Quick Apply GHR Live!

Nurses Week: Highlighting Your Stories From 2023

May 8, 2024


As we celebrate Nurses Week 2024, the powerful stories and lessons shared by nurses during last year's "Amplifying Nurses Voices" campaign continue to resonate. While the world acknowledges the impact nurses have and the demanding nature of the job, the true essence of the nursing experience often remains unseen. This Nurses Week, let's revisit those impactful stories and reflect on what nurses themselves wanted the world to know.


We asked nurses to choose one of the prompts below to help share their message: 

  • Describe your proudest moment on the job.
  • Tell us about a time when you needed to be brave as a nurse. 
  • What inspired you to become a nurse? 
  • What qualities do you feel make a nurse great? 
  • As a nurse in 2023... what do you want to share with the rest of the world? 
  • Tell us about your favorite patient experience. 

Here are some of the highlights:

Samantha, LPN

I went to NYC and worked in a tent hospital in central park. There was so much fear and death during the early onset of the Covid pandemic. I was with a group of volunteers from around the country. The amazing experience of working with colleagues from around the nation stirred feelings of patriotism. The blue angels flew over our hospital one day, leaving streaks of red, white, and blue in the sky for encouragement. New Yorkers rang bells and clapped for healthcare workers at 7 am and 7 pm each day. I would hurry out of my ward just to drink in their cheers for a few minutes and then get back to work (the thought of this still moves me to tears). Celebrities and local restaurants were extremely generous and sent us fabulous food from every ethnicity which represented NYC. We were never hungry!

The work, however, was exhausting. The shifts seemed never-ending. I worked 21 twelve-hour shifts in a row in full PPE. My nose and ears rotted away with pressure sores from the constant rub of a tight-fitting mask on my face. Stringent aseptic technique kept our entire staff alive Eventually, the emergency help was no longer needed, and the drama and trauma diminished. Things got better and, as we know, are much better now. As I reflect upon this experience, I have come to consider it a privilege to have been a part of this momentous period of history. I experienced America at its very best as its brave citizens banded together and worked side by side in peace and harmony. It is not something I will soon forget.


Tafsina, RN

It was during a travel assignment, I was taking care of a young adult. He was in an MVA that left him paralyzed and had several complicated wounds and a web of chronic and acute illnesses. He was in the hospital for what felt like months, and I got to know him pretty well. He was a grumpy, apprehensive, non-compliant with care and hospital rules kind of person. Medically it seemed that he had a poor prognosis because of a multitude of factors; one of them being that he simply just didn’t want to get better anymore. I would try to share words of encouragement whenever I could, I just wanted to keep his hope alive. He was only 20 years old. He was a baby in life. I wanted him to know, sometimes in life, it’s worth fighting and that he has support. Of course, when you are impacted by sickness, it can be hard to be hopeful and patient.

One day I came to work, and he wasn’t there and learned he had left AMA. Maybe a month later, I saw his name under recent admissions. I went in to say hi to him, and to my surprise, he looked like a new person. For starters, he was smiling! Not only that, he was clinically doing so much better. He was making strides of progress. I jokingly asked if he still remembered me, and he replied, “Of course, you’re the travel nurse.” I laughed, and as I was exiting his room, he stopped me and said, “Taf, I just wanted to say that I appreciate you. I know I’m not easy to deal with, but you were always kind to me and tried to help me. Thank you”. It was that moment where I was so touched, not because he was thanking me for doing my job but because maybe, just maybe, I was a small part of the reason he was smiling again. He hadn’t lost hope all the way. It’s truly the little moments in life where patients make you feel seen by a simple thank you, and it makes all of it worth it.

