Communities across the midwest feel the impact of recent snowfall and below-zero temperatures, but that weather didn’t stop Iowa hospice nurse Tiffany McArdle.
McArdle, a hospice nurse for St. Croix Hospice, says that in her seven years of working as a hospice nurse, she never imagined she would be walking through a blizzard to reach a patient, but never doubted she would find a way to make it to the family in need.
“I walked through a lot of snow to get to the door,” McArdle says. “Got to the door, and the wife answered, and she started crying.”
They shared an emotional moment, made possible by McArdle’s determination to reach her patient.
“A patient’s wife had called in saying that her husband had had a change in condition,” McArdle says. “We were experiencing a blizzard at the same time.”
Still, McArdle said she knew she had to get to the house.
“I knew they lived alone,” McArdle says. “No, no other family nearby. They were in the countryside, so I knew I needed to get there. You get very close to these families and the patients, and we go to wherever our patients call home. That’s where we go.”
The patient’s house was situated off a gravel road atop a hill. “I got out of my car and walked up to see how bad it was,” McArdle says. “I could see the house from the hill and knew I couldn’t make it.”
McArdle says she called a friend with a truck who drove her to the end of the family’s driveway, but with snow still falling and a drifted-over driveway. McArdle had to make a quick decision.
“We found a spot through the yard that was not as much snow,” McArdle says.
She walked the rest of the way to the front door.
McArdle says walking through the snow and the drifts were so bad. “The snow was up to my knees, walking through it to get to her door.”
McArdle says it took her nearly an hour to reach the house after the call came through. It was shocking to her patient’s wife when she arrived.
“She was very overwhelmed with everything that was going on,” McArdle said. “She didn’t think anybody would be able to make it to her.”
After ensuring her patient was comfortable, McArdle said she called the Page County Sheriff’s Department.
“I realized we need to get a plow on this road just in case the funeral home was going to have to make it,” McArdle says. “And I wanted her kids to be able to be with her as well at this time.”
McArdle says the sheriff and the county’s plow had cleared the family’s road and driveway within an hour.
Daily Nurse proudly names hospice nurse Tiffany McArdle as the Nurse of the Week. McArdle showed great strength and determination during extreme conditions and displayed unwavering dedication to providing compassionate care to her patients.
McArdle says it was just a very heartwarming experience. “It was a very emotional experience. I mean, I was very proud. And to represent St. Croix Hospice like that, you know, meant the world.”
McArdle is thankful for the help of the sheriff’s office and the county plow to let her patient’s family say their final goodbyes in person.
“The patient’s wife didn’t have to say anything,” McArdle says. “I felt it. She was happy we could be there, and getting him comfortable meant the world to her.”
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