The Nurse That Mattered

I was talking to my friend’s girlfriend at the hospital and she told me a fantastic work story. My friend had fallen 45 feet while ice climbing. He used all the best gear: expensive ropes, a solid helmet, and the best shoes available, but accidents do happen. He had reached the top of the climb when he told his friend below that he was coming down. His buddy at the bottom held the rope in place so he could let him down slowly, but as my friend leaned back a rock sliced through the rope, a one in a million occurrence, but yet it happened. He free fell from 45 feet and landed on his left leg first, shattering his foot up to his high ankle. He also broke his other ankle, wrist, and fractured three vertebrae.

A helicopter flew him to the nearest hospital. He’s stable and went through surgery, but this story is not about doctors, but their support staff, the nurses, specifically one nurse who understood her job better than all the rest. After surgery my friend was in severe pain. The body just doesn’t understand how to deal with such a severe injury. Our medicinal tools have developed faster than our brains can evolve. At 2 am my friend’s brain was receiving signals from his foot that it was going to explode. He called for a nurse, but no one came. By the time someone did come his back went into spasms. His pain was so severe that his body was going into shock.

The nurse that arrived to his room too late left at 3 am and the next shift came in. The nurse on the next shift understood how critical swift action meant to my friend. When my friend’s pain medication wore off again he signaled for the nurse and she came running to administer the medication. There was never a chance for his back muscles to go into spasm. When her shift ended she said goodbye and told him she’d be back at 3 am.

I’ll wake you up when I get in,” she said.

Yes, please do.”

I was just kidding. I’m not going to wake you up if you are sound asleep.”

Really I want you to wake me up.”

All right, but you have to go right back to sleep.”

Yes, ma'am.”

My friend appreciated this nurse so much that he wanted her to understand how much he valued her by requesting that she wake him up in the middle of the night.

That’s being a difference-maker in someone’s life. Have you ever had such a caring experience with a nurse?