Scary Nursing Stories: Halloween Edition 2020
From ghostly night shifts to frightening situations, here are the scariest stories you shared with us!
"I was working a 26-bed ED with only a new grad RN (and no APP) when the only physician on... coded."
- Matt T, RN
"My very first travel assignment was during the winter at a hospital in a little town in North Dakota. They started me off on nights. One night, I’m waiting at the nurse’s station to get report.
The person I’m taking over for is busy in a room. I answer a call from the tele room that a patient’s heart rate is in the 30s. It’s someone I’ll be taking from the nurse that is busy, so I go down there expecting that a lead came off or the box is unplugged or something like that.
The patient is COLD. Unresponsive. Also a DNR. I finally touch base with the one nurse who is distraught when I tell her what happened because she was just in there 15 minutes ago, and the patient was awake and laughing and perfectly fine (all things considered).
So we get started on the post mortem stuff. I’m at the desk. The call light in that room goes off. I trot down there, thinking the other nurse needs help with something. There is no one in there but the deceased. This happens at least one more time before the patient’s family arrives to gather the belongings of the deceased.
We opened the window after they left. Easily one of the stranger experiences I’ve had so far!"
- Madison J, RN
“So, parents brought in this 4 or 5 year-old girl because she would have these 'episodes,' and they 'didn’t feel safe,' but they wouldn’t explain what she would do during them. They just told me that she will do it again in a minute.
So I’m getting her vitals, and she’s really sweet and interactive, and then all of a sudden her head/neck/upper extremity goes limp. I shake her and see she’s still breathing but not saying anything.
Then she lifts her head a little and all of a sudden has this deep manly voice, almost raspy and definitely sounded like it was from an older man, and says to me: 'don’t hurt her, don’t hurt her... take that knife away.'
All of a sudden, she snaps out of it and is talking in her normal voice again with normal tone and says, 'I’m sorry. The scary man had a knife to your throat and wanted to kill you and put your blood on the wall, but I told him no.'
She gets admitted for months and has every treatment under the sun and finally the family wants her to have an exorcism. They fly a priest in from Texas and invite every person who's been in contact with her to be present to 'expel the demons.'
The priest has the girl lay on a sheet on the floor. The lights are dim, and he says some prayers in Latin. This goes on for a while, and then all of a sudden she starts shaking her whole body on the floor, speaking in that deep voice again — and in tongues.
This lasts for a minute or two, and then the priest says, 'Thank you all for coming. That concludes this ceremony.' Then, in her chart she had zero episodes after that and was discharged a few days later.”
Mystery at the Nurses Station
"It was a late one night, and I was alone charting. I was by myself at a nurses station in an old nursing home. Suddenly, all of the charts just fall off the shelf! I grabbed my stuff and sprinted to the other station!
I have NEVER seen the charts do that, and the shelf was still hanging on the wall! I had full melt down. I made someone do night rounds with me after that."
- Jamie N, RN
Open the Window, Colleen Wants Out
"I worked as a nurse manager at a local nursing home at one point in my career. It was my week of call, and the overnight supervisor called off sick. It was around 0250 when the buzzers for the doors started all going off.
At first, I thought it was some sort of reset in the programming, as they all couldn’t have residents trying to leave at the same time. I started to have my coworkers check the doors (a bunch of newer coworkers).
The doors were going off for about 20 minutes when a seasoned GNA came back from her break. She looked at what was going on, me standing in front of the alarm box and said, 'Open the window, Colleen wants out.'
I thought she was joking until she insisted even more. 'She’s gonna get mad, open the window...' So I walked over and yanked open the window, immediately the doors on the first, second, third, and basement all stopped alarming.
This experience still gives me chills, especially considering there was a draft and the curtains pulled outward like something moved through them. Apparently Colleen was one of the first residents who had ever been placed in our facility and didn’t have any living family. She was 108 when she passed at the nursing home."
- Brian M, RN
"One evening my colleague, Jeannie, and I were working OB. We had no pts, so we were stocking and doing all our checks so we could watch TV the rest of the night. She was doing the labor rooms, and I was doing the nursery.
I was in the very back of the nursery in special care, and I heard someone softly say my name. Jeannie has a soft voice. I came out to the desk area, but she wasn’t there, so I figured I’d see her later and went back to the special care area.
A few minutes later, Jeannie came in to where I was and said, 'Hey, were you calling me?' I asked her what she heard, and very softly she repeated her name. I told her I just heard her call me in that very same tone.
Our unit is a locked unit for infant safety, so no one else could have entered without us knowing it."
- Dora C, RN
Unidentified Foreign Object
"Whenever I am about to receive a patient for “foreign body extraction” in the OR, I have to wonder...How did Lumière get stuck in the rectum? I thought it was only Casper who can go in and out of someone’s body."
- Kay M, RN
Mysterious Call Lights
"I worked as a travel nurse at a facility in Vermont from July to October of this year. The week before I started, three residents passed away on the lower level.
One night, the other night-shift nurse came downstairs for something and noticed the kitchen door was left open and proceeded to close it, asking, "Who left that open? We can't have that door open!" She then told me about the first time she worked on that floor by herself at night...
The nurses station was right across from the kitchen, and she said one night she's just sitting there doing her tasks and suddenly hears all of this banging on pots and pans in there. The lights are off, so she goes in there and says, "Hey, I know you're in here, and you need to stop that now.'
After that, the noises stopped, and the rest of the night was uneventful. After telling me this, she went back to her station upstairs. This was around 11pm, and about 30 minutes later a resident put her light on, so my aid went in to answer it, but right after she went in that room another call light came on.
And not even 30 seconds after THAT light came on, the one across from it also came on. So I went to answer those two lights.
The first one was a resident who wanted a pain pill, and the second light was the empty quad room across the hall from him. The light in the room was on, too, so I peeked inside to see if we had any confused Dementia patients wandering in there... but there was no one.
I shut the call light AND the room lights off, closed the door, and hurried back toward the nurses station. On my way back, I noticed that the linen closet door was open, but it was closed when I went down that hall to answer those lights a few seconds earlier. I closed it and scurried back to the nurses station.
After my CNA came out of the other residents room, I told her about the linen closet, and she said the same thing happened to her. Fast forward a couple of hours and two more lights go off, so she goes down there to check and see whose they were, and I followed directly behind her.
The first light was in a room with a resident who was out cold. The call light was on the floor at the foot of his bed opposite of where his upper body was on the bed itself. She shut that light off, and we continued down to the end of the hall past the empty quad room to check on the other call light.
The next had another sleeping resident who won't even get up to be toileted at night and has such advanced Dementia that she wouldn't know or remember what to do with the call light. Her head is at one end of the bed, and the call light is at the opposite end of the bed on the floor.
This was around 0200, and I had made up my mind: I said out loud, 'I know you've passed and that you're still here, and it's fine if you want to stay, but you don't have to. I'm sorry if no one opened the window for your spirit to leave when you passed. You're welcome to stay if you want to, but my other residents are asleep now, so could you please stop turning on their lights?'
After that, the call lights stopped coming on in without a resident actually pushing them, and the rest of the night was quiet."
- Mimi R, LPN