YON 2020 Day 262: Sherri Lethco, BSN, RN

With her willingness to be a float nurse, Sherri Lethco, BSN, RN, provides much needed and appreciated assistance to critical care units at Summa. After explaining her role, she recounts a story from years ago about a patient that touched her heart and left a lasting impression.

I am thrilled to have been asked to share my nursing story with all of you! I have been a nurse for 19 years and have worked in all kinds of units, including medical-surgical, telemetry and ICUs. The past several years I have worked as a critical care float nurse, meaning I travel between various nursing units and take assignments wherever they are in need of a little extra help. I like this position because it has really allowed me to broaden my clinical knowledge and experience. I’ve also had the opportunity to make a lot of new friends from throughout the hospital.

Being a nurse is one of the parts of my life about which I am genuinely proud. Being a nurse allows me to feel that I can, in my own small way, make a difference in someone’s life. These past several months during the COVID pandemic have been eye opening for all of us, personally and professionally. It’s been a very trying and stressful time. I have been in awe of, and feel even more respect and appreciation for my fellow healthcare workers both here at Summa and around the world.

I wanted to share a story with you about a patient that had a significant impact on my life and nursing practice. Very early in my career a young man was admitted to our trauma ICU and remained there for weeks in a comatose state. This young man’s parents were at his bedside daily. They also had the support of his entire community and church family. After weeks in our unit he was transferred to an outside facility with what we thought was little hope for improvement in his condition.

Months later a gentleman in my community told me that his church was having a benefit dinner for a young man that “he thought had been in my hospital after his accident.” He asked if I might want to stop by to see him. A few days later, I went to the benefit dinner and met this young man again. After talking with him and his parents, he understood that I was one of the many nurses that had cared for him during his stay in the ICU. I watched in amazement as he stood up from his wheelchair to reach out to hug me in thanks. I was incredibly proud of him and so honored to be a part of the healthcare team that helped him get to this point of recovery. This all occurred 15 years ago.

Jumping forward to this year, in April I had a visitor at my front door--it was this same young man. He had just stopped by to thank me for everything I was doing during the COVID pandemic and to let me know how well he had done over the years. This young man was now working full time caring for other people in need, had married, and had a young family of his own. It absolutely made my day. I am so honored to have been part of the team of healthcare workers at Summa that made this possible for this amazing young man! I know this patient and his family taught me how very important Hope and Faith are to recovery!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. Nursing is such a challenging yet rewarding profession. It’s always nice to take the time to reflect on those patients/families that really have brightened and impacted your life!

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