February 2021
Medical Intensive Care Unit
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center




The pandemic has affected many things in our work environment, but it cannot change the impact of Gayle's inspirational act of kindness and respect for her patient.
I have worked with Gayle for over a decade in the 11 UH MICU. The patient population that we care for is varied, often with tenuous clinical conditions, and requires a blend of clinical acumen, critical thinking ability, technical knowledge, and compassion. We have always faced challenges in the critical care environment, but the Covid-19 Pandemic has added new layers of challenge that we could never have imagined just a few years ago.
Our unit is the Covid ICU. As such, we have found ourselves in the unique position of being not only the caregivers for our patients but also their support systems, as well as the bridge between the clinical setting and patients' families. Due to the risk of spreading the virus, visitors have been restricted, and patients have faced life-threatening illnesses without the support of friends and family.
Gayle has been one of the pillars of our unit during this time. She is a well-respected, experienced nurse, who serves both as a resource and as a source of encouragement to other staff. She provides exceptional, compassionate, evidence-based care to each of her patients, always. Gayle rose to meet each challenge we faced with extraordinary grace and a creative spirit.
Several months ago, Gayle was assigned a patient with Covid-19 who was declining rapidly. The patient was aware that with the deterioration of their respiratory status, they would likely be sedated, intubated, and require ventilator support. They told Gayle that they wanted to be baptized before that happened. Gayle reached out to the hospital Chaplain and other members of the hospital staff, and together they developed a plan to fulfill the patient's request. Patients with Covid-19 require strict isolation to protect other patients and staff from the virus. The isolation protocol includes keeping the doors to patient rooms closed, and limiting entrance to clinical staff, to minimize exposure.
Gayle donned the appropriate personal protective equipment and went to the patient's bedside as the Chaplain stood outside of the glass doors to the room. She performed the physical baptism ritual for the Chaplain as he spoke to Gayle and the patient via speakerphone, fulfilling the patient's request. Gayle said this was something she had never experienced in her 30+ years as a nurse, and it touched her deeply. She understood how important it was to meet the spiritual as well as the clinical needs of her patient, and she went above and beyond to do so.
In the moments before her patient was to be sedated for the intubation, Gayle provided a measure of comfort and peace for a very frightened person in the midst of a terrifying health crisis. Her compassion for the patient's request, and commitment to meeting their needs, is typical of the way Gayle cares for all of her patients. When I heard of Gayle's efforts on behalf of this patient, I was moved. The pandemic has affected many things in our work environment, but it cannot change the impact of Gayle's inspirational act of kindness and respect for her patient.