Editors Column: Richmond Has Some Amazing Nurses

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Written By Brandon Jarvis

The definition of a nurse is as follows; “A person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital”. However, if you have ever spent time in a hospital for yourself, or with a loved one, you will quickly find out that they do so much more than that. In my own recent experiences with nurses at different hospitals, I have met some amazing human beings that put their patients and their families needs above that of their own.

On September 24th, 2016 my father had a heart attack. It was the second heart attack that he has had in his life. The first episode 8 years ago was fixed with simple procedure where they placed a stint near his heart to keep blood flowing into his heart. He was out of the hospital and at home in a couple of days. This recent time however, was not so simple. The stint from his previous attack caused some sort of reaction in his artery. The stint was and still is too close to his heart to be removed. He also had a blockage in another coronary artery that needed attention. So, with that being said, he needed Bypass Surgery. They had to open his chest, stop his heart, and fix the problems.

The days in-between finding out about his surgery and the actual day of the operation were by far the scariest days of my life. I was a ball of anxiety and nausea. My family was surrounded by loads of support from friends and extended familial members and that helped a lot. But, what helped the most were the nurses at Chippenham Hospital. They would reassure us daily that what my dad was going through was common and that his doctors were very good at their fixing it.

“They were compassionate, they were very knowledgable. I could tell that they were actually passionate about there job and they weren’t just there for a paycheck.” That’s what my mother said when I asked her earlier to verbalize her feelings about her husbands experience. What she said is so true; his nurses would sneak him ice cream (fat and sugar free), they would bring him a Sprite Zero somehow when it wasn’t even available on that wing, and they would even give him ice chips randomly when they had free time. I told my dad that I was going to be writing this article and I asked if he wanted to go on the record because I know how appreciative he is of the nurses. “I tried to adopt one of the nurses but your mother wouldn’t let me. They always understood what I wanted before I would even ask for it.”

On the morning of his surgery, his nurses assured us again that his surgeons were highly intelligent and skilled. The last nurse that we talked to before the operation informed us that she would be calling us frequently with updates on the surgery. She followed through with that promise. The surgery was uneventful and that is exactly what we wanted to hear.

He had a dedicated nurse after the surgery that for the first 12 hours only had one patient, my father. He was joking with my semi-coherent dad even when my dad would get mad at him for poking and prodding all his cords and IV’s. (He was checking him to keep him alive, so we are appreciative.) The nurses over the next 5 days of his recovery and eventual release were excellent. They would assist him with everything he needed and make sure he was as comfortable as possible. Surgery on a human heart is a highly invasive procedure and is very tough on the human body AND mind. His nurses made the start of the long transition back to normal life easier and more manageable. The Jarvis family will always be highly appreciative of the nurses at Chippenham in the Levinson Heart Hospital.

8 days ago my 38 week pregnant girlfriend was experiencing some pretty intense back pain. She was very pregnant; so at first we figured it was just the normal back pain that a pregnant person experiences 2 weeks before her due date. This was not the case. We got to the hospital at 11:30 P.M. and her contractions were already 2 minutes apart. It just so happened that at midnight it would be my girlfriends birthday, so it was a surefire bet that she would be sharing a birthday with her son. The nurses immediately went into action to make sure that she was comfortable while also trying to make sure they showed appreciation for it being the final few hours of her not having to share her birthday with her son.

The next 18 hours were rough, I am not going to go into too much detail seeing as it was a personal experience between the two of us, but the nurses at St. Mary’s went above and beyond to make sure that the mom-to-be was as comfortable as possible. When the time came to start pushing the nurses were motivating, compassionate, supportive, and empathetic.

After the baby arrived, we had been awake for over 36 hours. The fact that our amazingly-beautiful son was finally here kept us going through the night. We tried to prepare ourselves the best that we could for parenting but when the he actually arrived we were slightly overwhelmed to say the least. But, we had help every step of the way. I know for a fact that I asked some ridiculous questions, but the nurses answered them without being condescending, or making me feel inadequate.

My girlfriend and I are home now with an amazing baby boy. He literally is the best part of my life and I have so much more confidence than I did a week ago. For this, I thank the nurses at St. Mary’s.

Doctors get a lot of credit for saving lives and helping patients as they should, but nurses should get just as much credit. I know that their is a bell-curve in all walks of life and that their are plenty of people that have poor experience with nurses. However, I have not had any bad experiences. So here’s to the amazing nurses that are working 12-14 hour shifts taking care of peoples loved ones so that they can go home.


-Brandon Jarvis
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