Most Memorable Moment


Most of us nurses have an abundance of memorable moments, funny ones, horrible ones, intriguing ones, etc. But, I have one moment that was truly humbling. It was a moment that will never leave me for as long as I live.

Palliative careI had this amazing resident that I looked after as an AIN, RN and as a manager. She was in the same facility for 8 years. I used to call her Nanny. She was a Registered nurse from WW2 days. She was the resident that I would go to if i had any issues just to talk (she was a world of wisdom).

When I returned to this home as the manager, she was still alive but much different. Her communication and cognition had deteriorated significantly. However, she still knew who I was and expressed how proud she was of me to be the manager of the facility.

As her time drew close to an end, her body began to deteriorate and she got several pressure sores despite all the intervention and care we were giving her. Each day, I would soak her heels in saline and re-do her dressings, give her entire body a massage with lavender oil, change her sheets and administer pain relief (morphine) to make her comfortable. It was time for her to go. She knew it, her youngest Son knew it, but her eldest son was not ready to accept this.

My Nanny continued to deteriorate, but for some reason, she would not pass on. Myself and my wonderful EEN approached her eldest son and talked to him about saying goodbye to his mother. He did not understand why she was still holding on, and watching her deteriorate like this was the most stressful and distressing thing he had ever experienced. I sat with him, and explained to him that his mother was waiting for him to say his goodbye. She wanted to know that he was going to be OK if she went. Nanny was not in pain, she was very clearly comfortable sleeping peacefully, now not responding verbally to anything. But, she looked like she was in a beautiful place. Just where you would hope one would be at the end. Her son came inside Nanny’s room and sat by her bed. I gently encouraged him to talk to her, as she can hear him. And, I listened to him say his goodbyes. He kissed her on the cheek and sat holding one hand, whilst I sat holding her other hand, stroking her hair. Within 10 minutes, she passed away.

Now, I had been witness to many elderly people pass on. But, this was the most peaceful, calming beautiful experience I had ever felt. The room felt warm, the light coming from the window made it look like the scene on the movie Ghost, when people die and float up to heaven. I cannot do it justice explaining it in words. Her son felt it too. He got up, gave me and my EEN a big hug, and thanked us. He was so grateful to be at the moment of his mother’s passing. It was a gift better than any other.

I, too, felt honoured to be there at Nanny’s passing. She had meant so much to me, she was “my  Nanny” and to this day, I think back at the memory and smile. And, I still think about her regularly and wonder if she is watching me from above (and you know, sometimes I can feel her around me). I just have to stop for a minute look to the sky, smile and say “Nanny, I miss you”

I know you have all had a memorable moment in your career, or even as a student on prac, so what was it? What was your most memorable moment?

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  1. Rgat was beautiful ! A memory I will share is one many years ago when I was a young nurse, of an old dear lady, she was 97 years old, that I bathed. Each time she would tell stories from her life. She told me, one day, that when she was in the bath the warm water would soothe her aching bones, help her to forget about her athritis and make her feel young again. She told me that when she was in the warm bath, and closed her eyes, she was 17 years old again …… and she was sneaking out the back bedroom window to meet her boyfriend 🙂

    This is the same lady that told me to never be afraid of getting old, as you get a few experiances and a few knocks but … in your heart you stay the same person, you stay who you are.


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