Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Flying Solo, Nurse is Enough

Seattle Times
Flying solo, nurse is enough
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Nicole Brodeur

Joanne Endres had gotten used to the bouts of burnout and the weary
knowledge that people don't get what she does for a living.

Then she kept a man from dying. And all that changed.

Endres, 50, an emergency-room nurse at Evergreen Hospital Medical
Center in Kirkland, was on a plane from Minneapolis last month when an
attendant asked that anyone with medical training come up front.

Endres, the only one to come forward, found a 54-year-old man showing
all the signs of a heart attack.

He managed to tell Endres that he'd had bypass surgery, had a pacemaker
and was carrying nitroglycerine. She had him take one, and an aspirin.

From there, time halted and skidded, like a child on ice skates. The
pilot turned the plane around. Endres did her best in the narrow, bumpy
aisle with the plane's medical kit as the man fell in and out of

Others helped: One woman, hands shaking, tore tape for Endres to attach
an IV. A man held the IV bag aloft.

As she monitored the man's improving pulse, Endres joked, "Some people
will do anything to hold my hand."

He smiled weakly, thanked her. A tear ran down his cheek.

The plane landed and the man was carried off. As Endres headed back to
her seat, everyone cheered.

For the first time in years, people asked, really asked, what it was
like to be a nurse.

"She just knew what to do," one passenger marveled. "And there wasn't
even a doctor there!"

Endres was grateful for that, and that someone "didn't have to call the
man's daughter and tell her, 'We are very, very sorry, but your father
died on the plane.' "

The two free gin and tonics were nice, too.

When Endres got home, she e-mailed family and friends about her

The e-mail has spread to nursing staffs, schools — and others who
needed reminding of what nurses do.

Dr. Charles A. Pilcher, an ER doctor at Evergreen, sent Endres' e-mail
to his staff, with this addendum:

"I guess the only way a nurse can get recognized for the truly quality
work you all do is to do it when there's no one else around to take the
Pilcher wrote. "I bet Evergreen could run for several days
even if none of the doctors showed up."

On Saturday, the Evergreen Foundation will hold its annual "Heart of
Evergreen" Gala at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. Proceeds will help
create a nursing institute at Evergreen. Five nurses will receive a
Nursing Excellence Award. Endres is a nominee.

The man who held the IV bag was a priest from New York on his way to
visit his friend — a nurse. A pilot wrote to tell her how "scary" it is
when there's no one to help.

As for the man she saved?

"We were met by the medics, and I don't know," she said. "But even if I
don't hear from him, this story was meant to do a lot more. If I am
helping nurses feel validated and inspired again, I am thrilled."
Posted by HypnoKitten at 12:42 PM

Anonymous Marjorie, at 7:20 PM  

What an inspiring story! This makes me even more excited about joining this profession! :)

Blogger Kelly, at 2:33 AM  

Well done. I suppose it's possible an experience like this would have kept me from changing careers. I doubt it, though. There was way too much standing between me and real patient care. I just couldn't take it anymore.

Blogger Nurse Mia, at 9:13 AM  

I'm so glad to finally see your site. Your design and layout are gorgeous. For some reason, however, when I just type in your main URL, I get a blank page. But the link from CodeBlog to this particular post brought up your page. Hmmm... I don't know why my computer is acting up like this. But great to finally check your page out!

Blogger Sara, at 10:51 AM  

(I know this post is old...but I just found your blog and am reading through the archives.)

Stories like this are why I've applied to nursing school. Awesome awesome awesome.

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