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The Virtual Wedding

On a special day in his patient’s life, a nurse at Florida Hospital Orlando dedicates time to ensure the event is unforgettable for him, even if he can’t physically be there.

6/1/2018  |  By Adventist Health System

Joe effortlessly creates a positive patient experience for every single patient with whom he interacts at Florida Hospital Orlando. It comes so natural to him. He is the type of nurse who always has a smile on his face, a quick joke to tell and a ready pat on the back to support his coworkers. When I am completing my nurse leader rounds, I am never surprised to hear his patients brag about what an amazing nurse they have: “Joe treats me like I’m his family!” or “I feel as though I’ve known Joe for years!” His words are kind and his interactions genuine; with every patient, every time.

One memory I have of Joe that stands out is the love and dignity he showed a particular patient we had admitted for a long time. Complication after complication would arise and this patient had the odds stacked against him. Frequently, because of the connection Joe had developed with the patient, the family would request Joe as their nurse. The patient felt so comfortable with him. The relationship they had built was like that of old friends. Joe meticulously took care of this patient the way he would his own father. Unfortunately, due to his worsening conditions, the patient was not going to be able to attend his only daughter’s wedding.

At this point, our incredible nurse manager began to work closely with a large, cross-functional team to arrange for a live stream of the wedding in the patient’s ICU room. That afternoon, before we were supposed to head down to Skype into the wedding, I couldn’t find Joe. It was then that one of his team members told me he had gone to the ICU early to bathe the patient, give him a clean shave, wash and comb his hair, and put a bow tie on him. He had asked his team members to watch his other patients so he could ensure this man would have time to prepare to feel the best he possibly could on one of the most important days of his daughter’s life. Joe then stood beside the patient while he gave his daughter away via Skype. It was a powerful example of what it means to love and to be selfless. These acts of kindness are not unusual for Joe. His dedication and his love for both his patients and his team does not go unnoticed.