From little jokes to life-saving measures, nurses go above and beyond for their patients. Discover a few inspiring stories that showcase how much they genuinely care.
Nurses are indispensable in the healthcare community, and it’s not just because they understand how to draw blood and check vital signs. They go above and beyond the call of duty for their patients every day, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment where patients feel secure and reassured during the most difficult of times. Here are just some of the ways in which nurses rise to the occasion on a regular basis.
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1. By Meeting Their Patients’ Non-Medical Needs
It’s one thing to administer medication; it’s another thing entirely to cater to a patient’s emotional needs. Nurses regularly go above and beyond by bringing simple joys to their patients in a challenging environment that doesn’t always seem joyful. In Seward, Nebraska, sixteen-year-old Madison Hurd had been looking forward to the prom all year, but her dreams of dressing up and dancing the night away were cut short by an untimely sepsis diagnosis.
Because Madison was unable to attend her prom, the nurses brought the prom to her, decorating the hospital room with streamers and balloons and helping her into her prom dress. Her boyfriend even arrived in a tux and danced with her as the nurses supplied the music.
Madison’s nurses are just one example of how nurses need to be able to recognize the emotional and physical needs of their patients. They may not teach that sort of close attention to emotional care in nursing school, but it can make a world of difference.
2. By Connecting and Communicating With Patients on a Personal Level
Doctors are in the business of saving lives, and they’re incredible at what they do; however, many patients’ much-needed comfort and encouragement more often come from nurses. Doctors excel with medical protocols and procedures, but in a busy emergency room or bustling doctor’s office, nurses are often the ones who have the most face-to-face interaction with the patient.
While questions like “How are you feeling today?” and “Is there anything I can get for you?” can make a patient feel at ease, there are other ways in which nurses go above and beyond. For example, many nurses take the time to learn how to communicate with patients in their native language. It may seem like a small gesture, but it can mean the world to frightened patients who have limited English skills.
The gesture can be as simple as listening, providing reassurance, or even singing a patient’s favorite song from Aladdin.
3. By Working Exhausting Shifts to Meet the Needs of Their Patients
Your typical nurse doesn’t work from 9 to 5. As recently noted by Nurse Practitioner (NP) Veronica Southerland in testimony before the United Nations, nurses commonly work 12-, 14-, and even 16-hour shifts. Many nurses, such as private duty nurses, may be on call 24-7 to ensure the safety and comfort of their patients.
This type of work often requires nurses to give up their nights and weekends. In many cases, they sacrifice their own sleep, holidays with family, and more to ensure that their patients are receiving the best care possible.
4. By Always Giving Their Best Despite Overwhelming Adversity
Nurses make it look easy. But the truth is, nursing is anything but easy. Just follow the news on any given day, and you’ll hear stories about nurses being kicked, nurses being pushed, and nurses having to deal with every kind of difficult patient. In addition, nurses are constantly exposed to every kind of contagion from tuberculosis to the latest measles outbreak.
Yet, through it all, they never lose their professionalism or enthusiasm. Their commitment to their patients remains unshaken. That kind of commitment is nothing short of remarkable, and nurses don’t get nearly the credit they deserve for it.
5. By Giving Their Patients Hope and Encouragement for the Future
In the film Patch Adams, Robin Williams has a famous line that resonates in the medical community: “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.”
Nurses constantly go out of their way to live according to this inspiring mantra. When Shellie Chapman was diagnosed with colon cancer, she was understandably overcome with despair. Her nurse, Debbie Cash, proved to be a guardian angel. She sat with Shellie, cried with her, comforted her, and uttered the empowering words, “You're stronger than you think you are.” Cash was a fellow cancer survivor, and her encouragement gave Shellie the strength she needed in her darkest hour.
Cash’s story in Florida Today represents how nurses are so much more than caregivers -- they are an essential emotional support system when your body feels like it’s turned against you, and they can make the difference between just “getting better” and truly healing.
6. By Inspiring and Helping Other Nurses
The camaraderie between nurses is legendary. One of the best ways that nurses promote the well-being of patients is by ensuring that their colleagues have the support, knowledge, skills, and motivation they need to provide exceptional care. Nurses succeed in this effort every day by assisting one another, sharing stories, providing a shoulder to cry on, and offering invaluable mentorship.
The Meta Picture shared one such story of a nursing student who was studying for her licensing exam. She picked up a textbook at Barnes & Noble and tucked inside the book was a handwritten letter entitled “Words From a Nurse.” The letter was filled with advice like “I want to let you know that the first year or two out of school is the hardest. But don’t give up & remember why you decided to become a nurse in the first place.”
Included with the letter was a $10 Starbucks gift card. The author of the note encouraged the reader to “grab some coffee and study for the NCLEX.”
That kind of emotional support -- even for a stranger! -- shows the incredible support that comes with stepping into a nursing role.
Nurses Are Constantly Going Above and Beyond
The philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell once said something that resonates strongly with nurses: “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” Nurses live by this wisdom every day. Their knowledge of medical procedures and saving lives is invaluable, but it’s their tireless compassion, empathy, and care that make a meaningful, lasting difference in people’s lives.
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This guest post was created by Aaron Smith. If you are interested in publishing your work on the eMedCert blog, please contact our editorial team at [email protected]