NJ Nurse Claire Donaghy Travels the World to Make Sure Children Can Smile

NJ Nurse Claire Donaghy Travels the World to Make Sure Children Can Smile

NJ nurse Claire Donaghy found a second home in Rwanda, a nation she first visited as a surgical team member with Operation Smile in 2014.

Donaghy is a nursing professor at William Paterson University and is eager to return to lend her expertise to this important mission. Daily Nurse is proud to name Claire Donaghy our Nurse of the Week. 

Being Part of a Mission

Since her first mission with an Operation Smile surgical team in 2007 took her to Egypt, Donaghy has been lending her expertise all over Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. On average, she makes the trip with dozens of other volunteers twice a year for Operation Smile.

Operation Smile was established in 1982 to provide free surgery for children and young adults with cleft lips and palates. The international charity is active in more than 60 countries and has more than 6,000 active medical volunteers. With that massive medical volunteer base, annual surgeries surpass 12,000.

Donaghy says volunteers can screen up to 350 candidates for surgery during each trip or mission. The missions can take 11 days. Operations typically span five. It can appear chaotic at times, though it’s Donaghy’s task to keep any legitimate turmoil to a minimum — even if that means building some shelving in a bare-bones Ethiopian hospital.

”Many times, conditions are less than optimal, and you have to put things together,” she says. “You thrive on the energy of patients and volunteers.”

During 2022, Donaghy was involved with about 30 Operation Smile missions, including one on the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort. For more than two-thirds of them, she has served as a clinical coordinator. As one of four team leaders on a mission, the clinical coordinator oversees the scheduling and management of screenings, operations, and surgical teams.

The volunteers she helps coordinate are increasingly local volunteers rather than international ones.

“The objective is self-sufficiency and safe surgery,” says Donaghy. “It’s not a fly-by-night operation. They set up relationships to sustain a program.”

The Rwanda Missions

In Rwanda, the charity is working to stabilize a nation with just two credentialed plastic surgeons and more than 13 million people. Donaghy has worked toward that goal in her own right by teaching, mentoring, and developing a curriculum at the University of Rwanda School of Nursing as part of a Fulbright scholarship program in 2014 and 2015.

More recently, she has worked with Operation Smile’s mentoring and educational initiative, the Champion Program. In March 2022, she paired with a volunteer clinical coordinator in Bushenge, Rwanda, named Esperance, to share knowledge and best practices.

“We learned so much from each other,” Donaghy said. “I want to see continued growth there and continue doing this as long as I’m physically able.”

Donaghy spent three decades as a nurse before signing on with Operation Smile. With work, co-parenting two daughters, and academics consuming most of her time, Donaghy says she didn’t have time to take on such a commitment. So instead, she was volunteering locally at animal shelters and with Habitat for Humanity.

Then, her schedule opened up, and her daughters grew up. She earned a doctorate in nursing from Rutgers University and a post-master’s certificate from Columbia University. She moved to Monmouth County from North Jersey and looked to get involved as a volunteer with a surgical nongovernmental organization.

“Operation Smile was a great fit,” says Donaghy. “If I could do more, I would. There are just so many Operation Smile volunteers. They need to spread it out.”

The Gift of a Smile

She signed up in 2005, but it wasn’t until two years she received the chance to volunteer in one of 40 simultaneous missions commemorating Operation Smile’s 25th anniversary. The opportunity took her to Cairo with a team of 53 nurses, plastic surgeons, dentists, students, and other specialists.

Over the next two days, they screened more than 300 potential candidates for surgery. Ages ranged from 5 days to about 50 years old.

The team was forced to exclude infants younger than six months old and candidates with other medical issues. Others progressed to blood testing, and some made it to surgery. Cleft lip surgeries took about an hour. Repairing a cleft palate took roughly two.

Recovery took a bit longer. That’s where Donaghy stepped in.

Covering the postoperative floor, she could see parents’ faces after their child’s surgery and hand mirrors to awestruck adult patients.

“It’s amazing when they see themselves,” she says. “They’re so grateful for everything. Sometimes in American hospitals, there’s an expectation you don’t see in developing countries.”

