Priscilla Atwood
April 2017
Mercy Hospital Joplin
United States




Priscilla Atwood cared for my sister, as well as all our entire family in the ICU and exemplifies everything that a wonderful nurse should be, and much more.

My sister was only 54 when she didn't wake up from a nap at her home; my brother-in-law found her discolored and not breathing. Paramedics resuscitated her, although she never regained consciousness and our family came to her bedside and Mercy Joplin, first in the ER, and later in the ICU where she spent over a week; starting just before Christmas, with her stay at Mercy ending after Christmas with one of the neurologists who cared for her removing her from the machines that were sustaining her breathing, dialysis, etc. after a myriad of tests showed severe brain damage and no independent functioning.

Although I didn't get to meet Priscilla personally, we spoke on the telephone nearly every day that my sister was a patient, and she would tell me everything that had been done, the results of any testing, if anything had changed, and if she had washed and fixed her hair, what "they" (she) had talked about that day. She explained to me that she wanted to do everything for her that she could, so if perhaps there was still a part of her psyche alive inside, she would know that there was someone with her who truly cared. (this is not a direct quote, but she reminded me every day that she did care, for my sister and for our family and we could call or come up at any time and she was always glad to answer questions or talk to us.)

Priscilla was a comfort to some elderly family members, whose dementia was made worse by the grief and strain, yet she never showed any irritation in answering their same questions more than two or three times. She sent my brother-in-law home for a shower and sleep when he had been at the hospital for two days. To me, Priscilla is the epitome of everything a nurse should be, with a caring heart, cool hands on a hot forehead that brings a cool rag, and most of all, making sure that every patient she cares for knows that she cares.

My daughter-in-law works part-time as an RN for Mercy, so I know you hire the best. When I was thinking of writing this nomination for Priscilla, it struck me about how often our lives are literally touched by the caring hands of nurses: They are sometimes the last hands we feel holding ours when we leave this world. And the best we can hope for is that when it comes our time to leave this world, there will be someone there who cares as much as my daughter-in-law and Priscilla Atwood care.