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Happy Nurses Week!

Featured Article | May 10, 2016 | By Lauren McGowan, Recruitment & Admissions Specialist

Nursing is a demanding profession that can, at times, feel thankless. Yet, talk to many nurses and you will hear how rewarding it is to care for patients and their families. Despite daily challenges, nurses provide expert care and compassion for people from all walks of life. They are on the front lines battling disease, illness and hopelessness with their weapons of competency and kindness. There is no doubt that nurses are vital to the functioning of our healthcare system and our communities, and in improving the lives of the patients they care for.

In honor of Nurses Week, we asked some of our current students and faculty to share their most challenging and rewarding nursing experiences, offering a small glimpse into nurses’ tireless efforts to keep us safe and healthy.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Dealing with families that have conflicting views on how their family member is treated.

–Jill, RN to BS 2017

Watching someone lose their battle in life.

–Stacey, RN to BS 2016

Being the hospice nurse for a young woman who had small children. She died from a brain tumor with her family at her bedside. I was the same age as she and her husband. I had a child the same age as her son. The experience caused me to leave nursing for about a year. From this experience I learned how important it is to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally, and to approach the profession of nursing with compassionate but healthy boundaries.

–Suzanne, PhD 2018

Transitioning into practice. Not everything is textbook.

–Jillian, DNP 2017

For me it was hard to accept the fact that there are people who do in fact reach a point where they don't want to help themselves. As a nurse you still need to keep providing the best care that you can and make the patient as comfortable as possible, even if they don't want to cooperate.

–Kaitlyn, DNP 2020

My first code, and dealing with patient families.

–Joy, MS 2018

Being at the delivery of a baby who had died in utero.

–Jenny, RN to BS 2017

… ethical and end-of-life care situations.

–Kaitlyn, DNP 2018

… the initial overwhelmed feeling on that first evening I was in charge on a busy med-surg unit was one of the most challenging situations. [That feeling] can't be avoided because you care about all the patients and worry that you will make a mistake.  With experience it is amazing how much you learn and grow.

–Kathy, DNP 2016

What has been most rewarding?

Being there for someone at the end of life.

–Jill, RN to BS 2017

Helping someone achieve their health goals.

–Stacey, RN to BS 2016

Knowing that you made a difference. I once had a patient [who] came up to me in a grocery store and thank[ed] me for taking care of them so well.

–Jillian, DNP 2017

Almost every day is rewarding when you are a nurse, but this experience has always stuck in my mind: I was a new nurse working in a skilled nursing facility and we had an older gentleman who was admitted with a feeding tube. He was a diabetic, had some dementia, and had been found lying unconscious at home. Nobody expected him to ever get better. After a while he started climbing out of bed and falling and so we were faced with deciding how to best keep him safe … we decided that the best approach was to come up with [an] alternative feeding schedule …  He continued to improve and we asked his family to bring food from home. Lo and behold he could eat once he had the food that he wanted! It really took creativity and a team approach. Eventually he wanted to get back to work (he had been a groundskeeper) so we gave him small projects out in the garden … It really felt wonderful to empower him, to restore his quality of life and to be part of a cohesive inter-professional team.

–Suzanne, PhD 2018

… as a new nurse the most rewarding experience for me is when a patient thanks me for all I have done for them throughout their stay. It's also humbling when patients remember your name after they just met you the day before and you start to develop a relationship with not only the patient but their family as well.

–Kaitlyn, DNP 2020

A patient's family telling me that I made a difference. And finally successfully starting an IV on a patient with terrible veins!

–Joy, MS 2018

Being able to be present at the births of many, many babies who transformed a couple into a family.

–Jenny, RN to BS 2017

The most rewarding experiences in my nursing career have occurred as I have facilitated the transition of offering acute care to transitioning the patient and their family into a peaceful dying process. Truly rewarding to see a family come together and grieve through the loss of a loved one.

–Carla, UB Nursing Faculty

This is a tough question because I personally think that I could fill a book with all the rewarding experiences that I have treasured throughout 36 years of nursing ... And still continuing!!  I would divide the rewarding experiences into patient related and nurse related.  I have learned that one can ease pain, suffering and anxiety in both.

–Kathy, DNP 2016

At the end of the day knowing that I took the best care of my patient and family is the most rewarding experience.

–Kaitlyn, DNP 2018

The most rewarding experience is being an agent for change in patient's lives. Witnessing how patients cope with difficult circumstances and then overcome them -- there is nothing more inspiring.

–Seth, DNP 2018

To nurses everywhere:

We recognize and appreciate your boundless effort, and we offer you our sincerest gratitude for all that you do -- from healing wounds to lifting spirits. Happy Nurses Week!

Reader Comments

Most rewarding moment since arriving in Buffalo- A patient of mine came to class with flowers last week to say thank you and spoke to the students about how lucky they were to be in such an amazing profession!! As a CRNA we often don't get to see our patients a week after we take care of them, this was an awesome surprise and reminded me of what I love about my job-The Patients!!

-Kristy Faust

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