Still Teaching

Outside of her overseas volunteer work, Donaghy teaches two online courses a semester and life support techniques at Saint Clare’s Health and RWJBarnabas Health. The Monmouth County resident also works as a substitute nurse for Bayada Health and as a volunteer dishwasher at JBJ Soul Kitchen, a nonprofit community restaurant run by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

“I’m high-energy,” she said. “I like to be busy. It keeps me young.”

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, DailyNurse.com features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.

Virtual Reality Helps Nursing Students Experience a Patient’s Perspective

Virtual Reality Helps Nursing Students Experience a Patient’s Perspective

A virtual reality (VR) simulation helps undergraduate nursing students experience an emergency-care scenario from the perspective of an intubated patient. The scenario is intended to instill empathy that, contrary to popular belief, is a skill that can be acquired and strengthened.

“Many of us have experience with loved ones interacting with the healthcare system and not receiving the kind of care we felt they needed in terms of empathy,” reflects Clinical Assistant Professor Lori Sprague, also assistant director of the Innovative Simulation and Practice Center at Binghamton University’s Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “And we thought, ‘Maybe we can help people understand what it’s like to be that person going through the experience.’”

VR is an Innovative Solution

“You need to be able to reach the masses, so we came up with this idea of creating a virtual reality simulation that is easy and accessible,” says Patrick Leiby, Decker’s director of technology and innovation. “You can get a $3 cardboard headset, put your phone in it, and have 100 students all sitting in a room at the same time, doing the same virtual reality simulation.”

Collaborative Research in Simulation and Practice (CRISP), a research group that includes both Sprague and Assistant Professor Rosemary Collier, won a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology grant for the project. Collier and Sprague are also part of an interdisciplinary research group on tobacco use. They drew on their knowledge to create the vaping scenario in partnership with nursing programs at SUNY Delhi, SUNY Broome, and SUNY Brockport.

“It was right around this time that we were seeing some of these lung-injury cases, such as young people getting ‘popcorn lung’ and ending up in the ICU after using vaping products,” says Collier, also an emergency care nurse in the Binghamton area.

Unlike traditional video production, VR must be shot in a single take; to stay out of the scene, Leiby worked in a separate room, operating the camera from an iPad. The parts were played by faculty members, who practiced during several dress rehearsals before Leiby filmed the scenario with an Insta360 camera.

The faculty members drew on aspects of their own experience for their roles. The day before the filming, Sprague’s daughter was admitted to the hospital for a medical emergency; captured in the video, her feelings as a distraught mother were fresh and raw. Likewise, Collier, who played the lead physician, is deeply familiar with the communication blind spots that can sometimes occur in an emergency setting.

“If you’re ever in a critical care unit, physicians walk around with these teams of residents, respiratory therapists, and a nurse, going from room to room,” Collier recounts. “They have a job to do, and the job isn’t always therapeutic communication with the patient and family.”

Empathy in the Curriculum

So far, the VR simulation has been part of the Introduction to Professional Nursing course, where goggle-wearing students watch and then discuss the simulation together.

Empathy and emotional intelligence are part of the nursing curriculum and are developed in diverse ways. For example, nursing students learn how to physically transfer patients to a bed while practicing on each other, which not only imparts skill but also gives them insight into what a patient feels: empathy.

“I’m comfortable in a healthcare setting; it’s my home base. But for every patient who comes through that door, it’s a terrible day, their worst day. It can be hard to remember to put yourself in their shoes and to remember that this isn’t their home base,” Collier says. “You have to go out of your way to create connection and comfort.”

When Jenny Nigro lifted the goggles to her eyes, she was already feeling stressed from competing deadlines and a big test later that afternoon. Yet, as she watched the scenario unfold, she was struck by the patient’s vulnerability.

“It was a meditation on empathy to see how the care team’s brusqueness and lack of warmth resulted in (the patient’s) experience of helplessness,” says Nigro, who graduated with her nursing degree in May 2022. “In the post-brief, I noted how timely it was that our empathy VR simulation was occurring on a day when we were feeling overworked and tired. It offered an opportunity to reflect on how we might manage these feelings that will likely come up in nursing practice, so that we do not disempower our clients.”

Plans are in the works to create additional VR scenarios, such as ones involving patients who don’t understand English or situations that might require conflict-resolution skills. Leiby has also used the 360 technology on other projects, such as a virtual tour of Decker’s new Motion Analysis Research Laboratory.

