My grandfather was recently hospitalized, and after a horrible turn of events, he ended up in the neuro ICU at St. Luke's, intubated, and no longer able to communicate with us. It was a very difficult time for my family as we prepared to say goodbye to him. One afternoon, we had a family meeting with the intensivist doctor, our nurse Sarah, and about 20 family members during which the physician and Sarah prepared us for what would happen upon removal of his life support.
As a fellow nurse, I know Sarah likely had other patients and was surely very busy, but she checked on all of us often, supported us, and helped my family and I cope during this extremely difficult time. Sarah went above and beyond for us. She provided my family with some beautiful poems and let each of us pick out our favorite. She made copies of these poems, and then she and a coworker carefully used an ink pad to make a handprint of my grandfather’s hand alongside the poem. She patiently and carefully did this nearly 20 times and individualized each one for a family member. She even used my grandmother's handprint placed next to my grandfather's, in order to create a heart shape for her. This act of kindness and compassion was more than I could ever have expected. It was a truly special and therapeutic moment that we will remember forever, and the handprint poem is something we each have to remember not only our grandfather but also the amazing nursing care Sarah provided to all of us.