Kimberly, RN

My patient (let's call her Baby Girl) was staying in the PICU awaiting a lung transplant. She was a remarkably cute and interactive 2-year-old. She was a patient who was deceptively well-appearing, but one of the sickest kids on the unit. She loved playing in her bouncy chair and watching Princess and the Frog. One morning, after a period of doing well, it was around 6AM as I was ending a 4-night stretch as her nurse when her oxygen saturation started declining. Now, this was pretty typical for Baby Girl. She would often stabilize relatively quickly after some routine intervention. However, this time she wasn't popping back up. Her face began to look panicked, and it was clear she knew something was wrong. As I turned up her supplemental oxygen, suctioned her trach, and comforted her, I kept my eyes glued to her monitor. Her oxygen remained at 50%. It was at this point that neighboring nurses came in to help. We called in the team of doctors and her respiratory therapist, and got a stat chest x-ray. Baby Girl had a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Following a few hours of medical intervention, Baby Girl returned to her "normal".  

In moments like this, I feel the best thing you can do as a bedside nurse is focus on your patient and what they need. You don't have time initially to be scared or panicked. Your patient feels it enough for the both of you. You put your own feelings aside and do what needs to be done. Once the patient is safe and stable, I take time to acknowledge how I'm doing. It's okay to feel big emotions during big events. However, being able to put those feelings on hold and do your job is a fundamental part of being an ICU nurse. Being brave doesn't mean you aren't scared, but that you can acknowledge, in that moment, there is something more important you need to put your energy towards. Baby Girl passed away a few weeks later. She and her family held a special place in the hearts of many on our unit. I think about them often and hope they are able to find peace. 


Alicia, RN

As a nurse in the CVOR, I feel that my whole job is being brave. Cardiac OR truly embodies what it means to be a team. If every member of the team doesn't know what to do in an instant during an emergency, that patient could die. 

One particularly harrowing example of bravery comes from an emergency that I participated in. I was on call that night and trying to get some sleep when my pager went off. The second you hear that sound, your feet hit the ground running. I threw on clothes and raced to work. At work, the adrenaline carries you through; pulling trays, opening supplies, checking the H&P, figuring out what this specific patient will need, and anticipating issues that the surgeon doesn't have time to elaborate on. Throughout this whole, hectic process, there is always the thought in the back of your mind, "I hope I'm good enough. I hope I can think quickly enough. I hope my reactions are appropriate to help save this patient." This patient was wheeled in to talk to us, seemingly feeling fine. We got them to the OR bed and began our work. However, at some point during this process, the patient stopped breathing, and then we lost their pulse. I began chest compressions while yelling for my team member to grab the surgeon and pour betadine on me and the patient's chest. We needed to open their chest and perform cardiac massage. The issue was so severe that, if we had reacted any slower, we would have lost the patient— but they survived! 

Being able to help to save a life is why I became a nurse. It's why I agree to be on call. It's why I understand that I have to drop everything I'm doing and rush off from family parties, and gatherings, leave my loved ones behind, so I can be a part of a team that does miraculous things on a regular basis. 

Christal, RN 

My mother, Maritza inspired me to be a nurse. She was a single mother of 5 and always provided for our family. She always had not one, but two or three different jobs. Often times she would take us as children along to work. We would participate in activities with the elderly residents of various nursing homes. When I worked with patients who had dementia, I learned that they loved seeing children— it brightened their day. I was often made fun of for trying to pick the cutest pajama outfits for them at bedtime as a child. Anyways fast forward to when I left high school, I had no idea what to do. My mother always said, “Be a nurse.” I was hesitant, but God led me to the proper path. In 2014 I graduated as an LPN, and just last year 2022 I became an RN. My mother has never been more proud. 


LauraLynn, RN 

When I was nine, my mother was killed by a drunk driver on her way to work. He ran a stop sign and completely crushed her. She was helivac-ed to a level one trauma center in New York, and for three days, the doctors did everything they could. The surgical nurses were phenomenal, and then, finally, my grandparents decided to let her go. Back then, the odds of her recovering from any of the surgeries that were still experimental were so unlikely.  

From that experience, I always knew I was going to be either a doctor or a nurse, and I was drawn to the hands-on care that I got to have by being a nurse. Working with trauma victims as a surgical and trauma nurse especially helps me to hopefully make a difference and save loved ones for other people since I couldn’t do anything to help my mom as a child. 

