As a nurse, for the first time in my life, I found myself on “the other side of the bed” with my mom as a critically ill patient on Neuro-trauma 4S. Every time a new shift was about to begin, my anxiety level would increase, wondering who would be caring for my best friend, my mom. There was a small pattern of consistency with really great nurses, but I was always a few shifts away from another change. Six days into her ICU stay, my mom took a turn for the worse and my brother Steve and I stayed at her bedside all night. With morning came another new nurse, Tya Schoppe. For the next four days and another three nights Tya took care of my mom.
It was easy to observe that Tya was clinically exceptional. She was at ease with her care, intelligent, knowledgeable and answered any and all questions that my brother, his wife, my nephew or I asked of her. All of us noticed and remarked on her attention to every detail, and the warm and caring way she took care of my mom.
Tya was the total package. I was always comforted knowing that Tya was caring for my mom.
Spending every day in the ICU with my mom, I spent a lot of time talking with Tya, sharing our stories. I knew it was meant to be when we discovered each of us had a dog named Sami. I was truly touched one evening when Tya brought me a personal handwritten notecard before she left her shift for a few days off. In her note she assured me that my “mama” and I would be in her thoughts and prayers, and that I would see her in a couple of days. I still carry this note with me to this day.
Every evening when our family would come to visit, the first thing they would ask me was “Is Tya mom’s nurse?” I could see the relief in their eyes when my answer was “yes”. Tya cared for me and my family just as well as she cared for my mom.
Families expect nurses to deliver expert clinical care, but it’s the compassionate care at such a life altering time that truly exemplifies nursing. When I was tearful, I could see a tear in Tya’s eye too. Compassion is something families need so desperately at such a difficult time in their life. Tya’s compassion preceded her as she entered my mom’s room; her care of us was harmonious with our needs and her presence added value to us as individuals and as a family.