Sandy Johnson
August 2022
Department of Surgery
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
United States




​​​​​​​This family had so much peace, comfort, and support because of you, Sandy.
On my unit (the organ transplant unit), we don't see death very often - we see the other side of it, patients receiving the gift of a second chance of life, often because of the loss of another. Last weekend, we had a patient whose family had decided it was time to transition the patient to end-of-life/comfort measures. The nursing staff had received some resistance from the provider team and not much communication. This is where Sandy made such a huge difference.

She was our surgery shift coordinator for the weekend, plus. On Day One, she came up to the unit (by the request of nurses caring for this patient), went to the provider team and advocated for the patient’s and family members’ needs and wishes, and helped facilitate progress toward comfort care. She then took a step further and introduced herself to the patient's family to let them know we were there for them. Although palliative wasn't consulting on the weekend, she reached out to a friend on the team who reviewed the patient's chart from home and sent recommendations for the patient to the primary team.

On Day Two, the family felt unsettled by the time they had expected their loved one to pass – they were concerned it was going on longer than they were prepared for. Sandy came up to our unit, got into full PPE (to be with this COVID-positive patient), and went into the room with the patient’s immediate family members to discuss what they could expect with end-of-life, addressed their questions and concerns, and talk through options. She was in there holding a family discussion for an hour.

On Day Three, the patient ended up passing. When I informed her, she came up to the unit, went into the room to provide support and condolences to the family. She also remained a contact for me, answering all my many questions as I worked through the post-mortem process.

This family had so much peace, comfort, and support because of you, Sandy. The nursing staff caring for this patient felt so incredibly supported by the department leadership, as shown through our shift coordinator. I am so proud and honored to be able to work with Sandy. I have so much respect for her and I learned so much from her through this long weekend that I will carry for the rest of my career.