Collier points out that virtual reality scenarios can play an important role for future nurses, allowing them access to experiences they may not encounter during their clinical time and sharing those experiences with classmates. At its heart, sharing is the foundation of empathy.

“Patients don’t always remember the clinical complexities occurring behind the scenes, but they will remember how their nurse or provider cared for and treated them,” Sprague says. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of pulling up a chair or changing your body language and respectfully giving a few moments of your time.”

Finding Success as a Nurse Entrepreneur

Finding Success as a Nurse Entrepreneur

Adaptability, organization, and communication are among the skills you bring to patient care every day and are some of the same qualities that can help you succeed away from the hospital as a nurse entrepreneur.

Nurses have a variety of traits that qualify them for an entrepreneurial path. For one thing, “nurses are the best problem solvers, and that’s a quality that will take them quite far regardless of their setting,” says Michelle Podlesni, RN, president of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA), said to be the only nursing organization dedicated to nursing entrepreneurs.

“Nurses have a lot of qualities very similar to what entrepreneur qualities are across the board,” said Podlesni during an interview. Podlesni has compared the traits of RNs and the characteristics of entrepreneurs. She says nurses have excellent communication skills, can prioritize, know how to organize, and are adaptable. In addition, they have sound judgment, dedication, and a commitment to continuing education.

“Serial Entrepreneur”

Podlesni’s path offers a study in becoming a nurse entrepreneur. She started as a Navy corpsman, then attended nursing school and worked as an ICU nurse. She then transitioned to a case management position with an insurance firm. After that, she worked in various other companies, winding up in executive management.

She subsequently started her own senior care company and became an author, speaker, coach, and consultant, becoming president of NNBA in 2014. In addition, she contributed a chapter to the Springer book Evidence-Based Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nursing and Healthcare. “I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for years,” she says.

COVID’s Impact on Nurse Entrepreneurs

As might be expected, COVID has sparked additional interest in nurse entrepreneurship. “We definitely have gotten a lot more interest and membership growth,” says Podlesni.

In 2013, she wrote “UNconventional Nurse: Going From Burnout to Bliss!” Then, 30% of nurses were considered burned out, she says. Now, 50% of nurses are looking to leave, she says, pointing to a recent survey with that finding.

Conversations Podlesni has with nurses about COVID take two forms. The first is the nurse who is looking to do something different. The second is with business owners who need help dealing with the impacts of the pandemic on their businesses. Podlesni says she saw nurse entrepreneurs take advantage of legislation allowing more use of telehealth because of COVID.

Types of Businesses

Consulting services rank as the top type of business for nurse entrepreneurs notes Podlesni. “It’s unbelievable the knowledge and experience nurses have that translates so well to providing consulting services, depending on the specialty they’re involved in.”

Education and training represent another big area for nurse entrepreneurship. Elder care is a further area of opportunity, she notes. She says that with insufficient facilities available to care for those over age 65, how seniors will age in place and maintain their health provides an “endless array of services” in the senior care market. Other popular areas for entrepreneurship include mental health and wellness; holistic nursing; informatics; and legal nurse consulting.

Getting Started as a Nurse Entrepreneur

Nurses, notes Podlesni, need to be mindful of the business aspects of healthcare, including such areas as technology, legislation, and socioeconomics. Such awareness can alert them to opportunities. “Nurses just becoming more aware and understanding that they have potential to practice independently as they choose” is important, she notes.

Achieving Autonomy

Nurse entrepreneurship involves “nurses understanding and believing in themselves, that they can create a business and independence that allows them to have the lifestyle they choose to lead,” says Podlesni. “I think that’s what most nurses want. They want more autonomy.”

ENA Launches Updated ENPC, 6th Edition

ENA Launches Updated ENPC, 6th Edition

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) launched the Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course, 6th Edition, which features more focused presentation-based teaching to better prepare emergency department nurses for the unique care that children require.

Last updated in 2018, ENA has worked to update the course to offer more applicable knowledge for the clinical setting by taking input from nurses and members on the frontline daily.

“The pediatric nursing process was updated and reevaluated to ensure best practice criteria and better align with the American Heart Association’s resuscitation science and the trauma nursing process taught in the Trauma Nursing Core Course. We’re also happy to announce that two resuscitation scenarios have been added to the course to reinforce PALS content,” says ENA Director of Educational Content Katrina Ceci, MSN, RN, TCRN, CPEN, NPD-BC, CEN.

