From Nurses, For Nurses: More Stories of Love from the Bedside

From Nurses, For Nurses: More Stories of Love from the Bedside 

Recently, hundreds of nurses from around the country shared touching stories of love, recounting some of the special connections they witnessed on the job. From other nurses to patients to patients’ families, these stories of love — sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes both — highlight the incredible difference a nurse can make in the lives they touch.  

Here are just a few. 

On behalf of the unsung kitchen heroes 

Nothing too exciting but it made my day. Years ago, while I was working as a Wound RN and doing rounds at the hospital, a patient’s husband would visit. He was blind and had a seeing eye dog. The dog was beautiful and amazing to observe.  

This particular day, it was around lunchtime. As they were preparing the patient trays, the kitchen called the floor to ask if the spouse/visitor needed anything and asked if the dog needed a hamburger or something. In the 15 years I spent there, the kitchen had never yet never inquired about helping a visitor or a service dog, but these staff members went out of their way to prepare a “special” tray and deliver it to the patient’s room. I was happy I got to witness such an amazing gesture on behalf of those unsung heroes in the kitchen. 

Submitted by Alyssa Williams 

“The most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard” 

When I was still a floor nurse, I was in a patient’s room, and I heard this beautiful singing coming from the room next door. Since that was also my patient, I knocked on the door and went in. There were five other family members with the patient, and they were singing to her. They asked me to stay as they continued to sing.  

It was the most beautiful and harmonic thing I’ve ever heard, and my eyes welled up with tears. They were using music to relax and heal, though I think it affected me more than it did my patient. I was so touched they included me in that special moment, and it lightened my mood for the rest of the week. 

Submitted by Lori Ackerman 

Related: Music in Health and Healing 

Stories of love: “My lover-dover” 

We’ve all fallen in love with a long-term patient. Not the romantic kind, but the kind of love that gives everything to promote the best for the person you love. My story is of a child who was sent home in the mid 90’s on a ventilator. The hospital staff were certain she would need hospice, but instead she flourished. After a very slow weaning, she was able to get off the ventilator.  

As she was non-verbal, she began learning some sign language to communicate. I was a night nurse and our bedtime routine included reading a book and me telling her she was my “lover-dover.” Every time I’d enter or leave her home, the patient would start slapping her chest. It finally occurred to me she was signing “mine.”  

After questioning, I found she was telling me that I was her “lover-dover” too. 

Submitted by Donna Higgins 

Related: Care, Compassion, and End-of-Life Issues, 2nd Edition 

“Love defies all medical predictions” 

Years ago, I was called to the ICU to set up a dialysis machine. The patient was a 17-year-old female on life support. She’d been on her way to her senior prom with her boyfriend when a drunk driver swerved into their lane. They were hit head-on.  

Her boyfriend died at the scene, and the patient was left in critical condition. Then the girl’s kidneys shut down. A neurologist told the parents they needed to discuss turning the ventilator off. The parents refused. They were convinced that their daughter would walk out of the hospital.  

Several months passed without improvement. The mom and dad took turns sitting vigilantly by their daughter’s bed. I watched as they read her favorite books to her. They told her stories and sang her songs. On her birthday, the ICU allowed her friends to bring in a cake, gifts, and sing happy birthday. The love of all the people who refused to give up on her packed the room from wall to wall.  

Then one day, we heard both parents scream, and we watched in amazement as they pointed to her moving hand. The room filled with medical staff as she opened her eyes and used her hands to communicate. The young lady was using sign language, which she had taught herself before the accident. She had always wanted to become a nurse, and since she had a niece who was deaf, she had a love for deaf children. A few days later, she walked out of the hospital on her own, just as her parents predicted. 

The love that emanated from that young girl’s room was something I’d never witnessed before. All the odds were against her, yet the love from her parents, friends, and hospital staff filled everyone’s hearts. Love can defy all medical predictions. 

Several years later, that young woman stopped by the hospital to let us know that she’d become an RN.

Submitted by Kathryn Clatworthy 

Celebrate more amazing nursing stories of love in our Nurses’ Month hub.