Karen Leitnaker was in the right place at the right time. The ER nurse from Tennessee had taken a travel nursing job in her home state and quickly recognized the woman she was caring for.
“I was working in a small hospital near my hometown, and the patient happened to be my next-door neighbor growing up,” Karen recalls. “I walked into the room and was able to call a code, and we brought her back and helped her live for another year or two. Her son was there and I let him in to witness what we were doing for her.”
For ICU nurse Mary Stewart, helping a patient near the end of his life was one of the most rewarding experiences of her career.
“I did my very best to keep the patient comfortable and he finally passed away. The family came to me afterwards and thanked me and hugged me. They said, ‘You made it so easy for him, and you made it easy for us,’” Mary expresses. “I was very proud of what I do, that I was able to help someone transition and comfort that family and support them.”
ER nurse Amanda Sweitzer was caring for a woman who’d been injured in a serious car accident and remembers helping her overcome her crippling fear.
“She was beside herself and worried that it was her fault. Her world was just crashing down on her,” Amanda says. “I was super busy, but she was my sickest patient so I stayed with her through all the scans, X-rays and testing. She calmed down tremendously and kept saying, ‘I don’t know what I would have done had you just left me in this room by myself.’”
Hear these nurses tell their stories in the video below!