The 6th Edition features new chapters on The Child with a Rash and The Child with Special Health Care Needs, as well as the reintroduction of a dedicated trauma chapter, The Child with an Injury. The Child in Need of Stabilization includes resuscitation and critically ill presentations. An expanded chapter, Preparing for Pediatric Emergencies, describes quality initiatives and the seven focus areas included in the National Pediatric Readiness Project.

The pre-course work includes elements to make the content more applicable to the learner’s practice area, acknowledging regional variations.

“Pediatrics patients are seen in nearly all emergency departments. It’s imperative we’re all up to date on the latest information in order to best serve that demographic,” said ENA President Terry Foster, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, CCRN, TCRN, FAEN.

More information about ENPC, 6th Edition, can be found on the ENA website at ena.org/ENPC.

Nurse Specialist or Nurse Generalist?

Nurse Specialist or Nurse Generalist?

Nurse specialists and nurse generalists are common within the nursing profession and 21st-century healthcare, and both serve important purposes in patient care and non-clinical settings. What does it mean to choose to be a specialist or generalist? What are the repercussions for your nursing career? And how can one accomplish both?

Nurse Specialists Matter

In medicine and nursing, generalists and specialists serve many important purposes. Choosing which one to be can be difficult, but it’s not out of the question, and sometimes it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. So why does this choice matter, and how does one make the most prudent choice for nursing career growth and satisfaction?

In medicine, it’s often said that there’s a shortage of primary care physicians (especially in rural areas and some small towns and inner cities) because being a medical specialist pays much more handsomely. Nurse practitioners are thankfully filling those gaps in primary care. So, is money the greatest allure of specialization?

The nurse who graduates from an ADN or BSN program is a novice generalist with a lot more to learn. In my ADN program, I became the class “specialist” in orthopedics — especially hip replacement post-op care — because I was frequently assigned such patients. Nursing students need as many clinical experiences as possible, but circumstances sometimes lead us down specific paths for one reason or another.

Even though ortho was something I became significantly comfortable with, after graduating, I chose to skip med-surg and acute care in favor of community health and home health. I never looked back, and I developed my expertise, albeit not in the hospital setting.

Nurse specialists have a crucial purpose: those in ICU, flight nursing, OR, ED, and other critical areas are necessary to save lives. Pediatric nurses, dialysis nurses, school nurses, and others also play their parts in specific areas of clinical focus and patient care.

We always need a certain percentage of nurses and other clinicians to specialize — how else would those ICU and OR patients receive the highly specific care they need? Specialization is life-saving and central to the full function of any healthcare facility, and those who serve in such positions are often in high demand.

Nurse specialists are born of extensive clinical experience, high-quality education, and certification processes that determine a nurse’s knowledge and expertise. Some nursing specialty certification pathways are incredibly rigorous, molding enrolled nurses into high-level clinicians with a plethora of skills and intellectual/clinical rigor.

Nurse Generalists Matter

A nurse generalist knows a lot about many things; in some ways, you could call a nurse generalist a polymath. Generalists matter as much as specialists, and they serve in various functions and roles.

Licensed practical or vocational nurses are usually considered generalists. However, their work is crucial in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, physician offices, and other milieus, where they are the lifeblood of patient care.

Generalist nurse practitioners also serve an important clinical purpose in many facilities. Meanwhile, those with a previous unrelated bachelor’s degree become nurse generalists when they graduate from an accredited second bachelor’s nursing program (sometimes known as an accelerated generalist educational track).

Most newly graduated nurses are a generalist, no matter the program they attended. LPNs, ADNs, BSNs, and some NPs bring general knowledge and some learned expertise. There is no shame in being a nurse generalist, and choosing to specialize can lead to many rewards when and if the nurse decides to pursue that path.

To Specialize or Not to Specialize

Why would a nurse choose to specialize? Why would the process of specialization and acquiring expertise be appealing to a professional nurse clinician? I believe the following to be compelling reasons to do so:

  • Specialization can lead to increased earning potential.
  • Being a nurse specialist lends credibility to the nurse’s personal/professional brand.
  • Many positions are reserved for nurses with specific training and expertise.
  • A nurse’s professional standing and credibility are elevated by specialization and certification.
  • The knowledge can positively impact personal self-esteem, that one has gone above and beyond in accumulating relevant training and expertise.

