“That’s My Nurse” Tribute

Every day, throughout the state of Connecticut and across the country, nurses save lives. They do the impossible and the unbelievable every day, saving the lives, the families, the hopes and the futures of their patients. Through the Connecticut Nurses Foundation, families who have lived through the unimaginable are able to give back to the nurses who made all the difference.

  • Do you work with or know a nurse whose expertise you admire?
  • Do you know a nurse who mentored you and continues to mentor you and other nurses?
  • Is there a nurse in your community who, although retired, gives many hours to community service agencies?
  • Is there a nurse you would simply like to honor because he/she is a dear friend and valued colleague?
  • Is there a faculty member, student or group you would like to honor?

The Connecticut Nurses Foundation would like to assist you in honoring your colleague, their knowledge, compassion and contribution to the profession of nursing. Please fill out the form below and return to the Connecticut Nurses Foundation.

Honor A Colleague Form

Below are just a few of the stories of people of the Connecticut proudly celebrating, exclaiming “That’s My Nurse”.

Julie Stewart, DNP, MPH, FNP-BC

“It feels like yesterday.  It was December 7 almost 23 years ago when I received the phone call from a hospital in a far away county telling me that my husband had a heart attack.  Our lives veered sharply left.

Doctors talking. Me not hearing most of it.” He’d been given a ‘clot-buster’ and “it seems to be working” is the refrain.  OK, I thought, I’m a nurse – we’ll figure this out. Clot-buster’s working. Walter is young and strong. Not good, but it’ll be fine. Except when it isn’t.

As expected, each day, the CCU is buzzing and the lights are glaring. Me rationalizing….OK, good to see activity…need lights to see everything going on…he looks OK…but somehow not quite right. What is that bizarre looking thing on the monitor – oh yeah – ventricular complex. It’s one thing to learn about arrythmias..it’s another to see your beloved’s heart producing them. Walter doesn’t seem to be breathing quite right….I hope someone will come in soon.

Enter Julie. Our nurse. Julie is one of the smartest, most understanding, most compassionate and authentic nurses I’ve ever known. In a matter of 10 seconds, she is scanning Walter head to toe with one eye, viewing the monitor with the other eye and looking first at Walter then at me straight on with both eyes asking ‘and how are you both doing?’…How does she do that?

“Something’s not quite right” I say. “I’m not sure what it is, but not quite right” Walter wearing an oxygen cannula saying “I feel OK” and nodding vigorously…Two days later he was on a vent; his breathing having become so compromised that he needed a machine to breathe for him. Respiratory distress syndrome, most likely. Uh-oh, I say. This is not good. This is not fine. Now what?

Julie cared for Walter & me most days of his nearly 2/12 months in the CCU. She cared for us. She was our nurse. She ministered to Walter primarily in the physical domain, as he was, in essence, in a medically induced coma. On some days, there were questions as to whether Walter would see another day. Some staff spoke to me about “turning off the machines”. “We can dial it up and dial it down but it’s not going to help in the long term”, they’d say. Yes, I know all this…I am a nurse. But wait, I say…you don’t know him…you don’t know me…you don’t know what we can do together…Julie saw the bond between Walter and I – even though he could not speak. She saw the bond each and every day. She could sense his strength and the strength of our relationship. She and I spoke of my worries…. I am a nurse. I knew that the odds were not in our favor. I could not have such a conversation with most anyone else. Several weeks into our stay in the CCU, I spent nearly 48 hours crying quietly but continuously, at Walter’s bedside. He had taken a turn for the worse. I called on the spirits of our relatives who had passed from this life and asked for their aid. I could only emote like this because Julie was on-duty. She ministered to Walter and she ministered to me.

She requested to care for us when she was on duty. She had an uncanny ability to anticipate his instabilities. She was exquisitely sensitive to the most subtle change in his condition and acted immediately to reverse many looming adversities. I know that her assessments and interventions gave Walter the critical days that he needed to stabilize and reverse a horrible downward trajectory.  Every day she encouraged me to participate in Walter’s care and assisted me to do so. She was tremendously respectful to us both each and every day.

With Julie’s expert care and the expert care of others, over the course of a tortuous and briny path, on Super Bowl Sunday, a miracle happened. Walter breathed on his own for a few minutes! He even looked at me. Might we dare to hope?  Yes, we dare to hope. Several weeks later, we transitioned from the CCU to telemetry. Julie introduced us to the telemetry staff and briefed them on us. Yes, us. Some weeks later, we happily and anxiously moved to a physical rehabilitation facility. Two weeks later, on St. Patrick’s Day, Walter came home!

Twenty-three years later, we are still us – Walter & me.

I am forever grateful to Julie, our nurse. She saved our lives.”

Myra Dejesus, RN

“At Courtland Gardens, a long term care facility in Stamford, I often see the faces of the patients light up with smiles when certain nurses arrive.

I interviewed one patient, Francia Rodriquez, and asked her what it was that made her nurse Myra Dejesus so special.  Francia told me that while she was in the hospital she had heard of Myra, but had not met her until she arrived at Courtland Gardens.  Francia’s friends had told her many fine things about this nurse and she actually had spoken to Myra on the phone prior to meeting her.  She felt a friendship with Myra before she experienced the excellent quality of her nursing care.  Myra’s personality and compassionate spirit, along with a good understanding of her patients’ needs, help to make her one of the best nurses around.

Mrs. Rodriquez also told me that she has also noticed how Myra interacts with other patients as well, caring and being so kind to them.  She also pointed out that she is impressed with how well Myra manages the various personalities of the people who work with her.  Myra is a highly skilled director (supervisor).  Many patients depend on Myra, and she administers their care in a highly professional manner.”

To help future generations of nurses like Myra and Julie, please consider donating to CNF’s scholarship funds.

All donations are tax-deductible under the 501(c)3 provisions. Checks may be made payable to the Connecticut Nurses Foundation. Online donations are also accepted.

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