. She always had a white starched unifrom and spotless white shoes; she comforted me when I needed a shot or was sick; after telling her I was thinking of nursing, described her job, showed me the autoclave for sterilizing instruments, how to deburr a needle ( glass syringe in those days), and how to take a BP and listen to hearbeat....my first introduction to nursing.

1973 Mrs. Dorothy Law RN: Night shift nurse at the 100 bed nursing home in my town where I took a job as a nurses aide to help pay for college. She was a former Army nurse, 'Drill sargent' and stickler for detail..was always checking up on the aides that we properly cared for our patients...taught me how to reuse only slightly solied linens as draw sheet under red rubber pad and cloth diapers in times of flu and excessive wetting....boy, your patient better be dry after 2AM rounds or she'd strip the bed and make you redo the ENTIRE bed on the client.

The night the flu epidemic hit, (before we were quarantened), she was exhausted from calling so many doctors due to illness, jokingly threatened to fire me if I checked one more patient and found an elevated temp--also told me cause she trusted me since I was in nursing school, was placing tylenol in cups at patients bedside for me to give to my clients as she was the ONLY nurse for the entire 100 patients and couldn't get to everybody with 6 AM meds. Taught me total patient care, give enemas, wound care and loads of TLC for clients.

1976 Nancy O'Hara LPN: my mother-in-law who became my best friend. Convinced her son to allow me to attend LPN school since I'd dropped out of college as car died and decided to marry then return to school. 2 years after becomming an LPN, husband begging me to go to college cause of all the things I was doing and so I'd get PAID for doing it all as night charge LPN.

Nancy taught me about living while dying. In 1979, she developed Ovarian CA. After surgery, Dr told us she had 3 months to live. Traveled with her to University of PA for many a chemo visit with Oncologist. She attended 2 Catholic healing masses and told us after the second mass she felt a hand on her shoulder and that she would live to see a grandchild. Two years later she would watch her sister die of same illness. In 1985 she was alive to see my first born and spoiled him. She continued to work full time until 1987. Nancy was involved in clinical trial for Neupogen.

Over the next few years had numerous surgery's: had kidney removed due to kidney stone and wound up on a ventilator after telling all the Doctors and nurses in ICU she didn't want a vent and if she wound up on one she'd come back to haunt them....all the ICU staff was distraught over this and worked hard to get her off the vent. Next day she's in private room with only Oxygen prongs on, sitting up in bed telling me wan't it nice that her nurse friends hung the newspaper from the ceiling for her to read while she smoked a cigarette...only no newspaper, hallucinating from the demerol; I quickly extingueshed cigarette.

Later hospitalization , she had a stent in the remaining kidney and nephrostomy tube; I specialing her from 3p-7AM. She was in terrible pain upon me walking in room-Rn's said she'd been medicated 30 min ago. Well they always said check the tubes from insertion site to drainage bag: checked IV, foley and nephrostomy tube to discover staff had rolled clamp shut to empty drainage bag and forgot to unclamp rollar---immediate relief. Later that night she slept unusaully soundly and was lethargic when repositioning. Went to RN several times re concerns...at 7AM went out to update dayshift -overheard her night nurse admit to day staff that she inadvertantly given Nancy 2 doses of 10 mg Morphine instead of the 2 mg Dilaudid-------I WENT THROUGH THE ROOF! Tubex are different size, why didn't she inform ME of the problem. Got narcan ordered and immediately Nancy alert. Learned it's better to admit honest mistake than to deny to family a problem.

Few days later visited, she was black and blue from fingers to upper arm---unable to get IV acess and had numerous labs. Why don't you ask for a port a cath--no one thought of it!! I learned to be a patient advocate and think prophylactically to prevent problems cause of these experiences.

In 1989, Nancy admitted to me , she had hoped to see oldest child graduate from college, but adjusted sights to seeing my second childs first bithday in August. Knew then she didn't have much time to live. Brought her home from hospital on younger sons 1st birthday and party held at her house. Two weeks later, she's unconscious in hospital with all the doctors not able to diagnosis problem infection. Getting blood transfusions every day dure to severe anemia. Had the oldest son, now 3 1/2 brought to the hospital to say goodby...half hour later Nancy's sitting up on the side of the bed drinking milkshake with grandson. "That's act three, don't know if I have 9 lives like cat's."

One week later, friday evening, we brought her home on a Dilaudid drip, new fangled Clinitron air bed cause of severe pain and breaking bones when she moved, DNR status, with my homecare agency's staff doing 24 hour care. Stated "First time I'm pain free in over 10 years." She let the kids climb on her chest and said it was like heaven to be with them. I was severely exhausted when the night shift nurse woke me up at 2 AM Monday morning to say that her respirations were low...should she stop the dilaudid cause she didn't want it to cause her death. Crossly, I told her Nancy was dying either way and wanted her to be comfortable--if she wanted to decrease the rate by half ok, but don't turn it off. 10 AM her favorite niece visited who helped with AM care. She smiled at her and then closed her eyes and died peacefully.

Later in talking to my nurse colleagues, they admitted they had never taken care of anyone on such high dose of Dilaudid, accepted my appolgy for being brusque and realized to die in pain was worse. I regret to this day that I didn't help bathe my mother-in-law when the RN asked me as a final way of saying goodby. The niece thanked me for allowing her to help as it helped her deal with her grief.

I now have greater insight into how family dynamics work when working with seriously ill and demanding families, cause I was one of them! I encourage family to participate in care as much as they are willing as it helped me knwing I was able to help my mother-in-law.

Lastly, 1982: Rosalie Mirenda RN OB-GYN instucter---now DR Mirenda and President of Neumann College. She taught me professionalism and nursing advocacy; encougaged and convinced the Dean of the nursing school to send me to the NSNA Annual convention in Minneapolis. There, I learned the importance of networking. Learned a global perspecive of nursing which lead me to become involved in ANA to improve the nursing profession.

lot of people have influenced me to become a nurse, but a couple of people stick out in my mind. The traveling nurse who took care of me when I was in ICU, for pancreatitis and almost died of it. I was post-partum and very depressed I felt hopeless just laying in that hopital bed, she understood why I was crying, unlike the other nurses that would ask me, why are you crying? well I was 18 years old, dying, and unable to be with my 2 month old son. She did not ask those obvious questions. Instead she comforted me and gave me that smile, that made me bealive things where going to be ok.

The nurses who took care of my dying 30 year old brother a year earlier.

I have also met some not so nice nurse who have also tought me what not to do, and how not to be. As a CNA I have had my share of rotten nurses, like the nurse who thinks you know nothing, or treats you less because you dont have a collage education, or the nurse who thinks youre her personal maide. Its so tuff to be a CNA, when I become an RN I will never ever mistreat the aides.

Finaly the person who truly inspired me to go for it was this nursing student who was a preceptor at the hopital I work at. She is about 30 years old, has 5 kids, arrived in the states about 10 years ago from Mexico. It just truly inspired me to go to nursing school. I saw this women as strong, for making a dream come true. Here was this women who had to learn english, go to school to get her GED, take care of 5 kids, and work, and she was finishing up her preceptorship to become an RN. Being a minority, and achieving something so high is just the best thing. I thought to myself if she can do it then this Latino girl who became a teenage mother, and droped out of high school will do it, and I AM

This topic is now closed to further replies.