Family praises local ICU nurse for her exceptional care of man who died from Covid-19

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 7:32 PM EST
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A local ICU nurse is being recognized by the family of a patient who died from coronavirus. The man’s loved ones wrote to St. Joseph Health System to praise Jenna Early for her exceptional care.

An excerpt reads: Jenna not only delivered compassionate care but also went above and beyond to give our grandfather everything he needed. Jenna sat with him as he was dying, she praised the Rosary with him, and held the phone as he said his last words to his wife and took his last breath...Thank you, Jenna, for answering the call to care even in the midst of a pandemic. You are loved!”

Not anticipating any recognition, Early said this patient already had impacted her.

“I could feel - I definitely think the Holy Spirit was with us and helping us all through through that experience. But it was, yeah, like I said, it was really unique, and I definitely won’t ever forget,” said Early.

The family also remarked they felt Early’s comforting presence, even though they had never met her.

“My heart goes out to that family. They know if they’re watching this, they know who they are. And I have love for them as well. But I appreciate everything that they’ve said,” Jenna said regarding the recognition.

Early’s former instructor at IU South Bend’s Vera Z. Dwyer School of Nursing wasn’t surprised by the response from the patient’s family.

“I can teach nurses how to put IVs in. I can teach them all kinds of skills. But I can’t teach them things like character, and morals, and compassion, and kindness, and ethics and professional practice. And all of those things that are so important that we can’t teach. And Jenna has all those things innately. And that’s what makes her such a special nurse,” said Sharon Imes, an assistant professor at IU South Bend.

Jenna was quick to spread the praise, though.

“Our nurses are next to these patients every single day. It just happened to be that, that they recognize me, which I do greatly appreciate. But I also want everyone to know that it’s not it’s not just just me,” she said.

Imes hopes the gratitude for healthcare workers doesn’t stop.

“We, the professional nurse, balances both the compassion and the kindness and the caring with the highly skilled scientific intellect and best practice for professional practice. But we do hope that even after the pandemic that more nurses like Jenna are recognized for what they do every day,” Imes said.

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