We recently cared for a challenging patient who did not communicate with the staff in the friendliest of terms. One particular day, his primary nurse was determined to connect with him and see what she could do to lift his spirits. She was able to get him engaged in a conversation and that is when she found out what had him so down. He lost his glasses and his clothes were shredded during his EMS transport to the hospital. She also realized that he was homeless and anxious about his upcoming discharge. He did not have the means to replace these items and the weather forecast was predicted to be record lows over the next several days. She was able to find some reading glasses for him, but the clothing options were limited and not suitable for his tall/slender stature. She shared these concerns with the charge nurse, Tonya Sullivan. She was not scheduled to return the following day, but Tonya was and so Tonya immediately volunteered to look for some suitable items at home.
The next day, she received a text from Tonya letting her know that she was able to find some clothes in his size including a warm down coat. Tonya said that when she presented these the items to the patient he was so elated. He immediately grew a great big smile and said, “It really is a Merry Christmas.".
When I became aware of this gesture, I wanted to acknowledge Tonya’s genuine concern and determination to perform this act of kindness. Her kind, compassionate care is not unique to this situation; she continuously seeks out opportunities to perform humble acts of kindness to many of our patients.