While specialization is not required nor necessary to have a successful and satisfying nursing career, it does bestow certain benefits, as noted above. At the same time, being a skilled generalist nurse is also a respectable career choice. Generalists can accomplish much on the twin engines of their professionalism and skill.

In the end, each nurse must make their own decision when it comes to choosing to move beyond generalist practice to specialization. The world will not end if a nurse decides to remain a generalist, nor will their life change dramatically once they’re certified and ensconced in their area of specialty.

If nothing else, every nurse can be a specialist in doing the job they are called to do, whether that position is clinical or not. Specialization is a path that can be chosen, and there is no judgment in my mind of nurses who forego that journey. Every nurse is valuable, and no one can take our worth away, individually or collectively.

Choose your path, own your way, and approach your nursing career trajectory with pride and the knowledge of your stellar contribution to a society that relies on courageous and intelligent nurses to be the veritable backbone of the complex 21st-century healthcare system.

Daily Nurse is thrilled to feature Keith Carlson, “Nurse Keith,” a well-known nurse career coach and podcaster of The Nurse Keith Show as a guest columnist. Check back every other Thursday for Keith’s column. 

RN Andrea Wursche Helps Families Grieving After Miscarriage

RN Andrea Wursche Helps Families Grieving After Miscarriage

Andrea Wursche, a registered nurse at Houston Methodist Hospital, joined forces with her sister, Rev. Lindsay Kirkpatrick, senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Pasadena, to help women during one of their greatest times of need — after a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Daily Nurse is proud to name Andrea Wursche our Nurse of the Week.

During a birthday lunch with her sister, Wursche talked about labor and delivery nurses’ many challenges. Even after working in the department for about a decade, she often felt lost when entering the room of a patient who had just lost a baby. Knowing what to say after a miscarriage or stillbirth eluded her, and other nurses told her they felt the same way.

Wursche heard about training courses that could help nurses in this situation and learned about a cuddle cot, an in-room cooling unit in a bassinet that allows the baby to remain in the room with family longer. When parents have more time with the baby, it helps the grieving process.

“I wish there were something we could do, but I don’t know where to start,” Wursche told her sister. The hospital was in the middle of the pandemic and knew that the hospital didn’t have the budget to buy a cuddle cot or to send nurses to training sessions.

But Rev. Kirkpatrick thought differently and told Wursche they could handle this situation.

Rev. Kirkpatrick had recently visited a church member suffering after a miscarriage at another hospital and felt called to help grieving families. She wanted to support her sister.

“What Andrea does day in and day out to bring life into the world is just so incredible to me,” Rev. Kirkpatrick says. “It’s such important and meaningful work.”

The pastor felt confident that there was something they could do to make things better for women on the worst days of their lives — and make nurses feel more equipped and secure.

Finding Resources and Funding 

Rev. Kirkpatrick called the Rev. Kip Gilts, assistant to the bishop for the Texas Annual Conference, a regional governing body of the United Methodist Church established by the Texas Annual Conference. As a former chair of the conference’s mission committee in the past, she was familiar with the funding programs that made it possible to tackle projects too large for any one church alone.

Within an hour of phoning Rev. Gilts, he was sitting across a conference table from Kirkpatrick and Wursche, and he asked the sisters to prepare a proposal that he could present to conference leaders.

“It felt really good to find something we could do, any way we could make things better for nurses in labor and delivery,” Rev. Kirkpatrick says.

In September, Rev. Gilts informed the sisters that $10,300 was granted. The next step was getting the hospital on board. Final approval was granted by January 2022. A foundation, Grieving Parents Perinatal Loss Fund, was also formed to oversee the program.

Wursche researched resources that would be beneficial, such as foot-mold kits and clothes for babies. All are tools for families to create memories of their deceased child. She made how-tos for the nurses on how to make molds and use the photo printer. She also bought bracelet-making supplies.

Several area nonprofits were eager to help, including Bridget’s Cradles, which provides crocheted cradles to comfort grieving families, and Angel Gowns, which gives infant gowns to bereaved families.

Training to Tackle Grief 

In February, Wursche and her colleague Krystie Haden attended a training session on families dealing with stillbirths and miscarriages.

