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Thank a Nurse

My 81 year old grandfather recently had his bladder and prostate removed. I had the privilege to stay long hours in the hospital with him, to comfort him and be his advocate. One particular day, four days after surgery, he had a day that I can only describe as heart breaking. With a fever of 104, heart rate over 120 and blood pressure of 250/84, I watched his body shut down.

His usually pleasant demeanor became combative and quickly turned to non-responsive. He was breathing on his own, so we were never worried about losing him, but it was a scary four hours. When one thing got under control another issue quickly popped up. All hands were on deck to figure out what was happening.

The fever indicated an infection in his body. IV meds to reduce his blood pressure and Tylenol to break the fever eventually kicked in and his slowly opened his eyes and became alert, not remembering the physically demanding day his body had just been through.

I bring this up because he had a nurse that day who never left his bedside in eight hours. While she had three other patients to attend to, her colleagues covered her other duties as she made him her priority. We exchanged ideas, I jumped in when I could tell she needed another set of hands. She was always one step ahead during a very difficult situation. In my opinion, she did not get enough recognition from the doctors on staff for the physically and emotionally grueling day she powered through.

This nurse deserves a medal. In the wee hours of the night, I wrote her a thank you letter. She’ll never know how grateful I am that she was there that day.

It also reminded me that over the summer I had an exceptional nurse at Jefferson during a ketamine stay when I had a really bad day as well. I sent her a thank you note as well. So often as patients we come across people who we feel aren’t listening to us. When someone in the medical field does an outstanding job, they need the recognition and to know that what they do makes a difference.

I’m sharing the thank you letters I wrote to my grandpa’s nurse and to my nurse at Jefferson. I’m not doing this to get any kudos for being a good person, but to inspire you to thank those in the medical field. They often have a thankless job even though we entrust them to aide in our care.

Please feel free to steal any parts of the letters I am sharing to use in your own thank you letters. When you write one, it can be delivered in a number of different ways. Mail it to the hospital or doctor’s office to the nurse’s attention, send it directly to their manager, leave the note at the nurse’s station when you are discharged or find out if there are any awards you can nominate them for within the hospital. For example, I know that Jefferson has the “Daisy Awards” that specifically honors exceptional nurses.

To the nurse helping my grandfather:

Dear D,

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your diligent attention and expertise in caring for my grandfather after he had his bladder and prostate removed. One day in particular about four days after surgery, his condition quickly deteriorated as his body began to fight an infection. Fever, incredibly high blood pressure and increased heart rate had me questioning if he was going to make it through.

You never left his side that day. For hours you stayed by his bedside tackling each new symptom that popped up every time we turned around. It was an intense and physically challenging day as we worked as a team to care for him.

Due to a miscommunication with the urology team, you did not receive the full support you needed. I commend you for fighting for my grandfather and his needs. You are an exceptional nurse who is not only compassionate, but also extremely knowledgeable and fast on your feet. My grandfather was lucky to have you that day.

He is currently in a nursing home/ rehab facility. He is making slow, but steady progress. He’s a fighter and is working hard to come home soon. I thank you for all you did. I hope that we will cross paths again, but hopefully not under such dire circumstances. If there is anything I can ever do for you, please let me know. I will also make sure your manager gets a copy of this letter for consideration in your next review.

Sincerely,

Katie Golden

To the nurse at Jefferson:

V-,

I’m compelled to extend my sincerest gratitude in providing me with the best care during my stay at Jefferson. While your normal duties typically serve those in serious pain after orthopedic surgeries, I was lucky that you had experience with ketamine. Other nurses were not as familiar with the protocol of using ketamine in migraine patients, which hindered my care. Your expertise helped to keep my treatment on the right track.

I’ve been to Jefferson four times for the in-patient ketamine treatment to manage my debilitating chronic migraines. This disease has changed my life, but the cutting edge treatments offered at Jefferson have allowed me to manage my illness more effectively.

During my stay, I trusted you to monitor my potent meds, to check on me and coordinate with the multiple teams to help reduce my pain. I trusted you for even the most humane of duties; helping me shower.

You have a kind heart and are incredibly smart. You have a fantastic future ahead of you. Please let me know if I can ever do anything for you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

-Katie Golden

Have you ever encountered a medical professional in your journey that made a difference to you? Did you do anything special to thank them? 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Erin
    2 years ago

    I always thank my nurses. Several have gone above and beyond to help me. I love these women. Unfortunately, they’ve had to stand up to other nurses, that don’t know anything about migraines, nor do they plan on educating themselves. Nor do they listen to me, or to the Doctors treating me. So I go out of my way, and so does my sister, to thank my nurses. I couldn’t get through a lot of stuff if not for them. I want to make sure they know how thankful I really am.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    Erin,
    That’s fantastic! In an environment where even medical professionals don’t take migraine seriously, it’s fantastic to hear about many who do!
    -Katie
    MIgraine.com Moderator

  • Macbeck
    2 years ago

    As a nurse forced into “retirement” by these nasty migraines I see both sides of this picture. And I have been treated by both types of medical professionals – those who are hardened by their experiences (just another drug seeker), and those who truly care and listen (I work {at the clinic} across the street and I know what this sounds like, but I’m asking for demerol) – the doc LISTENED to me, checked my record, and gave me the demerol.

    From the nurse side of me, I absolutely love your notes to the nurses. Trust me, nurses hang on to those notes – we treasure them and refer back to them when we’ve had a brutal day in which we are questioning our choice of profession. And they keep us going. Thank you!

  • 2 years ago

    Thank you for the reminder. You are right. There are kind people in the medical profession who we should take time to thank.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    dmae,
    That’s so incredible! Especially when you are grieving it’s hard to think about anyone or anything else. That’s so fantastic that you wanted to recognize all that the hospital staff did for your family member. Thanks for sharing!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com

  • dmae
    2 years ago

    Hi Katie,

    I’ll never forget the nurses that cared for my beloved family member, who we lost too soon. The ER, neuro-ICU, ICU, the cancer ward, were staffed by some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. After the events, i returned to the hospital with thank-you notes and vegan chocolates. To think of all they did, and to know they repeat it shift after shift, is beyond me.

  • Jojiieme
    2 years ago

    Katie, this must have been such worrying time! We recently went through a similar experience with D’s father (sadly, he died); the care we all experienced was exceptionally compassionate and extraordinarily skilled, yet is no less than the daily standard to be expected in our local hospitals.
    The sad truth is that usually when this is delivered and received, most people don’t even think about it. They do, however, notice what they think are lapses or errors.
    You may recall that I’ve also recently completed the Compassionate Care course at futurelearn.com (for nurses, caregivers, doctors, etc.). It’s astounding to hear from colleagues around the world just how much impact these thank-yous have on individual nursing team members, and on the whole unit.
    I encourage fellow-migraineurs to thank support staff whenever we can, and to make sure thanks are formally recorded naming individuals when you can. Upper management need to know who and what is working ‘at the coal face’ if there’s to be systemic change.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    2 years ago

    JOJ- I LOVE your enthusiasm! All medical staff are often go unrecognized, but are so vital in the day to day or hourly care of a patient. You rely on them to aide you under the worst circumstances. And I agree that a thank you note is wonderful, but letting a supervisor is even better. It could lead to a bonus or a raise later on.

    THANK A NURSE!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com

  • Jojiieme
    2 years ago

    Sorry if I sound pompous. I’m just really passionate about this!

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