Donna M Brendt
August 2023
Donna M
Coronary Care Unit
UVA Health
United States




Donna got me through two of the most difficult days of my life.

My evening started as any normal evening. I worked full-time, took no medication, and was unaware of any health problems. I was preparing dinner for my two grandchildren, for whom I am solely responsible. I was later to discover how life can change "in an instant". My grandson (14) had called EMS, and I arrived at UVA by helicopter having suffered an acute STEMI and cardiac arrest x5.

It was day one when I met my nurse, Donna Brendt. Intubated and on amiodarone and levophed drips, I was aware of the severity of my condition. Donna immediately made me feel safe at the most vulnerable time in my life. She is the epitome of all the DAISY Award recipients. Her competence, genuine kindness, compassion I would feel, and calm demeanor went far and above "just doing my job". She embodied the art of nursing where she anticipated my every need, and addressed my pain promptly - not just with medication - but comfort measures that are often overlooked. With reassurance, she explained every move, and every procedure, gave accurate timelines, and made me feel like I was the only patient. I could sense she cared about me not just for me. This is the nurse all nurses should emulate. She got me through two of the most difficult days of my life. When I thanked her, she accepted no credit, she felt she was infeed, just doing her job and it was a team effort.

This thank you is in the hope that in some small way, I can show my immense gratitude for the care I received. I want Donna to know what a truly extraordinary nurse she is. I write so she recognizes the impact she made on me, as I'm sure she does with every patient in her care. I am home, doing well, and continuing to care for my grandchildren who sadly have no other family. This could have ended very differently. I am proof that nurses do change lives and it is not a slogan. My grandchildren and I will be eternally grateful.