In Her Shoes: A Nurse's Special Connection with Her Patient

Pictured: Shirley A. Johnson, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Nursing & Patient Care Services (left) with Maureen Rogers, RN, recipient of the DAISY Award (right).

From the time I was a little girl I always wanted to be a nurse, but sometimes things don’t always work out the way you imagine. I worked as a medical secretary at a different hospital doing insurance billing for some time before realizing that, if I was truly going to be happy, I needed to follow my passion. I left my full time job, decided to go back to school and started working at Roswell Park part time while I worked on getting my nursing degree.

When I first started here I was an aide on 5 East and then transferred to 5 North after graduation. I have been working on 5 North for about nine years now and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. We care for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and those that have bone marrow transplants. Every day is different; you meet new people and spend time getting to know them while seeing them in a very vulnerable state.

I remember the patient who nominated me for the DAISY Award very well. I didn’t know her for that long, she was only my patient for about three days, but we had so much in common. She was also a nurse, we were about the same age and our kids were all the same age. It was so easy to see a bit of myself in her and to put myself in her shoes.

She was a bone marrow transplant patient and we were getting ready to send her home after her final CAT scan but they found something on the scans that needed a second opinion, and probably a mammogram. Since she was an out-of-town patient the doctor initially wanted to discharge her so she could get a mammogram closer to home.

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I’m sure that would have been just fine, but I felt as though we could make things even more convenient for her and send her to get a mammogram right here at Roswell Park. We have the equipment, the capabilities, the specialists and the patient was still here! Going home, scheduling an appointment, getting it done elsewhere—all of those things take time. When you’re a patient and a mom, you don’t want to have to wait and take time to tell your kids and your family what’s going on. You want to tell them as soon as you can. I am the kind of nurse that will always advocate for my patients time and time again.

She was so appreciative and so grateful, but I was just doing my job. I knew it was in her best interest to have her mammogram here and to have it done as soon as possible.

It’s a funny thing, being nominated for this award. I don’t think I’m more deserving than any of the other nurses who I work with. I could tell endless stories and share examples of our staff going above and beyond for our patients but in reality, we are just doing our jobs. That’s why we all became nurses—to take care of people who need our help and to use our expertise to advocate for them whenever we can. That’s what being a nurse is all about and that’s why I love what I do.