The sessions were developed around the feedback of parents who had lost a baby. The families shared their experiences at the hospital, including what had helped and how staff could have done more.

“For a long time, we realized that there was a lot of growth possible with bereavement,” says Haden. “When people think of labor and delivery, they think of joy. But, unfortunately, the flipside is complete devastation for families.”

The training helps alleviate stress on nurses. They understand the importance of spending time with families. “It gave us the tools as a nurse to talk to parents in their time of grief,” she says.

Haden and Wursche have already put their training to use. “We have felt such a higher level of confidence,” says Haden.

Before the training, Wursche says she would have spent a couple of hours in the room with her patients after a stillbirth. But after the course, she dedicates her whole day to a family who lost a baby. She asked the parents if they wanted to bathe and dress their child, take photos and create a foot mold.

“These are the only memories they will have with their baby,” says Wursche. “We want them to have as many memories as possible.”

The difference for these bereaved families is noticeable.

“We have put in so much effort, and it has paid off,” says Wursche. “We can make a meaningful impact for each patient.”


Tiny knitted cradles, a Willow Tree remembrance angel, a kit to replicate baby footprints, books, premie-size hats and diapers are some of the items available for patients at The Childbirth Center at Houston Methodist Hospital who have miscarried or experienced stillbirth. Photo credit: Meridith Kohut

Joining with Mothers of Held Angels

Spending additional time with the baby would not be possible without the cuddle cot, says Haden.

Wursche originally planned to use the funding to purchase one; instead, the local nonprofit Mothers of Held Angels covered the expense.

Brittany Kemp founded the faith-based organization in October 2021 with Anna Noto and Hollyn Keith after each had lost their babies around the same time.

Kemp, who worked as a nurse at Houston Methodist West, had a stillbirth at Houston Methodist Sugar Land, which had a cuddle cot.

Before cuddle cots, Kemp says, babies were kept on bags of ice or brought back and forth from the morgue. “I can’t imagine how detrimental that would have been to my grief process,” she says.

Kemp’s colleagues in the anesthesia department and the operating room donated the cuddle cot in honor of her daughter.

“It sparked a sense in me that I wanted to do more,” Kemp says.

She joined forces with her two friends, and together, they donated four cuddle cots to Methodist hospitals, including the downtown location where Wursche works.

Because of the Mothers of Held Angels gift, the funding reserved for the equipment was repurposed to send additional nurses to training. The hospital also received the nonprofit’s Angel Boxes, which contain journals, grief books, cozy blankets, and Warmies, a scented stuffed animal that can be heated for mothers to hold.

“Before, we were leaving empty-handed, with maybe only a packet of papers about cemeteries,” Kemp says. “This way, we can at least hold onto something.”

The organization also hosts a podcast and offers a grief support group in Fulshear. “It’s all to help moms realize that we are not alone,” Kemp says. “We have a lot more to offer patients. And it’s been so rewarding.”

Learning More to Do Better

The resources cabinet at Houston Methodist in the Texas Medical Center is now full. The shelves are lined with clothing, teddy bears, kits to make hand and footprints, a photo printer, devotionals, and handouts for grief support groups.

Haden and Wursche are working on assembling a binder of information for nurses.

“This will be the ultimate resource guide,” Haden says. She hopes that the program for nurses can serve as a template for other hospitals.

According to Chaplain Brian Gowan at Houston Methodist, nurses now have the tools to help patients with grief.

Chaplains have been providing bereavement support for years, he says. “I was thrilled to hear nurses are taking a primary role. As a result, we’re in a good place to think about a comprehensive plan.”

Wursche is grateful to her sister for finding a path forward and to the hospital system for paving the way.

“I would haven’t been able to do this without this process,” she says. “It’s allowed me peace of mind. It was such a catalyst for good.”

Kirkpatrick, meanwhile, gives her sister credit for organizing the effort.

“We provided the initial funds because Andrea looked into all these opportunities,” she said. “It was just opening the door. We could get the ball rolling for a program that will provide a lot of comfort.”

Kirkpatrick says that memories of a loved one carry you forward and help with healing.

“There’s a big difference that can be made by spending time with your baby,” Wursche says. “I’m glad we’ve come this far. And hopefully, we will continue to learn more and do better.”

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, DailyNurse.com features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.

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