The holiday season inspires us to cherish friends and family, but it’s often someone you meet by chance that makes the difference you didn’t know you needed. This time of year brings wonderful opportunities to reflect on why we are thankful for nurses and how they make a difference.
When a person or a member of their family needs nursing care, feelings of stress, worry, and uncertainty set in. We feel vulnerable and afraid — for ourselves and for those who matter most to us. While we often prioritize the physical, medical care that we or our loved ones are receiving, we can underestimate the importance of the emotional support from our caregivers.
Over the next several weeks of this holiday season, we’ll be sharing personal Thank You, Nurses stories and videos as a gesture of gratitude for everything you and your colleagues do. This small token of appreciation is just one reminder of how your kindness in a single shift can be felt for a lifetime.
An early pandemic pregnancy
In the late winter of 2019, Natalie Vaughn and her husband made final preparations for their second daughter’s arrival into the world. Having experienced complications with previous pregnancies, Vaughn’s pregnancy was considered high risk, and she (like most expecting parents) counted down the days until her due date. Things were going as planned, and her baby was healthy. Relief had finally set in.
Then COVID-19 entered the world’s stage.
“By Christmas, I was nearly six months pregnant, and the emergence of COVID-19 was starting to fill my newsfeed. Within weeks, it had arrived in the U.S., and I began to panic,” Vaughn shared. “Throughout my pregnancy, I had relied on data and research to get me through the unknowns, only now I had nowhere to turn.”
What had been a countdown to relief became a new and complex worry. At this point in a pregnancy, most women are eager to get to the hospital and meet their baby, but Vaughn was a bundle of nerves. “If someone had given me the option of a natural home birth, I would have taken it hands-down out of fear of the virus’s exposure in the hospital,” she said.
Vaughn recalls noticing the uncertainty and cautious vibe within the hospital at that time. “Our care team was amazing. I never doubted their commitment or decisions,” she said. “But in the early days of the pandemic, there was an unsettling tension in the air. It was clear everyone was worried — some hiding it better than others.”
The nurse who made a difference
During their time in the hospital delivering their baby girl, Vaughn recalled one nurse who managed to do what she thought couldn’t be done.
“Our labor and delivery nurse, Nikita, brought this genuine, lighthearted in joy, in the delivery room,” she shared. “I was so focused on simply getting our new baby home safely with the uncertainty of the pandemic – I never expected to have such a fun, bonding experience with my nurse.”
Vaughn has kept in touch with Nurse Nikita and sends her a Christmas card every year so she can see the baby she helped deliver continue to grow.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to convey just how much she helped us on what was undoubtedly one of the most stressful days in our lives,” Vaughn said. “But I’ll always appreciate her amazing care. Knowing your nurse recognizes your physical and mental health so naturally is something you don’t forget.”
Thank you, nurses
Like never before, the world can see how much nurses do to make a difference. Nurses care for people in their hour of need and show compassion for patients and their families during that time. This holiday season, our Thank You, Nurses blog and video series is one way we’d like to acknowledge the lasting impact a nurse’s compassion can provide.
Vaughn’s complete Thank You, Nurses video is available here.