Celebrating a Former Nurse Who "Led the Way"
Mattie Beattie, 93 years of age, was a patient in the Transitional Care Unit. She was weak and failing, but still alert and communicating with the nursing staff. Her son and daughter-in-law were attentive visitors. One January day, Family Birth Center Director, Karen Navis, chatted with them in the cafeteria check-out line. Karen learned the family was visiting Mattie - a registered nurse at Good Samaritan for more than 30 years and was one of the first nurses in the surgical recovery room. This wonderful story was promptly shared with TCU Director, Shelly Jorges, who shared it with TCU staff. The staff wanted to recognize Mattie's nursing achievements and quickly developed a plan with each person playing a part in this celebration of Mattie's nursing career. Everyone knew that time was precious.
Shelly spoke with the family about the award and gained their support. Vice President Carol Wahl visited Mattie and thanked her for her accomplished nursing career. The DAISY Foundation was contacted and Bonnie Barnes (co-founder and president) joined in the fun by sending a recognition certificate, a special "celebratory healer" statue and a DAISY pin by overnight mail. Cinnamon rolls are a special part of every DAISY Award and Jerrilyn, a retired TCU RN known for her "melt in your mouth" cinnamon rolls, agreed to bake a pan for the event. Two retired physicians and a retired nurse who worked with Mattie were contacted and they excitedly agreed to come to the celebration. The event was planned for Monday, just three days away.
On Sunday, Mattie became increasingly confused and less alert. The TCU nurses decided it was important to recognize Mattie without delay and they joined together for a special DAISY Award ceremony in Mattie's room. They presented her with the DAISY pin and attached it to her gown.
On Monday, Mattie was not able to participate so a smaller celebration took place with her family, nurses and special guests in the TCU gathering room. The family shared Mattie's amazing nursing career which included: going into nurses' training right out of high school, joining the Army and being sent to England during World War II as part of the build-up for the invasion of France, working in a MASH unit and caring for the first injured of D-Day, and then working at Good Samaritan for 30+ years. The certificate and statue were presented to the family honoring Mattie for a nursing life well lived. The family shared how special this award was to Mattie and that in all her years of nursing, she had never been honored in such a profound way.
Mattie died on Tuesday - with the DAISY pin on her gown. Her obituary mentioned that "she received the honorary DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses given in appreciation of the meaningful difference she made in the lives of the many patients and families she cared for at Good Samaritan Hospital".
Oh, the power of human connections and storytelling. Time is precious. We were all reminded we each have the power to make a difference and it is never too late to celebrate an extraordinary life.