Nanofiltration (NF) is a high-pressure membrane filtration process increasingly applied in drinking water treatment and water reuse processes. NF typically rejects divalent salts, organic matter, and micropollutants. However, the efficiency of NF is adversely affected by membrane biofouling, during which microorganisms adhere to the membrane and proliferate to create a biofilm. Here we show that adhered Pseudomonas fluorescens cells under high permeate flux conditions are met with high fluid shear and convective fluxes at the membrane–liquid interface, resulting in their structural damage and collapse. These results were confirmed by fluorescent staining, flow cytometry, and scanning electron microscopy. This present study offers a “first-glimpse” of cell damage and death during the initial phases of bacterial adhesion to NF membranes and raises a key question about the role of this observed phenomena during early-stage biofilm formation under permeate flux and cross-flow conditions.