Nicole Lugo, patient care assistant at City of Hope, recently was named one of three national grand-prize winners of the eighth annual Shield Healthcare story contest, themed “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?”
Based in Santa Clarita, Calif., Shield Healthcare is a home medical products company. It runs the annual contest to give voice to customers and caregivers and reward them for their important role in tending to people in need.
|Nicole Lugo makes her way to a patient's room. (Photo by Thomas Brown)|
Lugo submitted a deeply personal essay about her care of a cancer patient. Below is an excerpt:
She asks how long I’ve been here. “Hours, I think. I’m not really sure.”
It takes a moment for her to grasp what I said. Her eyes are sharp, and never leave mine. “Oh” she said, “don’t you have anything else to do?” I quickly remember my own reality: bills, appointments, TV shows, school, life. “No” I said,“nothing is more important than you, here, getting better.”
Her eyes quickly squint as another smile came thru but this one was vibrant, alive and painless. “Thank you. If it wasn’t for you, caring so much, I would have given up my fight a long time ago.”
My heart jumped thru my scrubs. Tears fell softly down my cheek. I grabbed her hand, gently squeezed it, and said the only thing I could think of: “Thank you. I love you.”
There, captured in that moment, is the reason for my calling. I am a nurse to comfort, to hold, to inspire. I am a nurse to repair broken bones, broken bodies and broken dreams. I am a nurse to remind people, in their most desperate and vulnerable moment, that life will improve. I administer medicine, but most importantly, hope. Can there be anything greater than that?
Lugo received a $1,000 gift check and other prizes. Her full essay appears on the Web site www.shieldhealthcare.com.