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A Nurse’s Story: Going above and beyond

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 3:00pm

By Cari Akerly

(ASN graduate and RN-BSN student)

Since I have worked at UPMC Hamot, I have seen many spectacular nurses do great things for their patients, and not just by caring for their healthcare needs.  Working in a facility for six years you really get a chance to see who is working for a paycheck and who truly cares for their patients and their outcomes. 

Two events stand out for me. The first event centered on a young woman dying of cancer. Despite the terminal prognosis she and her boyfriend opted to get engaged. The staff arranged for the couple to get married in the hospital, decorating the hallway and wheeling her in her bed down a makeshift aisle. It was such a touching and life-changing experience.  

The second experience was one that I personally got to be a part of. The wife of a patient suffering from laryngeal cancer died during his 35-day hospital stay. One of the nurses on my floor arranged for him to attend the funeral service. She actually accompanied him on her day off. This made a huge difference in the grieving process for the patient.  

As for me, I was working when the man learned of his wife’s passing. It was a trying day for him because he was no longer able to speak and couldn’t express his grief and anguish through a conversation. The night before the service, I made sure he was able to shower and prepared him for the day. The nurse who accompanied him said that, despite being in the hospital for 35 days, he was the best-looking person at the service. Situations like this break your heart but they also give you a lot of pride in what you do and help you realize that it’s totally worth it if you can help just one person.