Nicola Ajax

Nicola Ajax, RN, BSN

ICU
Queen of the Valley Medical Center
Napa, California
United States

I wish to nominate Nicola Ajax, RN. First let me say that I have been involved with Nurses, including my wife, for over thirty years, which is to say I know a little about them; and as Technical Director of Respiratory Care at the Veterans Home of California and a Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner for more than twenty-five years, I have spent more than a little time in the ICU environment. What I witnessed, and more importantly, the treatment I received from this wonderful woman is difficult to describe, though the word “incredible” comes to mind.
Never have I seen, much less been the recipient of such compassion and caring from any individual, ever. Nicola cared for my wife to be sure, but she cared for me and at times protected me as well.
When I was at my wits end, she helped to calm me; she comforted me, and at times held me while I cried. She gently reminded me of my own core values, giving me the strength and courage to discontinue the life support for my wife that was no longer prolonging life, but only prolonging death. They were the same things that my dear wife did for me two days earlier, when it was necessary for me to discontinue life support for my Mother for those very same reasons. Nicola stayed with me and helped me to “stand tall” until I was finally ready to leave, long after her shift had ended.
Like my wife, Nicola embodies the spirit that I have come to know as “The Healing Touch”. This is the highest compliment that I can ever bestow. Her caring and compassionate manner is far and above what one usually expects. Beyond that, her professional demeanor and obvious clinical expertise was not lost on me. She showed herself to be an excellent and skilled clinician, well suited to the intensive care environment.
I am incapable of describing all that she did for me for the list is long and personal. But what I can and must say is simply this: Nicola has touched my heart. I owe her a debt that I can never repay.