Anonymous, RN 

I think the great nurses out there understand that life is an experience filled with flaws, fumbles, and growth. We are all at different levels. Some reach the summit quickly and without a hitch, and others stumble and need guidance along the way. It doesn't matter what it is that you are doing in life. It's the respect we have for one another at any moment. Keeping humble, helping one another, showing patience and understanding, and never taking for granted that you may be the one needing help in some way. Sharing what we know and never letting each other fail— because we all need each other. 


Toni, RN 

The adjectives to describe a nurse and what encompasses the job of a nurse are never-ending. A nurse is assigned to every patient in the hospital, and we are there with them from admission to discharge. Everyone, at one point in their life, will need a nurse. In my opinion, the most important quality is to adjust your practice and be the nurse you need to be for that individual patient. Some need a listening ear, some need jokes, some need compassion, and a million other things. I’m so proud to be a nurse! 

Samantha, LPN 

As a nurse working and continuing my education post-pandemic, I want to share with the non-nursing world that nursing is hard! Nursing isn’t only knowing what to do for the patient if they are sick, committing, or crashing, it’s also being a caring, knowledgeable, kind-hearted, listener. 

Some of the patients I have come in contact with over the years are completely stable medically and just need someone to talk to, to share memories, or get something of their mind. A kind, caring nurse takes that home with them at the end of their shift, and for the rest of their life. I could share many stories of patients sharing heartbreaking stories with me, one in particular stands out. It was mid-pandemic; I was on the COVID unit in full PPE and my patient was a retired nurse. She was VERY hard of hearing so communication with an N95 on was VERY difficult. We used a white board to communicate with her. She was lonely and missed interacting with her peers on the unit and for activities. She was a social butterfly usually but in this seclusion she was digging into past memories. She shared with me her last moments spent with her husband of over 50+ years, after she made the decision to remove him from life support. We spent a lot of time together over the rest of my time on this assignment and both enjoyed our time spent together. She wished me wellness, and safe travels on my last night shift, and I wished her happiness and good health. I still often find myself wondering how she is doing, or even if she is still on the earth. 

 I don’t think that many non-healthcare workers understand that for most nurses, it’s not just a shift, something that happens during that shift can have a lifelong impact on you and the nurse can carry that with them for the entirety of their lives. 


Daniel, RN 

“Having endured the hardships through covid and the changing landscape of healthcare has taught me some important lessons: 

  • Life is too short to worry about the small stuff. 
  • Make time for your family and remember to take care of them and yourself as much as you do your patients. 
  •  This job will either make you stronger or make you want to quit. So many nurses that have continued to work through these trying times have grown into excellent leaders. Some of the leaders that thought they knew how to manage these trying times needed to go back to the bedside and find out firsthand what a struggle things still are and were. 
  •  Don’t ever give up on nursing, there will always be a field or specialty you might enjoy better than what you’re currently doing. Even through all the struggles it’s still a rewarding field. It’s still worth it.” 


Donna, RN 

My favorite experience as a nurse, hands down, was the time a patient of mine who had terminal cancer requested he and his fiancé get married before he passed. The facility and care team that I worked with at that time made that happen. We threw them a wedding at the bedside and we each brought in food for a little celebration after (before COVID). It was amazing to see everyone come together to make that happen. 


Nicole, RN 

Recently I took care of a patient who was a parent of a former teacher of mine whom I admired deeply. Unfortunately, the patient transitioned to hospice care and passed away. The thing that affected me the most was a letter that the family wrote to my coworkers and I. They wrote in the letter about how they were proud of me and all my accomplishments, and they loved seeing me do a job I was so passionate about, even under heartbreaking circumstances. It really touched me because this was a person who influenced my life when I was a student. So to help them in one of their most vulnerable times was very rewarding. 

Subscribe to GHR's Blog Newsletter

Your submission was successful.

Thank you for subscribing — we'll be in touch!